Ten Quotes on Beauty and the Arts

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Kent Sanders on his Born To Create Podcast. It was a fun podcast, and we talked about imagination, storytelling, invention, and Honest Worship. During the interview, Kent reminded me of one of my favorite quotes in Imagine That from Madeleine L’Engle, “Jesus was not a theologian. He was God who told stories.” Which got me thinking about my favorite quotes again.

There are quotes collected everywhere in the deep wrinkles of my cerebellum, so many that I forget most of them. Not just the quotes one can mine from those quote websites, but those oddly specific ones that make me pause and ponder. I’ve shared some in Imagine That, as well as in several blog posts, including: “Quote Unquote,” “Ten Quotes on Writing,” and “Movie Quotes on Creativity & the Arts.” So perhaps now would be a good time to share some fresh ones.

So grab a cup of coffee and a quiet corner of your Starbucks, and ponder on…

“Beauty is a gratuitous gift of the creator God; it finds its source and its purpose in God’s character. God, out of his gratuitous love, created a world he did not need because he is an artist.” — Makoto Fujimura, Culture Care

Brutal honesty is the root. Not just to a relationship with God, but it’s the root to a great song. That’s the only place you can find a great song. The only place you can find any work of art, of merit.” — Bono, Beyond the Psalms, Fuller Studio

“A moment of grace lies in all beauty: it shows itself to me far beyond what I have a right to expect, which is why we feel astonishment and adoration. — Hans Urs von Balthasar

“Music is what feelings sound like. — Georgia Cates

“A great deal of jazz has a streak of pathos, a kind of dark color to it, however joyful or celebratory the piece as a whole may be. A part of that is the pervasiveness of the blues, the blues scale, which brings a tinge of lament and restlessness to the music. That’s the real miracle of this music: the way it can take up dissonance into a dynamic of hope.” — Jeremy Begbie in an interview with allaboutjazz.com.

“It is the business of the artist to uncover the strangeness of truth.” — Flannery O’Conner

“We do not necessarily write about ourselves, we write out of ourselves, using ourselves; what we learn from, what we are sensitive to, what we feel strongly about—these become our characters and go to make our plots.” — Eudora Welty

“The only music I don’t like is bad music.” — Quincy Jones

“When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist; Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work, and so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly than he knew, Rembrandt’s brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend. When the work takes over, then the artist listens. — Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”  — Bob Ross

And one more, just for me…

“And Harry doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make the scene, he’s got a daytime job, he’s doing all right. He can play that honky tonk like anything, saving it up for Friday night.” — Dire Straits, “Sultans of Swing”


If you’d like to hear me speak, here are a few links to recent podcasts I’m featured in:

Spirituality For Ordinary People/Matthew Brough. An interview regarding Honest Worship, beauty, authenticity, spiritual formation.

Chris Fabry Live. A radio interview with Moody Radio, where I break down Honest Worship beyond the false self.

Born To Create Podcast/Kent Sanders. A fun and expansive interview on imagination, storytelling, invention, and Honest Worship.

Beyond Sunday Worship/David Santistevan.  A deep dive into Honest Worship, as well as the worship industry, worship songs, and how to have a more God-centered approach to our worship.

[Photo: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.]

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