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Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity
 
 

Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity [Kindle Edition]

Brian Zahnd
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

In today’s world we have technology, convenience, security, and a measure of prosperity, but where is the beauty?
For thousands of years, artists, sages, philosophers, and theologians have connected the beautiful and the sacred and identified art with our longing for God. Now we live in a day when convenience and practicality have largely displaced beauty as a value. The church is no exception. Even salvation is commonly viewed in a scientific and mechanistic manner and presented as a plan, system, or formula.

In Beauty Will Save the World, Brian Zahnd presents the argument that this loss of beauty as a principal value has been disastrous for Western culture, and especially for the church. The full message of the beauty of the gospel has been replaced by our desires to satisfy our material needs, to empirically prove our faith, and to establish political power in our world--the exact same things that Christ was tempted with and rejected in the wilderness.

Zahnd shows that by following the teachings of the Beatitudes, the church can become a viable alternative to current-day political, commercial, and religious power and can actually achieve what these powers promise to provide but fail to deliver. Using stories from the lives of St. Francis of Assisi and from his own life, he teaches us to stay on the journey to discover the kingdom of God in a fuller, richer, more beautiful, way.
 


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1142 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Passio (3 Jan 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006NZH978
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #128,294 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars winsome cruiciform beauty 24 Aug 2012
By J. DOUGLAS VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Epic stuff here from Brian Zahnd. Beauty Will Save the World, is incredibly impressive on so many levels. The core ideas are not brought by treatises, statements of doctrine, or argumentation. The book uses stories, and insightful metaphors. It is an invitation to see through a new lens.
Zahnd writes with a passion, depth & inspiration. Zahnd calls us back to the beauty of the cruciform through his great use of story both current and historical. This isn't a warm, fuzzy, make you feel good book, but one that is deeply challenging and calls us into a more intimate and real walk with God. It is a breath of fresh air which kindles hope and new imagination. Memorable, moving and compelling stuff.

Some of my favourite quotes......
"The beauty that saves the world is the cross."
"Instead of angry protesters shaking our fists at a secular culture, we should be joyful singers transforming the secular with the sacred."
"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."
"The cross is the beauty of Christianity because it is at the cross that we encounter co-suffering love and costly forgiveness in its most beautiful form."
"When we lose sight of the subtle beauty of the cruciform we become seduced by the power, prestige, and pragmatism of politics."
"Christ persuades, not by the force of Caesar, but by the beauty of love."
"If Christ can transform the Roman instrument of execution into a thing of beauty, there is hope that in Christ all things can be made beautiful."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 7 Mar 2014
By Aimery
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is about rediscovering the reason why the gospel is so beautiful and an authentic Christianity that can still change the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 11 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was a real insight into the heart of God and how we as Christians can change the world around us through forgiveness, mercy and love. Just when I thought the book couldn't get any better it closed with a stunning chapter on the beatitudes that is a must read for every Christian wanting to know more of God's heart for His followers and how the Sermon on the Mount was enacted on the Cross.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Context for Christianity 28 Dec 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read Beauty Will Save the World and was impressed on so many levels. I am a Christian but I had considered walking away from the Church, and for a brief spell actually did. I had got to the point where it seemed like Christianity had nothing stimulating to say. There is nothing wrong with getting right with God and accepting Jesus as my savior but I just knew there had to be more to following Christ than that.

Brian Zahnd helped me re-discover the true center of Christianity. Jesus was not only crucified but Jesus forgave those who crucified him. Jesus calls us to love the world as He loves the world, to make love and forgiveness the new center of human society. My personal salvation is indeed only half the story because Jesus brings salvation to human society as well. There is a way of life that is beautifull and Jesus shows us the way. This is a message needed in the modern world. There is a whole new context for being Christian and living Christ-like. Key to this is understanding the beauty of Christ on the Cross, living the sermon on the mount, and how that beauty changes how we see and live in this world.

The message is not brought to the reader by treatises, statements of doctrine, or argumentation. The book uses stories, usually real life stories, and insightful metaphors. Brian Zahnd is not trying to convince the reader to change their mind but helping the reader see life through a new lens.

On a more personal note for the last several years it seemed like all the intellectually stimulating and interesting books on theology and ethics were written by writers such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. These atheists never convinced me to abandon my belief in God but were thought stimulating and effective at pointing out where many Christians had gone wrong. Beauty Will Save the World is as intellectually stimulating and thought provoking as anything else I've read relating to these topics. Often while reading this book I found myself wondering what Dawkins and Harris would say in reply.....
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God shines forth 29 Dec 2011
By Thinking-Praying - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have the greatest respect for Pastor Zahnd's ability to inspire through helping our
belief that the deepest, purest longings of our heart can be realized.
His books are historical, Scriptural, and written with great clarity.
Ultimately they help us to draw nearer to God through a broader perspective
and greater understanding of basic doctrine in an contemporary way.
Zahnd appeals to our reason, while sharing glimpses of the depths and heights of
faith, hope,and love as a beautiful mystery embraced universally by humanity.
He writes in a highly educated, life lived to the fullest, fashion.
Embracing the concepts of Christian courage and faith in Zahnd's first book,
the forgiveness of unconditional love in his second, and beauty in his third
would not only change the world, it would go a long way to making it what it was created to be.
You will not easily forget what he has written.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The concept of beauty is an under appreciated and very important concept in Christian Theology. 7 Jun 2012
By Adam Shields - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Over the past couple years I have occasionally thought about the role of beauty in theology.

NT Wright in his book Simply Christian talks about the role of Beauty in theology and I think that was really the first time that I had heard someone speak of beauty in the way.

Neither Zahnd nor Wright are talking about physical beauty. Instead they are talking about conceptual beauty, maybe awe or amazement would be synonyms, but not quite.

For Zahnd, when we miss the concept of beauty, we make Christianity into something that is fully discoverable, more of a science than an art. And more important we try to gain control over our faith (and God.)

"That focal point is this: Jesus is the full revelation of God. Jesus is the eternal Word of God made human flesh. Truly this is the greatest wonder of all. The wonder we long for is found in the sacred mysteries of the faith, and a return to these mysteries can recapture the wonder. Recapturing wonder is part of salvation. We become jaded and bored because we mistakenly think there are no more mysteries to imbue us with wonder, but the Incarnation is an eternal fountain of mystery and wonder. In the mystery and wonder of the Incarnation is found the beauty that saves the world."

The central point of beauty for Zahnd is the cross. The cross is the symbol of Jesus' power, a power of sacrifice, not of domination. So much of the book is a discussion of the cross as beautiful and a discussion of what is lost when we lose the wonder of the incarnation and the cross.

"A kind of kitsch Christianity is what we are left with if we don't take the Incarnation seriously. If we don't deeply contemplate the absolute and full humanity of Christ, and if we don't work the Incarnation thoroughly into our thinking and theology, we end up with a cartoon Christ, a "Precious Moments" parody, or Jesus as one of the "Super Friends"--a comic book hero who is thoroughly unbelievable. This is Gnosticism in one of its more common forms."

I would like there to be more of a discussion about evaluation of beauty. Especially after this comment, `When considering Christian faith and practice, we are used to asking, "Is it true?," but we also need to ask the question, "Is it beautiful?"'

Christians like to talk about the Truth of Christianity, but often do not walk to talk about how we determine what truth is. I think the same could be said of beauty. There is some sense that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Death on a cross is not a traditionally beautiful vision. It is only beautiful when you take into account the motivation of Christ and the reality of what the cross and resurrection accomplishes.

But there is also an issue with something being beautiful as a whole. Breaking it down into pieces and laying it out does not necessarily make it more beautiful. "...wisdom of God is found, not in "solving" the paradox, but in entering its mystery."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pearl of Great Price! 23 Mar 2014
By Terry M. Wildman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A treasure hidden for those who hunger for the beauty of the Kingdom of God. An unexpected beauty, in the form of the cross of Jesus. God can turn the ugly Roman cross, an instrument of violence and torture, into a symbol of hope and new life. The way of violence becomes the way of peace. True power is revealed in weakness.

The world's version of truth; power enforced by violence, is demonstrated by Pilate's verdict--crucify him! God's version of the truth; self sacrificial love, demonstrated by Jesus verdict--Father, forgive them, overturns Pilate's verdict and reveals a hidden treasure in the resurrection. "Peace be unto you" becomes the victory cry of a New Kind of World. Satan is defeated with a demonstration of God's love that was unanticipated by the "powers."

I will have to revisit the book on a regular basis. It goes onto my "read again" shelf. You can't go wrong with this one!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recovering the Beautiful Way 23 Jan 2012
By Erik Stensland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brian Zahnd has given us another thought provoking book on the nature of the Christian faith. He peels back some of the crusty shell which has developed over the centuries and allows us the opportunity to peer in with a sense of wonder and awe. He reveals a forgotten beauty which finds its source in both the teachings and life of Christ. This beauty stands in stark contrast to the mindset and actions of our world and sadly much of the Church. Zahnd calls us back to the beauty of the cruciform through his great use of story both current and historical. This isn't a warm, fuzzy, make you feel good book, but one that is deeply challenging and calls us into a more intimate and real walk with God. If you are serious about following Christ then this is a book you don't want to miss. It is a breath of fresh air which kindles hope and new imagination.
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Our task is not to protest the world into a certain moral conformity, but to attract the world to the saving beauty of Christ. &quote;
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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. &quote;
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“True morality consists in how well we care for one another, not what sort of behaviour we wish to impose on one another.” &quote;
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