What beauty is not...

In a few recent posts I've wrestled with the way that creating/sharing beauty is part of peace-making in the deepest sense.  Some friends have added helpful insights to deepen my comments and bring clarity to my thinking.  And after I reread Barbara Nicolosi's inspiring article, it seemed prudent to add this to the mix re: what beauty is NOT.

She is clear:  "I want to state unequivocally what beauty is not. It is not cute. It is not banal. It is not silly.  The beautiful is not sweet or nice. It is not facile. And it is not unthreatening." (For the Beauty of the Church, p. 109)  Here qualifications are essential - especially in a shallow but fast-moving culture such as our own.

I recall as we were driving from Cleveland, OH to Tucson, AZ on our move to a new ministry 15 years ago we passed a road sign in Missouri urging people to stop by the Precious Moments Chapel.  "In-freaking-credible," we all said out loud.  "Not only is that schlock sold the world over as art, now there is a chapel devoted to telling the story of Christ's passion and resurrection in pastels and cute faces."  My experience is that this type of kitch trivializes the deep feelings evoked by true beauty so that all challenge and nuance is neutralized.  What's more, confusing the cute for the beautiful minimizes the effort beauty requires.  It is not unlike settling for fast food instead of preparing for a feast.

And there is not much peace-making in fast food - or cute kitch - or the lowest common denominator, yes.    

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