Paul Munson & Joshua Farris Drake
Crossway, 2014, 110 pp., $11.99

One of eight titles in the Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition Series, Art & Music is a short, academic primer that touches briefly on music, art, film and literature, arguing that quality in these specific areas matters significantly and that a God-honoring lifestyle includes godly leisure. Unfortunately, “(W)e as a culture are becoming less sensitive, and less and less understand God as He is revealed generally,” the authors assert.

Art & Music addresses the challenge and seeks to demonstrate “that vibrant, world-changing Christianity assumes a commitment to the integration of faith and scholarship.” That is to say, high-quality art, music and literature serve to teach us more about God, the Creator of beauty. While sin seeks to obscure beauty, the purpose of beauty is to direct our worship back to the God who created such numerous and pleasant aesthetics.

The crux of the book is hinges on one brief statement: “Beauty is a medium for truth,” and the authors elaborate that beauty is less about being found in the eye of the beholder and more about directing our attention to God and His truth. The authors note that post-moderns are less enthralled by true beauty and are more at home with that which might entertain, but is meaningless. Such “ugly leisure” is ugly because it lies. Leading a revolt against beauty and truth, post-moderns instead sacrifice meaning for sensation.

While a quick read with illustrations, reflection questions, and a list of resources for further study, this resource could be a useful tool for at least a multi-week study. Yet it could be a smart resource for sermon prep as the preacher seeks to teach a congregation where to look and how to look for quality pastimes that direct attention and focus back to a contemplative and orderly God. As the authors conclude, “We should not be surprised if all the best pleasures come from paying attention…We are to pursue the best things.”

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