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Re-enchanting the Gospel: the Role of Objective Beauty in Worship

James R. Hart, D.W.S.
President: Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (an ABHE graduate-level institution)
Seminar title: Re-enchanting the Gospel: the Role of Objective Beauty in Worship
The news seems to be increasingly filled with reports of sabre rattling, political power posturing, aggressive aggrandizement both in privacy and the body politic and in general, an attitude of self-serving superiority through abusive domination and even oppression. One way to break through the ugliness that militates against the faith is to re-enchant ourselves, the world, and especially the Gospel with the objective beauty of God. Over the past four or five centuries, objective beauty had been marginalized or even neglected from theological discourse. Theologian Hans urs von Balthasar claimed that when beauty is “made” absent through neglect or intentional marginalization, the good is no longer attractive, and ultimately the true no longer matters! His perspective was that beauty forms the background or context for the true and the good, and for precisely that reason, he sees that theological discourse should start with beauty. Together, beauty, goodness and truth reveal the very nature of God manifested uniquely and ultimately in Jesus the Christ, the objectively Beautiful One. Led by Jim Hart, President of the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, we will begin to “scratch the surface” of understanding the role of objective beauty in worship and its role in addressing the sacred/secular divide.