Monday, February 02, 2015

Snow Day and the Question of True Beauty


It is the first Monday of the second month of the year. Snow has fallen. But the sun has broken through. Yes, it is cold.  But the sun sparkles as it shines over the land.  

I took pictures this morning prior to beginning the process of shoveling out.  I thought this picture was especially beautify, with the layering of light and shadow.  

This picture taken from my smart phone illustrates a theological question regarding beauty.  While at the Calvin Symposium on Worship (#wsymp15) I sat in on a workshop offered by Nicholas Wolterstorff titled "Worship, Beauty, Justice, and Shalom."  He raised the question of definition.  Traditionally, beauty is defined by the aesthetic pleasure of the viewer.  Thus, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  A work of art stimulates a sense of pleasure in the viewer.  Wolsterstorff asked the question of weather beauty is non-instrumental.  That is, beauty exists in and of itself.  Thus, this picture presents beauty whether or not it stirs aesthetic pleasure in me.  

Now, I should note that as beautiful as this picture is, having had to shovel out the sidewalks and driveway so that once the plows come through we can get out and about, that part wasn't beautiful.  But could we say that this is a reflection of God's creative presence in the world?  At least for a moment, we can appreciate beauty for beauty's sake.  



1 comment:

John McCauslin said...

I think beauty is usually a snapshot, a moment in time, shared by the circumstance and the witness.