I read a lot of books about the Christian faith, and sometimes they start to blend together. Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Ministry of Christianity by Brian Zahnd definitely stands out in the crowd.
Zahnd has some harsh but needful things to say to the Western evangelical church. His premise is that, “Christianity as the ongoing expression of the Jesus story lived out in the lives of individuals and in the heart of society is a beauty that can redeem the world” (p. 2).
That, in itself, perhaps doesn’t sound radically different than the gospel preached from most pulpits and most Christian speakers and thinkers. I think that most would agree with the premise, as far as it goes. But that’s the problem…that’s as far as most of us go. We talk a good game, but we don’t really think about what it means. We know that the Gospel story is awesome, beautiful and wonderful…or at least we say it is.
I find it incredibly easy to come at my faith in a individualistic, pragmatic, no-nonsense way. I’m a good American like that. But there is mystery and beauty in the truths of God that cannot and shouldn’t be explained away.
I am so glad I read this book, and I hope you will, too. There are still implications that I’m trying to ponder through. What does seeing the Christian story as fundamentally beautiful mean for how I view worship? How I speak about God? How I seek Him and share His truths with others?
This is definitely a book that is going to stick with me.