for those who don't want to just wait it out

like the song says this is a blog for someone who wants to say something (anything) and who's happy to wait and see what time will bring...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 the eye of the beholder

According to an online dictionary, beauty is defined as "the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, colour, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest)".

But what does that mean? As a person who has spent much (professional) time dedicated to making other people 'more beautiful' this is something that I've often thought about: how can something be beautiful to one person - and mean virtually nothing to someone else?

With the onset of another year at Credo we have already begun thinking about and planning for our major Easter conference - and this year, the topic for the long weekend is "Creation". Along with some others, I've been doing some summer reading on the subject - mostly in a book by David Wilkinson "The Message of Creation". I liked it when he says that "God is an artist who creates on a vast canvas with huge brushstrokes. He celebrates diversity, making a Universe that communicates His greatness, joy and generosity." For me it gives a depth to understanding that different people will find different things to be beautiful because God has created us with the ability to choose what we enjoy.

And yet it feels as though that isn't enough. I feel as though there should be more to it than that. That somehow, there is a greater richness to what God defines and understands beauty to be - but here on earth we just can't quite get it past the tips of our tongues.

The other day i walked around my home, esp my garden, to find things that were interesting to me. Here's one...

...I thought it was beautiful. But that could just be me.


  • At 2:12 am, Blogger Justin said…

    Its not just you...

    It’s empirical.

  • At 11:54 am, Blogger Chelsea Grainger said…

    no, its not just you jodi!

    >"different people will find different things to be beautiful because God has created us with the ability to choose what we enjoy." - I like that idea! very true really!

    Yet I completely understand when you say it feels like that isnt enough.
    One of the reasons i love photography is to attempt to capture some of God's beautiful creation - in both pics of physical creation but also capturing moments that to me seem beautiful - yet that is never enough - there is so much more to it than we can ever comprehend let alone capture!

    ...which i guess is kinda what makes it that much more beautiful...

    hm anyway, like your thoughts jodi :)

  • At 12:23 pm, Blogger phil said…

    Hey Jodes

    'there is a greater richness to what God defines and understands beauty to be'

    In terms of the pinnacle of creation, us...

    "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Sam 16:7

    Interesting that while there is variation of opinion as regarding physical beauty, I don't think there is as much variation of opinion about a beautiful heart. Its hard to deny the beauty of a heart that is turned to God, transformed to love and serve his people.


  • At 11:49 am, Blogger Goldy said…

    The pic is quite lovely Jodi!

    Beauty is a funny thing. I have always felt a little like we are reductionistic in our views of beauty. The reason why it is so hard to define is because there are so many layers to what makes things beautiful, even physically beautiful.
    Part of the joy of photography I guess, is when people find a picture beautiful, even when they can't explain why!

  • At 10:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Someone once shared with me the idea that when God created the world all things were perfect in beauty and goodness.

    But since humanity's rejection of God (ie. the fall), the world's beauty (including man's beauty) has been disfigured. There are still traces of the beautiful among us - be it a vibrant flower, an exquisite sunset or charming face - but all beauty has been dulled since we live in a broken world. Whatever beauty we see in anything now is only a dull reflection of the beauty that awaits in heaven. (An idea C.S. Lewis captures well at the end of The Last Battle from the Chronicles of Narnia Series).

    I think there is an inate desire in each of us to attain and admire that perfect beauty that God originally made the world in.

    But as Phil has already observed, we humans tend to look at the beauty on the outside and get quite distracted by becoming 'more beautiful' (on the outside) - however you define that - which is reflected in the massive beauty and health industries dominant in western cultures.

    The feeling of 'looking good' is a positive one and has some value, but what God is more concerned about is the beauty within.

    "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment... it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 pete 3:3-4)

    If i think honestly about myself, i realise that my personality (the inner me) is actually quite ugly. I hate. Im selfish. Impatient. Arrogant. How can i ever be beautiful inwardly?

    Thankfully, God, in Jesus (like a skin cleanser) cleanses our souls so that we're clean and clothes us in righteousness like a bride.

    "I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." (Isaiah 61:10)

    So while we wait for the great return of our Lord and Savior I will admire a beautiful sunset and praise our God Almighty for what he has made, but will remind myself, "this is beauitful, but heaven will be even better."

    And instead of being distracted by how i look physically, i will try to remind myself that this body is but a tent and only a temporary shelter for that within. And through Jesus and the power of the Spirit will "aim for perfection" as i try to live like Jesus did - full of grace and truth.

    "Perfect in beauty, God shines forth." (Psalm 50:2)

    God is the perfect definition of beauty. So be holy as He is holy.

  • At 12:11 pm, Blogger jodi said…

    well - who would have thought that some late night musings would provide such feedback. thanks for you're thoughts one and all. in particular:

    justin - that's my point though - it can't be empirical! (can it? how?)

    chelsea and goldy - that's exactly why i became so much more interested in photography; the chance to capture a glimpse of something that you find beautiful (no matter what anyone else may think about it) as well as the chance to record the memory of something beautiful.

    phil - in an idealistic way i think you're right. true beauty is the heart that is transformed to the desires of our Holy God. But (similar to the suggestion of anon) i wonder if the fallen-ness of our own hearts will ever allow us to see that on this earth. i can sometimes recognise it in people, but often think my own heart is too blind to really see.

    and finally, anonymous - thankyou for taking the time to write your thoughts. i wholeheartedly agree with you - heaven will be so much better than i can even begin to image. and thanks for your encouragement and challenge to us all to (as i infer) forget the rest - and be holy...

  • At 12:56 pm, Blogger phil said…

    Good thoughts annon.

    Yeah you are right. Too often my sinful heart blurs the picture.

    I think there are times of honesty - allowed for by the Holy Spirit - when you get a glimpse of true beauty in this world.

  • At 8:15 am, Blogger ness said…

    Hi jodi,
    Great blog! Love your pics and musings on the important stuff of life.
    I remember leading on some Crusader study camps with justin....he would remember as ness black..............
    small world.
    looking forward to seeing some of your stamped creations posted here soon!


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