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Why beauty matters

On Saturday 16 June, All Souls Langham Place hosted the Morphe Arts Group one-day conference, to explore the topic of Why Beauty Matters in the context of how faith relates to creativity.

Calvin Peat, Woking

Figure Image
Bobette Buster

It was a brilliant day, full of interesting discussions and a great opportunity to build community. The speakers imparted many helpful insights, some of which are quoted or slightly paraphrased below.

Because so much is ugly

Roberta Green Ahmanson quoted her brother-in-law as saying: ‘Why does beauty matter? Because there’s so much ugly.’

She also suggested many other reasons for beauty. For instance: What beauty does is tell us who God is. Beauty is something that should point to our creator, rather than exert power over others.

Crosses in Lithuania show the beauty of indomitable faith made tangible. Beauty gives hope that another life is possible.

God didn’t merely make the world utilitarian, but with superabundance. Beauty points us to our ultimate home: the new heavens and the new earth.

Beauty is what we were born for, it is the source of all delight, and it is our eternal glory. ‘Perfect’ isn’t the most important thing. It’s about variety and superabundance.

Steve Turner

Steve Turner, the Christian poet, writer and expert on the Beatles said: Story and love of story is one of the things that makes us human. How to be a Christian creative in the mainstream: just be a Christian in that place. Be grounded in a church. Just be an ordinary Christian alongside ordinary Christians.

People tend to fear new things. It seems like blanket condemning and blanket accepting are both bad. Instead, evaluate in a specifically Christian way.

Creating art isn’t the same as preaching. There isn’t always a simple ‘message’. Just make it.

Bobette Buster

Hollywood script consultant Bobette Buster conveyed some great insights about storytelling, including: The thing that is most important in storytelling is telling a story on two levels – A-story: what happens; and B-story: character stuff.

The films that never fail to bring her to tears (e.g. Toy Story 2, The King’s Speech) are about truth and beauty and character under pressure. Fairy tales equip us for life. ‘Happily ever after’ means something like psychological preparation for life’s setbacks and crises. Any time you have a story about courage and how it’s passed on, you win.

Further information on the Morphe Arts Group, including past talks and future events, can be found at www.morphearts.org