Sunday, February 27, 2005

good beauty

Speaking of Kierkegaard, he was as close as we'll come in our age to an Old Testament prophet, railing as he did against the "aesthetic life" because in his day (and ours), the beautiful had been so divorced from the good and the true that it had become an end in itself ("art for art's sake"). This meant the life of the "aesthete" was one of perpetual impression and little substance. But as theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar would say,
"[Beauty] will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters [truth and goodness] without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance" (p.18).
The way forward then is not to abandon beauty, but to reunite it with its estranged sisters. How does this happen? Let Linford from Over the Rhine tell you:
"An interviewer recently asked me what I hope people get from this record. I said that whenever I encounter a work of art that moves me in a significant way, I always walk away wanting to be a better human being. I feel it all over my skin. This chemical reaction is a mystery. I don't begin to understand it. But I said I hope this is what happens when people hear this music. I hope people breathe more deeply and find ways to be more courageous, more open, more generous, more fearless, more loving."
Not unlike another band in their prime, Over the Rhine has become not just music, but a sort of community (fueled however, by faith not L.S.D.). If you pre-order their new C.D. Drunkard's Prayer, more of the money will go to them than the label, and it'll be signed. Here's a sample.