I had the opportunity recently to hear Gregory Wolfe, who is the founder of Image, a wonderful quarterly journal which has the byline: Art * Faith * Mystery. His book, Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age, makes a powerful case for the importance of beauty and imagination to engage the culture.
“Beauty will save the world” originally was born from the pen of Russian novelist, Dostoevsky, through the lips of the main character of The Idiot. At first, it may sound like naive wishful thinking. But Alexander Solzhenitsyn came to embrace it, using it in his Nobel address. Many others have appealed to this statement in addressing the role of the artist in today’s world. (See here)
Czeslaw Milosz, in his poem One More Day, gives us illumination about the importance of Beauty:
And though the good is weak, beauty is very strong.
Nonbeing sprawls, everywhere it turns into ash whole expanses of being,
It masquerades in shapes and colors that imitate existence.
And no one would know it, if they did not know that it was ugly.
And when people cease to believe that there is good and evil.
Only beauty will call to them and save them.
So that they still know how to say: this is true and that is false.
As we care for and create culture as Christ-followers, we testify to the beauty of the creator – who is the Savior of his world!