“We’ve muted the holy with our self-centered and isolated lifestyles, but it is not God who decided to stop talking. It is us who walked away from the conversation. . . . And yet, even though we’ve seemed to empty the skies of glory, we bemoan the lack of holiness we experience in the world by blaming God.”- Timothy D. Willard
“For in him we live and move and have our being.”- Acts 17:28 (NIV)
Timothy Willard concludes Chapter 4 of The Beauty Chasers with a caution against making religion more utilitarian. Because to do so denudes religion of the holy. Thus, making it totally unadventurous. Furthermore, Timothy bemoans that our modern thirst to redefine language takes the word ‘religion’ and transforms it in a surprising or magical manner into something safe. More inclusive.
However, the author underscores, the existence of religion within any culture establishes and sustains an ethical center. Above all, the pursuit and expression of wonder and beauty is central to that ethical center. Therefore, Timothy adds:
“We know that somewhere beyond this material world, God waits for us, full of meaning and purpose. . . . Jesus pointed to the splendor of the flowers as an example of God’s tenderness and love toward the most fleeting of life forms. Beauty reminds us of God’s care in the fleeting times, the times of seeming waste and anxiety. Meaning, says Jesus, is found in seeking (Matthew 6:23-34).”
In conclusion, the author stresses, God needs to be more than an icon we remember at certain times of the year. And more than a high-five Jesus. Rather, we need the terrible and beautiful God of the universe.
Around the age of eighteen, C. S. Lewis created a word meant to encapsulate this kind of awful splendor. He coined the word terreuty. Consequently, Timothy states, we need a terreautiful God. Otherwise, our worship falls flat and disappears. And worship = the why of our existence.
Today’s question: What Bible verses stay the course when you’ve walked away from the conversation with God? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The Plastic People . . . kill beauty”