A new category of occasional posts will be making a quiet but merry debut here next week, and I wanted to give a little introduction in advance.
“Deep Draughts of Beauty” will be a follow-up collection to “Why Beauty Belongs in the Sacrificial Life,” which tells the story of my rationale for celebrating beauty in the kingdom of God.
In quick summary, I believe that those with Christ-surrendered lives grow richer and stronger when we encounter things that sing of His redemption — not just the bare bald fact of it, but the full-bodied, glorious nature that makes us look to its reality with aching joy. The personal curation of such beauty is a means of “letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly” (Col. 3:16), of keeping our eyes intentionally fixed on the truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, and goodness of God (Phil. 4:7-8), and of holding firmly to the grace that is with us and the grace that is coming.
As I’ve tried to live this out, I’ve come across several (mostly) contemporary sources over the years that I’ve found to be deeply revitalizing and full of the beauty of our true Home. I’m genuinely delighted to share them here — particularly with those who have looked for them as I have.
Why contemporary? I love the old masters of various crafts, and to do a post on the timeless books and sundry works that have shaped me would have to be a series of its own. But I also think it’s deeply heartening to find kindred spirits in artists and teachers living among us, in men and women who understand the challenges and siren calls of our day and age, and with whom we stand shoulder to shoulder to press on in the name of our King.
Most of us must engage with this present world and its news and debates and statistics and opinions. I think it is well and wise indeed to know how to pull away from the noise, but also wise to mark out “homely houses” that put our worldview right side up again. If the connections and information of our era are good for anything, it ought to be this: that we may be renewed by seeing our comrades-in-arms holding up the light of Christ in a broken world, to hear the songs they sing as we war against the “powers over this present darkness” (Eph. 6:12), and to pray for each other as the call rings along the front lines to hold our ground.
The recommendations you’ll find here are unsponsored and unsolicited. Many of these sources are simply so dear and wonderful to me that I hesitate to share them because I’m not sure I can do them justice. These are the musicians who play in a loop in my home and car, the writers whose books I’ve returned to for reorientation and relief, the blogs I’ve kept open for weeks and months at a time to remind me where I’m bound and what matters to my Lord.
But most of all, they are suggestions for you, in case you’ve ever gone searching for good, honest, and beautiful places and people to give you courage — to spur you on to love well and to take the next step Homeward. I hope you resonate with some of these as I have, and that your strength may be renewed through the truths they relay as Lucy was when she buried her face in Aslan’s mane.
Cover image: Pędzich-Opioła, Joanna. “Grandma’s place.” Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0, 12 Oct 2018.