The triangle of beauty (Christian beauty: 4)

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28/01/2013 by Chris Green

beautiful-delta-photo-photography-sky-triangle-102532So, I’ve suggested thee angles to answering the question of what is beautiful.

Angle 1: something is beautiful because it is truthful.  The words or ideas it uses resonate with reality, and we recognise and enjoy that.

Angle 2: something is beautiful because it affects or moves us, perhaps with delight, often with sadness, and occasionally with pity.  Other emotions are all in this angle too.

Angle 3: something is beautiful because it works, with an elegance whether delightfully simple or engagingly convoluted.

Some things we create only sit at angle 1.  A computer manual, for example.  A sculpture might sit in angle 2. And a wonderful piece of architecture at angle 3.

But, but, but – a number of the things we make occupy more than one angle.  A beautiful poem probably sits in angles 1 and 2, truthful and artfully constructed.

//Warning, geek alert//

Or take the perennial Mac vs. PC debate (quiet, Linux).  Both Macs and more generic computers sit in Angle 3, and many in Angle 2 as well.  Apple’s software has always been aimed at both angles, and Microsoft is trying hard to do the same.

But here’s the thing. What Apple has done is to try to make software and hardware a seamless unit and therefore the whole experience sits at Angles 2 and 3.  That may be why Mac users (yup, me) might pay a higher price for a walled garden – because the total experience sits in two angles. Does Surface achieve the same end?

//Warning, gospel alert//

I’ve suggested that the gospel is grounded in all three angles, because each is an aspect of Christ’s work as our truthful prophet, gorgeous priest and effective king. If that’s right, it means Christians are in a unique position of being able to explain beauty. And if that’s right, it’s because nothing is as beautiful as the gospel, the most truthful, entrancing and efficient work of God there will ever be. Has that caught your heart and imagination yet?

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Ps. 27:4)

To think it through.

Does your church live in all three angles, or just in two – or even one?

Is there any human object which manages to sit in all three angles?

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One thought on “The triangle of beauty (Christian beauty: 4)

  1. Martyn Woodsford says:

    Beauty and truth matter. They should always be connected if they are disconnected, we are far more lost than we can discover alone. There are those moments when our wilful connection to one or thee other maims our capacity to care, beyond ourselves. Still we need to contact the beauty and truth that is only inherent in the good news of Jesus. I know there are times when it has been easier to pick one of them rather than both. Because I wasn’t prepared to work that hard, that is my loss, I am diminished. Sorry for that I will work harder or maybe smarter would be best and I will not do this alone, this will be my Yes, thank you this post.

    I like the incarnation, one of the most interesting books about interactive design is “Make It So: interaction design lessons from science fiction” by N. Shedroff & C. Noessel this book has forced me to think more fully about the incarnation than ever before page 204 had this “Until we have perfected both android appearance and artificial intelligence, well-trained humans despite their flaws, may remain the most usable interface” I hadn’t thought about what Jesus did in these terms, if I am not clear. I am a dyslexic and not always as clear as I hope, thanks for reading regards Martyn

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