Where are the Gargoyles of Yesteryear?

640px-Gargoyles_and_chimeras_1,_Notre-Dame_de_Paris_2011

 Gargoyles and chimeras of Notre-Dame de Paris

Our culture glorifies man, not God. It has turned the Gospel to a social do-gooder’s tool so that we turn all our God-given creative energy to social tasks and neglect to glorify God with our offerings of beauty, not just in church architecture but also music, literature, drama and art. Secular educators and media have succeeded in making us feel guilty if we “waste” our money or time by spending it on buying or creating works that attempt to magnify the Father we love, to show forth His glory to the world in gratitude for all we have received. This manipulative guilt has crippled us, so that there is hardly a church on earth that will spend a penny on supporting their own artist, novelist, screenplay writer, classical musician, or architect, and if they do, I suspect they gut the work of its guts, so to speak, so that a Shakespeare (uses bad words), a Michelangelo (nudity) or a Bach (is that really praise music?) is shamed into submission or flight. So the truth we see in beauty belongs to another age, when a Notre Dame (with the gargolyles) was built, a place where people, when they walk in, gasp in astonishment at what man labored to make, only to glorify His maker!

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4 thoughts on “Where are the Gargoyles of Yesteryear?

  1. Excellent point. Modern Christianity has abandoned (if not run way from) its dominance of great western art. The worst thing about it is that without Christianity, now there just isn’t any (great art).

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    1. Thanks for your comment. The term “art” itself has undergone a post-modern deconstruction. The expectations of what qualifies for art have diminished to non-existence except for a George Orwellian ideological bent, and this we can see in everything from pop culture to the art galleries to the stage.

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  2. That’s so true; I hadn’t thought of it in those terms before: about how the truth of beauty testifies of God and is worthy of our efforts.

    It feels like such a very utilitarian age, artistically speaking. I’m always reading about how a writer should be concise and cut out excess prose, and long gone are the days of glorious architecture like Notre Dame. It seems like art can no longer be accepted unless it has a specific purpose or message and so flights of beauty (like gargoyles) serve no purpose and must be excised, as if glorifying God were not enough. I never thought of that before!

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    1. The Washington National Cathedral, if you can believe it, continues to improve on its carvings/statuary and that neo-Gothic structure is simply beautiful. But it was begun in the early part of this century (with the cooperation of the U. S. Congress!) and I think at some point whatever was being done became self-referential, a monument to a monument, as it were. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could unashamedly worship God (not man) through great, lavish, gloriously unrestrained outpourings of art & architecture once more?! But if we did, it would certainly be without the blessing of the culture at large and, I’m sad to say, the church at large.

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