The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther once remarked that God in Jesus Christ gets so close to the muck and mire of our lives that “his skin smokes.” That is, the incarnation is more than the cute baby Jesus in his golden fleece diapers; it’s like the steaming pile of…you get the picture…that our life so often feels. Is that in any way beautiful?
Luther, more than any other theologian, focuses on the centrality of the crucified Christ for you? Is the naked and shamed Jesus nailed to a tree in any intelligible way beautiful?
In this episode, I talk with Dr. Mark Mattes about his new book, Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty. He reflects on how Luther’s reconceptualizing beauty can inform us in how we think about what constitutes a beautiful life, how we parent and love. Along the way, he pushes back on frequent podcast guest David Bentley Hart and also helps this United Methodist think through how to square Wesley’s notion of sanctification and perfection with Luther’s insistence that we always remain sinners who nonetheless already possess Christ’s perfect righteousness.
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