The Beauty Chasers: Recapturing . . .

The Beauty Chasers: Recapturing . . .

Timothy D. Willard recently published The Beauty Chasers: Recapturing the Wonder of the Divine (Zondervan Reflective, 2022).  A writer and independent scholar. Timothy lived in Oxford, England, for two years.  There he studied beauty and northern aesthetics in the works of C. S. Lewis for his PhD.  In his opening sentence, Timothy underscores that beauty possesses the power to change you.  But only if you let it.  Because God speaks to us through beauty.  However, we must slow down and listen with our hearts in order to hear those words.  And when we strip down life to the bare necessities, we’re left with the things that matter most.  Most significantly, beauty belongs to them all.  Furthermore, Beauty Chasers realize that beauty flies in the face of disappointment and continued failure.  Arm-in-arm with hope.

Above all, Timothy observes, everything created reaches toward the nobility of heaven.  As a result, pain and suffering, rather than ends in themselves. continue along the process of rebirth.  Thus, death must give way to the life-sustainingness of heaven.  God provides the nourishment needed for life.  Hence, true life withers away from God.  Therefore, when the Holy Spirit indwells, the dance of learning to live in God begins.  So, we spend our entire lives pursuing, rejecting, or ignoring Him.  As Christians, Timothy counsels, we stand not against the world, but outside it, calling the world to something Other.  For beauty begins with God Himself.  Consequently, we discover the why of beauty when we know the Source.  Beauty Chasers need to cultivate intimacy with the Savior as they counterbalance the pragmatic with the strangeness and wonder of beauty.

In addition, the author stresses, when you love God with your heart and soul, you find it easy to submit to the rigors of spiritual discipline and the training of the soul for worship.  Also, reset your gaze on the beauty that your daily connections and collisions bring you.  Embrace the edges of your comfort zone, even as you suffer through them.  For meaningful change occurs in the individual heart.  Yet, Tim asserts, the world grooms us to be spectators, not participants.  Thus, convenience partners with spectating, but sacrifice accompanies participation.  To participate in life, then requires Beauty Chasers to live at a pace that allows them to engage in every aspect of living.

In conclusion, Timothy notes that God gives beauty to remind us, win us, and open us up to the breath of heaven.  Beauty asks us to be still, to ponder God.  Therefore, think of silence as a framing for something other, not as the absence of something.  Silence possesses power and instructs us on how to attend to others.  And when expectations scatter and disappear, joy finds us, unguarded.  Certainly, it’s almost impossible to live unaffected by the world.  However, your unaffected self sees you as God sees you: drenched in His glory.  Hence, Timothy exhorts, answer beauty’s call – that it points to something beyond you.  Push further up and further in.  And dive deep into the four dimensions of God!

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Dave Henning

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