BEAUTY LIVED TOWARDS SHALOM: THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AS AESTHETIC-ETHICAL EXISTENCE
Keywords:Theological aesthetics, Beauty from below, Incarnational theology
The apparent irrelevance of beauty to questions of justice reflects a problematic schism between aesthetic and ethical existence. While a theological aesthetics focused on the transcendent nature of beauty offers an important contribution, such an understanding of the place of beauty in human existence is incomplete without a complementary understanding of it as this-worldly: beauty as lived, as a relational category impelled by visceral desire and fuelled by the embodied imagination. By rightly ordering the appreciation and cultivation of beauty in everyday life, its relationship to works of justice is immediately apparent, as both modes of relating mutually serve as fitting shalom. In this light, fittingness becomes a measure of not only aesthetic but also ethical excellence, the two modes of existence being inextricably intertwined. Cultivating beauty- and-justice, as an expression of shalom, is a following after Christ’s being-for-the-other. It is a relational commitment, a life of discipleship that founds beauty in love.
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