Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No Ash Without Beauty-- Art and the Gospel Pt. 2

On the heels of being stimulated by Gideon Strauss' discussion of beauty and justice at Art House Dallas (I just wrote about it here, and you may be confused by the rest of this post if you haven't read it!), I came across this blog post that approaches the same topic from a different angle: 

"The LA Times recently awarded Pope Benedict the title “Pontiff of Aesthetics.” In this piece, Charlotte Allen praises His Holiness for reminding “an increasingly ugly and debased [world] that there is such a thing as the beautiful.”

But to Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict’s previous title) what constitutes beauty? Here is his answer from his message titled “The Beauty and the Truth of Christ:

“In [Christ’s] face that is so disfigured, there appears the genuine, extreme beauty: the beauty of love that goes to the very end.”

For Pope Benedict, the definitive standard of beauty is Christ’s broken body. Calvary is horrifying, but where else are we to find redemption?"

This is another way to frame the conversation: in Jesus Christ, justice and beauty intersect. In Him the whole story is held together-- the injustice of our sin and the beauty of God's Creator Love-- because in Him, The Beautiful One took the injustice of the world upon Himself for our behalf

Ambrosino's article reminded me that the horrific event central to the Christian gospel-- Christ's suffering-- is the event that ultimately redeems my own suffering, and that makes it possible for me to find beauty even in the most unjust experiences of my life. It is the Crucified Christ that has given me the permission and power to face the "ashes" in my life and the world around me rather than avoid them or stuff them under the rug. And it is the Risen Christ that has given me hope to see those very ashes blossom into something new, alive, and beautiful. That has pretty massive implications, I think, for artists-- and the rest of us. 

"...as any artist will tell you, there is no beauty without ash; but as any Christian will tell you, there’s no ash without beauty." 

Read his whole article here.  


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