Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Wouldn't it be cool if. . .
Every now and then a written description requires that I look for the visual image. The current baptismal font of Salisbury Cathedral is comically hideous. Well, I could hardly exit this comment without looking to see if it was justified or accurate. Sadly, I must concur. It is comically hideous. Too much that defines church architecture and liturgical furnishings fit that definition. We are in no shortage of those things that are comically hideous. Usually these things are foisted upon the church by people who know little of the liturgy, care less for form and proportion, and define beauty as in the eye of the beholder -- paid for by the well meaning who seem to think that beauty often begins with the question: wouldn't it be cool [neat, etc...) if. . . Beauty in service to the divine is hardly ever cool (even when we use that word to describe it). It is most often borne of great effort from the artisan but always the fruit of knowing what this means and how it is used and how the visual teaches these things. I am sure somebody thought this was cool but its symbolism is ineffective and it stands in stark contrast to that which surrounds it. Maybe creations like these are what moved some to think less is more. Looking at this, I almost find myself in agreement with them.
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Pr P, I'm not sure where you and your fellow aesthetes are going regarding a denomination which has enough trouble funding its schools and seminaries and paying its pastors a decent family wage. I suppose beauty needn't be expensive - the ugly in your example certainly is, looking like something Luke Skywalker would have bathed in prior to becoming a Jedi - and simpel can have a beauty all its own. Much of the artistic beauty in the historic churches and cathedrals came from wealth obtained by confiscatory taxation from the poor, guilt manipulation via works-righteousness, and the plundering of Jews and Amerindians. We are commanded to worship in the beauty of holiness rather than in the holiness of beauty. Your thoughts?
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