The Death of Beauty (2)

UglyUnderstanding the Ugliness

I will not wade back into specifics of the PCUSA theological  works identified in the previous post.  For anyone with the interest I have already expended tens of thousands of words critiquing them.  With regard to the same gender marriage Rationales, I have provided a separate page that contains all of the associated documents.  The reader is thus well positioned to assess my arguments regarding their deficiencies.

Rather, I will address the question of why, in my opinion, they are so ugly.  I suspect that the following discussion could be generalized to other domains given that the PCUSA’s elite are embedded in and utterly subservient to a larger social-political movement, that being secular Progressivism.

The first step towards understanding must be to define ugliness for the domain of Christian theological prose.  Here I met an immediate roadblock.  For, after considerable contemplation I have concluded that ugliness isn’t so much a definable thing as it is a negation.  That is, ugliness exists as the nullification of that which is beautiful.  Therefore, the way forward is to define the components of beauty in theological prose with the understanding that ugliness is their negation.

Beauty in Christian theological prose:

  • explores the implications of Christianity at the points of deepest human need;
  • maintains unity between the Bible’s testimony and our contemporary challenges;
  • honors and respects that great cloud of Christian witnesses that has come before us;
  • builds towards its conclusions by honestly addressing the primary necessary constituent issues;
  • treats readers as intellectualy and morally competent individuals whose agreement must be won through credible, compelling demonstration of truth;
  • seeks to define and discover truth;
  • utilizes language with a mastery of its capabilities to communicate profound meaning to the reader;
  • demonstrates mastery of the necessary subject matter;
  • elicits a sense of wonder in the reader;
  • draws the readers up towards truths that they may not have previously realized existed, but which are demonstrated to be testified to by Scripture;
  • honestly acknowledges the existence of competing perspectives and seeks to sufficiently address them.

Clearly, theological prose can be valuable and important without being beautiful.  In fact, there are many occasions where some aspects of beauty must be sacrificed in order to achieve the intended purpose.  A primary example of this is our Confessions.  In them the primary goals are comprehensiveness and accuracy in defining the doctrines taught by Scripture. Certainly, there are places in our Confessions where the majesty of the subject matter results in beauty.  However, this is not and cannot be the primary goal.

However, when a work of theological prose negates many or most of beauty’s components then ugliness is a likely outcome.  I claim that this is the case for many recent cases in the PCUSA’s theological prose.  Please feel free to compare the examples (and others) identified in the previous post with these components of beauty.  I contend that they are violated in profound ways, resulting in what can only be characterized as soul destroying ugliness.

Beauty is still sought and achieved throughout the PCUSA.  What a shame that it must swim against the tide of dishonesty, incompetence, bad faith and apostasy, that is the ugliness, that emanates from our supposedly elite leadership.

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