homage to Coleridge


While I have been writing a sermon on Beauty, Molly has been practicing her illustrative skills.  She is not yet at Coleridge’s artistic level, but her redemptive vision is clear.

11 thoughts on “homage to Coleridge”

  1. a risky-feeling sermon that had to find a balance that tipped neither to fluffy-niceness, nor dove all the way into theory of aesthetics!

    the trigger is in Isaiah: Israel being clothed with the garments of salvation & being a crown of beauty in the Lord’s hand.

    Link this to Incarnation as an embodiment of God’s beauty (mind travel by Iconoclast arguments and Plato, but don’t tell…)

    Travel via a rather self indulgent telling of the effect of the Nutcracker on a young girl to the following ideas (mostly stolen from a lector by Trevor Hart at the Offence of Beauty conference):
    — the experience of beauty is an experience of deepest satisfaction
    — it breaks though our normal consciousness with a sense of ‘rightness’ (si fas est), the sense that this ‘more’ is in fact true
    — it is an experience not of what is, but what should be.
    — it therefore has redemptive potential: revealing the world in the light of God’s love and salvation.

    Incarnation as supreme expression of beauty:
    embodiment of God’s love, God-with-us.

    Shows us both the fullness of human life, and what we are not yet.

    Digress into the hard reality of Gaza: how can we speak of beauty in the midst of mess?

    Return to ‘beauty interrupts/ breaks through’ — that we need a vision of beauty, a vision of a world redeemed to sustain hope and action.

    Sorry this is so scrappy. Because I was preaching without a text, it was all a mind-map in my head (and much better in Rothesay than Dunoon, as luck would have it)

    Thinking about it makes me want to go to next year’s Theology and the Arts conference again, but I suppose I will have to go to the Provincial Conference instead.

  2. Thank you, these scraps make a pleasing patchwork indeed (although I know what you mean about the risk – I spend too much time teetering on that limb – and all to often falling into the fluffy side I fear)!
    A crucial part of a theology of image I think.
    And a helpful push into the aesthetics that I have been/need to be reading.

  3. Well, the most recent and relevant is a friend’s thesis which looks at works of Modern art alongside different narratives or poetry from the Hebrew Bible. I’m reading it partly for the content and partly so I can see the way a finished thesis looks (and yes, this gives me THE FEAR). Hopefully it will be a book someday because it’s fabulous.

    Otherwise, I have Ricoeur’s book The Rule of Metaphor staring at my accusingly and I’ve also been reading a bit about new formalism, and to that end have Isobel Armstrong’s The Radical Aesthetic also staring out from the bookshelf. I haven’t read either of these, so not sure whether to recommend or not.

    More circuitously, this line of thinking has been prompted by Melissa Raphael’s book The Female Face of God in Auschwitz – which has a lot to say about theology of image, and the dwelling of the Shekinah (even in horrendous degradation, God is reflected/present in the actions of care that were women’s way of preserving Israel in the concentration camps – is more or less Raphael’s argument) and the resulting aesthetic/ethical implications. It’s a tremendous book and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  4. lovely, lovely Molly….. She is at least Coleridge’s equal, if not superior.

    Wish I could have heard your sermon – Justin and I were talking briefly about beauty and worship on Christmas Eve on our way from a Brethren carol service (at Justin’s parents’ church) to a high Anglo-Catholic midnight mass. I suspect we’ll return to that discussion over coffee this afternoon after your thoughts here. Thank you.

  5. Kimberly

    I am willing to attend the Theology and the Arts conference in your place if you are unable to go due to Church matters.

  6. I’m sure they would be delighted to see you, father Zebadee.

    Kate, it sounds like your Christmas eve was the perfect context for that discussion. How was midnight? — ah, never mind. I’ve just read your blog…

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