We speak a great deal about love, sensuality and beauty in Melbourne. What we don’t speak as well about is how we abuse, misuse or misplace love, sensuality and our aesthetic sense. We are afraid to define love even though it is essential for us to thrive. Augustine of Hippo wrote long ago of how our wrongs result from us misplacing our love. We take good God-given things, like sensuality or beauty, and make them into ultimate things. As we do this we the irony is we lose the boundaries that make them healthy. [Audio | Notes]
For further thought
Are Christians against sensuality and beauty?
No, beauty is a gift of God
What do we do when our desires cause harm?
The spirituality of denial
The spirituality of grace
To have and to hold with freedom and joy.
Q: What are the differences between healthy and unhealthy or even destructive pleasures?
Q: What are the things in our culture that keep us from enjoying healthy pleasures?
In the passage from Song of Songs the lovers not only enjoy each other’s bodies but are in awe of the people they love (eg. 6:10, 7:1).
Q: How would awe, even reverence, help us to enjoy sensuality and beauty?
Q: What does the fact that writing like this is in the Bible teach us about a Biblical approach to beauty?
In Colossians, the apostle Paul writes of the ineffective spirituality of physical denial (Col 2:20-23), but also of the effective spirituality of grace that allows us not only to give up unhealthy or destructive desires but to be thankful and enjoy well the beauty God gives us (see Colossians 3:1-17).
Q: How can we practically use Paul’s teaching in our enjoyment of beauty?