Art and Beauty

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about the arts. This is kind of a new focus of study for me: to both renew and broaden my perspective on Christians appreciating and participating in the arts. I’ve encountered quite a few fellow Christians who either don’t appreciate the arts very much, or have somehow moved to full-blown scorn of the arts.

I’ve had a relatively good appreciation for the arts, I think, since I was pretty young (which might come from my mother, who was an art major in college). Painting, sculpture, music, photography, and the like, intrigued me a great deal, even as a little kid. So it always causes me problems when I hear about Christians speaking with disdain about art, or showing no interest in art and beauty. I think there’s more (in fact I know) there’s more of art appreciation that matters for the believer. We should appreciate the arts, and probably far more than we do. After all, God created a beautiful world and universe that, besides being “functional,” are simply beautiful for their own sake, made for enjoyment.

Here are two quotes from Leland Ryken:

“If God is the source of all beauty and artistry, then the artistic dimension of art is the point at which Christians can be unreserved in their enthusiasm for the works of non-Christian artists.”

“Many social problems have arisen precisely because our society has not taken the time and expended the energy to be truly artistic and to value beauty.”

Leland Ryken, from The Liberated Imagination

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