Friends who know my book-besotted line of work sometimes ask whether I actually read, cover-to-cover, all the volumes that come streaming into my office. I have to suppress a snicker, because that’s a bit like asking whether Alex Trebek knows all the answers on Jeopardy!
Still, I devoured every word of the four finalists for CT’s first-ever Beautiful Orthodoxy book award. (See the results here.) What, you might wonder, is that high-sounding coinage supposed to mean? Think of everything that makes public discourse today a nails-on-chalkboard nightmare: the screaming matches, the hair-trigger outrage, the glib snarking and self-righteous peacocking. You might call “Beautiful Orthodoxy” our shorthand for the opposite of that—for theological, political, and cultural expression that unites truthfulness and loveliness. The way the gospel does.
Plenty of people speak the truth about God and his world, but their manner is abrasive. Others use warm, artful language in the service of half-truths and falsehoods. At CT, we believe in the possibility of truth without ugliness, of beauty without moral and theological squishiness. (Don't take it from me, though. Let editor in chief Mark Galli flesh out our commitment to Beautiful Orthodoxy in this essay and this interview.)
As always, we're pumped about these yearly book awards, when we recognize Christian writers for painstaking research and trenchant analysis, for dazzling prose and arresting imagery. What a testimony to the power of beauty and orthodoxy uniting in a delicious feast. Bon appétit. —Matt Reynolds, associate editor, books
Os Guinness ...1