"In making incarnate our human experience of mystery, wonder, and awe, the arts help us encounter the sacred or holy," note John Dykstra Eusden, a college professor of religion and environmental studies, and John H. Westerhoff, a divinity school professor of practical theology. In this scholarly work, they seek to smooth the path for a rapprochement between the visual arts and the church.
Although Catholics have tried to discern evidence of God's creativity in the natural world and Eastern Orthodoxy has emphasized beauty in worship, Protestants have historically shown little interest in the arts. Eusden and Westerhoff challenge churches to move beyond the view of the arts as irreligious or as mere vehicles to teach morals. They revel in the beauty of the Chartres Cathedral and the Zen garden Ryoan-ji. Both call us to a doxological response and a sense of reverence in the face of such intricate detail.
In the closing chapter, Eusden and Westerhoff admonish Christian communities to pay more attention to the visual and aesthetic elements of worship and to celebrate "a choreography of the familiar" as evidence of God's grace in all things.