Beauty will save the world #3: the axis of love

It continues to blow my mind how timely Brian Zahnd’s book Beauty Will Save the World is for the climate of our country right now. I previously blogged about the first and second chapters. The third chapter is called “Axis of Love.” Kind of sounds like a Jimi Hendrix album. It’s actually a very beautiful presentation of the victory Jesus wins on the cross. Continue reading

Beauty will save the world #2: On regaining wonder

The second chapter of Beauty Will Save the World is about rediscovering the concept of wonder. Brian Zahnd writes: “We wonder at two things–the beautiful and the mysterious. A life stripped of beauty and mystery is a life barren of wonder, and a life without wonder is a kind of deep poverty” (33). Zahnd thinks that the greatest wonder of all is Jesus’ incarnation: the claim that “the Logos, the Word, the Idea, the Reason, the Reflection, the Meditation, the Self-Understanding of God became human flesh and blood” (40). The problem is that we’ve tucked the wonder of Jesus’ identity into systematic theological propositions so that His divine/human nature is something matter of fact rather than a cause for wonder. It becomes part of the formula that has to be fulfilled for God’s equation to work. But God’s truth is better captured in poetry than mathematics. Continue reading

Beauty Will Save the World #1: Beauty over Conquest

The title of Brian Zahnd’s brand new book Beauty Will Save the World is taken from a quote in Fyodor Dostoyevski’s novel The Idiot. Zahnd’s book is a prophetic call to turn away from the ugliness that evangelical Christianity has acquired in the last thirty years due to the loud, angry people who claim to represent us; our consequent identification in the public sphere as an anti-intellectual, xenophobic, populist partisan voting bloc; and our canned, formulaic theology that has produced exponential growth among our megachurches, but seems to be bored with and disdainful of the depths of mystery within God’s Word. Zahnd writes that all of evangelicalism’s various strategies for political and cultural conquest turn ugly when they cease to emulate the “cruciform [which] is the aesthetic of our gospel” (7). Zahnd contends that “our task is not to protest the world into a certain moral conformity, but to attract the world to the saving beauty of Christ” (xvii). Continue reading