Recently I spent a good chunk of time remodeling the room in New Life Church that was to become the church’s counseling office. So I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was spending so much time working to make the room beautiful: Does beauty even matter? Or is efficiency and practicality all that matters? Should we, as Christians, be utilitarians, or should we “waste” time and money beautifying our world?
If you know me at all, you can guess that I’d cast my vote for the latter. How about you? And why?
While thinking about these things, I came across this provocative quote from Peter Kreeft, a Catholic theologian and philosopher who I greatly admire:
“Worship efficiency and the god will destroy itself as well as you. … While beauty cannot of itself save us, or substitute for either Goodness or Truth… yet it contributes to the salvation of creation—and of souls!
“If you had the choice of going to a church where true Orthodox doctrine was taught, and true morality was preached, but everything was ugly and unattractive, or going to one where only some true Orthodox doctrine was taught, and only some true morality was preached, but was irresistibly attractive, I think you would choose the second. And I think you would rightly choose the second. To fall in love with at least half of God’s package deal, is better than to have it all but not fall in love with it.”
What do you think? If you were choosing between a church with perfect doctrine but no beauty, or a church with some doctrinal flaws but everything was beautiful, which would you choose?
(And to challenge you even further: Can a church that completely ignores the value of beauty be said to have “perfect doctrine” anyway?)