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The saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," suggests that attempting to say anything concrete about the nature of beauty is a futile task. As soon as one person deems something beautiful, ten others will show up deeming it ugly. But theologians of the early and medieval church did not assume beauty was subjective. Borrowing from neo-Platonic philosophy, they believed that for something to be beautiful, it must also be good and true, with God reigning as the ultimate source of beauty. Today's church can be thankful for people like David Taylor, who connect such esoteric reflections to the church's mission. As the arts pastor for 12 years at Hope Chapel, a vibrant congregation in Austin, Texas, Taylor helped believer artists make the connection between worship, creativity, and community. Here, Taylor makes a similar connection between beauty and gospel proclamation to answer this year's cvp question, "Is our gospel too small?"

What more, you may ask, do we want? … We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. —C. S. Lewis, "The Weight of Glory"

Many of the houses on my block in north-central Austin, Texas, are architecturally ugly. Built in the late 1950s, they are one-story, squat structures. Slapped-on metal porches hang out from exceedingly flat roofs. The asbestos siding is faded. The construction is cheap, the brick dingy and dull. Collectively they perform the duties of houseness fine. But I can't say that I walk down my block and feel awe. I feel glum. I'm grateful for my house, ...

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October 2008

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