During a Podcast interview with Mortification of Spin, Carl Trueman surprised me with the question: “Why should we teach our children to appreciate art and beauty?” I was surprised because I always considered the answer obvious. Art and beauty are are so incredibly uplifting (sometimes troubling but always moving) that it seems only natural to appreciate them as generous gifts of a God who likes to give us more good than our minds can conceive.
After failing miserably to give an answer, I told Carl I would write something in my blog, but the business of daily life pushed this commitment to the bottom of my list. At any rate, I don’t think I could give a better answer than what former Archbishop Rowan Williams expressed in this short discourse.
“Insofar as beauty is one of the things that expands our hearts into joy, it belongs with the truth and goodness of God and what we learn from the experience of the beautiful in arts or in nature is to have our rather boring and prosaic habits of mind and heart broken open a bit, our horizon broadened, our world renewed. Beauty sometimes challenges and shocks us because we get used to low expectations of who we are and what the world is like. So I say, beauty and truth in the discovery of God do indeed belong together.” (Rowan Williams)