The Good, the True and the Beautiful

One of my favorite books is Jaroslav Pelikan's Jesus through the Centuries.  It reveals the ways inwhich how we understand Jesus has changed throughout history and cultural change.  Pick it up, digest it, you'll love it.

One of the phrases that Pelikan uses in his introduction is a description of Christianity as a faith seeking the good, the true and the beautiful. One way to think about this concept is to look at the history of denominational developments.  Lutherans in particular embodied the pursuit of truth.  Our history of exploring questions of doctrine and teachings of the christian faith is one way of seeing that pursuit of truth.  Episcopalians could be viewed as a tradition that emphasize a denomination seeking the beautiful.  Their history of exploring the arts, liturgy, etc would be an example. Baptists or Quakers could be seen as traditions that, in two different ways, pursue the good.  How the christian faith has a moral or ethical code would be a primary question for those traditions.

Obviously, this is an over simplification, and we all know the categories are not clean, but it gives you a basic idea.

In an emerging post-denominational era, I wonder if we need to see this as a time to bring the good, the true and the beautiful together. One of the strengths of the Lutheran tradition is its clear thinking about the teachings of the faith.  But, I think we are in a time when we need to claim the beautiful and the good into our tradition. This probably needs to happen in other traditions, and we can help make that contribution.  We are in a time of bringing the whole together.