“To you, O Lord, I will make music”

More aesthetics in the Bible, from passages that I had never noticed before:  Psalm 101, identified as “a Psalm of David,” reflects specifically on singing and making music.  It begins:

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
    to you, O Lord, I will make music.

Elsewhere, David also refers to singing and making melody “to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6; see these other places).  So the Lord is the audience of the music.  The artist is addressing not other human beings but God Himself.

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“Pleasant to the sight”

In our Bible class, we were studying stewardship.  I know, not the most exciting of topics, but this one was really interesting, beginning with the Creation and making the point that God is the true owner of all things, which, He, however, gives to us to manage.  We looked at Genesis 2:9 and were asked what were the two purposes that God had for the trees in Eden:

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.  (Genesis 2:9)

“Good for food” I knew.  But I had never noticed the other quality:  The trees were to be “pleasant to the sight.”  That is to say, God made the trees to be beautiful.  Thus beauty and aesthetic considerations are part of God’s design in His creation. [Read more…]

How a movie can go terribly wrong

Imagine a movie with two of the biggest stars in Hollywood, directed by an Oscar winning director, based on a best-selling novel, and backed by the bottomless pockets of a billionaire.  That’s a sure fire formula for a hit movie, right?  Well, not necessarily.  After the jump, an account of a movie with everything going for it that went straight to video. [Read more…]

Why do people like to be scared?

Dr. Margee Kerr is a “scare specialist.”  In addition to college teaching, she is the staff sociologist at ScareHouse, a “haunted house” in Pittsburgh, which apparently consults her scientific expertise in designing effects that scare people.  The Atlantic interviews her on the question of why some people like to get scared. [Read more…]

Ugliness and Civilization

Have you noticed how ugly most of our communities are, all the strip malls, concrete boxes, offices, and even churches, void of aesthetic touches?  There is certainly “art,” but it tends to be walled away in museums, rather than being part of a living community (as many of the pieces in museums once were).  Have you noticed that this is a relatively new phenomenon?  In the cover story for the latest National Review, Michael Knox Beran writes about why that is and what the decline of beauty and the rise of ugliness tell us about our civilization. [Read more…]

The good wine

I was struck by something in the Epiphany scripture reading a few Sundays ago, about Christ’s first miracle, turning the water into wine.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroomand said to him, Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:9-10).

So there is “poor wine” and “good wine,” a difference in quality.  (Also we see that those to imbibe “freely” become less able to tell the difference.)  [Read more…]