The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Evangelizing through Beauty

I saw an interesting video from Fr. Robert Barron about how Evangelizing through beauty is the most effective way.

According to Fr. Barron, the problem about Truth is that our society believes it is relative, and on goodness, that no one likes being told they are wrong. However I think the problem goes deeper. I listened to another speech by Peter Kreeft on the “Good, true and beautiful”. Which according to Dr. Kreeft, the Heart is most receptive to beauty than the head. Which has lead me to think that the matter is that we are not evangelizing to the heart, only to head knowledge. Considering how the head seems to have a pretty straight forward answer to the true, good and beautiful. As I understand, everyone believes in verifiable facts, most people believe in morals, but beauty is in general seen as mentally subjective. My best explanation is that with Goodness and Truth, we have a tendency to look at them with the intellect, and Good is just moralism, and truth is just facts. Which ends up falling into self righteousness and dogmatism. But Beauty goes right to the heart, along with truth and goodness. Where actual truth and goodness are something understandable only through the heart, and not the mind. Where the mind only applies heart knowledge which it can define.

Now even in the bible, there is much more use of beauty to make points, like how much of Genesis, Exodus, the Historical books, the Gospels and Acts use mostly story to teach. And how the Wisdom books, Prophets, Epistles and Revelation use poety to teach truth and goodnesss without getting into boring metaphysics or preachy moralism. Since that speaks better to the true self, where metaphysics and ethics only speaks to the head.

This reminds me of what St. Francis of Assissi said about preaching at all times, and use words if necessary.

Thanks, Joe. :smiley:

Love it!

I linked it directly for you – I hope that’s okay. If you’re interested, the way to do this is to use the following tags: {youtube}{/youtube} (only use square brackets of course) Then, if there is an “https” you must remove the “s” for some arcane reason. :unamused: This almost always works.

Blessings, Cindy

Never knew about that feature. Thanks

I’ll have a watch of this later. Really like Father Barron’s videos generally

This whole thing about Evangelizing through Beauty reminds me of how this is a good buffer between being tempted by the good, which seems to be the popular style of Evangelizing. But I see that it has not been very effective. Since all we are doing is just trading our own understanding of Good for anothers. Unlike trading it for the Righteousness of Christ. And I know I am guilty of being tempted by the good of beauty, where I get easily annoyed with lectures, preaching, moralizing, or claiming truth. Like who wants to be told what to do? Who wants to be told they are wrong? I know I am guilty of being judgmental of people who wont just get with the program.

That’s a good video. That is also the way of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Church’s liturgy is so beautiful that our bishop recently called it “God’s seduction”. The liturgy seeks to entice, to enchant.

This has got me thinking that beauty is a kind of merging between the exoteric and esoteric. Or a better way of not getting too caught up in either.

I’m pretty sure Rob Bell and the Emergent church use this method in their sermons to describe the beauty of God’s wisdom, love, etc. . The Catholic and Orthodox church do it as well with pictures, crucifixes, stained glass and all that jazz.

Looking forward to watching this - thank you for posting it.

One favorite story is of a young Nazi-fied Czech girl after the war made it into the American sector of Germany and was warmed by food and kindness of the soldiers. It was Christmas Eve and she found her way into a bombed out church where some folks had gathered to play Handel’s Messiah. The Lord met her there and she became a Christian.

Myself, I was living in northern New Mexico with a view of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains which I drank in every day. The thought came, “How could an animal that is descended from an Amoeba have an appreciation of beauty such as this?” That began my search for the Living God.

Creating art is an act of love for the creation, but ultimately, God, and the people who will appreciate the art work.

I have wondered, is it manipulative to evangelize through beauty? I could see it being considered manipulative, to trick people into a belief system through sensation. But then I wonder if the true beauty can see beyond intellectual notions of truth and goodness. Since I find thats what people find problematic

I always like hearing or watching a Roman Catholic priest or eastern Orthodox priest speaking. It’s interesting how he started with a book. Kind of reminds me of my life - many years ago. I used to work in software engineering in the city. But I was close to the Art Institute, so I joined them. And during lunch hour, I used to attend the lunchtime art lectures. They had an expert from the museum, talk about some aspect or display in the museum. It was like starting fresh. Then I could go back and easily finish the software engineering day. And he did mention The Seventh Story Mountain by Thomas Merton. It’s an excellent spiritual autobiography, by a Trappist monk and Zen expert.

Of course, I’m a big fan of Star Wars - I like the new one. And I love the song The Day the Music Died by Don McLean. And I found beauty in the creative fusion: :smiley:

Beauty is a persuasion; the Form of Christ as shown in creation, the good effects of the Church, the beauty introduced into the world by those who follow Christ. A sweet savor that people find attractive. These are good things, not ‘sensual’ in the sexual sense, nor in the sense that they draw us from God - quite the opposite: when the Gospel is preached, people may remember the ‘savor’, the drawing power, and learn from Whence it comes.

Paul talked about how God has ordained that the gospel be made known by the foolishness of preaching. The word preaching has taken on a bad connotation, and rightly so- because it doesnt mean “railing”, “ranting”, “haranguing” or “pestering”. I means proclaiming- and of course there are many ways to proclaim something, but Paul spoke a lot about gentleness and patience and long-suffering. Since my background was more Charismatic/Pentecostal I have seen mostly the worst kinds of examples of proclaiming strutted around as righteousness and verbal assaults glorified as

So I became a folk-singer.

I believe there is a lot of power in beauty, especially beauty that reflects the simplest joys and poignant sorrows of life, or grants glimpses of some the deepest mysteries.

But I think the beauty itself can also become a replacement for God, as music sometimes becomes for me- its something I have to watch. As long as when the beauty has done its thing and opened the mind, soul, heart, spirit- up into the Wind where the still small voice is speaking a whisper of God’s love for all, and whether by word or image or note revealing that beauty, whether directly or just by showing His handi-work… I try a lot to simply present in my music a heavenly perspective towards normal issues of life in common words.

I have a sense that God would have us express more often that we as believers endure many of the same sorrows and experience many of the same hopes and joys, victories and failures as all men, and to express that difference of looking forward hopefully and not being bitter, or whatever- in films, stories, songs, artistic images, that don’t necessarily always have !!!religion!!! stamped all over them.

Hi John,

Really enjoyed both 'Wisdom of Flowers and ‘River of Tears’!

I went to the reverbnation page with your name. Good Stuff!

My kind of music!

When I met my wife we were both smitten by the sound of a single voice and an acoustic guitar. Harps and angels!



I can agree with what you said.

You have a gift of taking wood and making it sound beautiful. Then someone takes it and all the sudden, art, or beauty or substance is created, from what you did!

Kind of neat.

The simplicity of life is important.

This video reminded me of something I read the other day, which talks about preaching the beauties of Jesus and heaven, which God has often used to convict unbelievers of their sin.

Therefore, we should “lead them to repentance through their pleasure” because when we see the pleasures and beauty of God, we want our lives to conform to those beauties.