I am bothered by the “pretty” aesthetic. It seems to hide the jagged edges of things. This aesthetic says that lots of things are disposable, that new things must be bought because old ones don’t match. It says that clean and minimal is good, and used and colourful is not.
I get worried about “pretty.”
I see “pretty” at my church sometimes, when the worship leaders all are displayed before us in finery and the walls are pristinely white and there are cool graphics on the screen and the video testimony rolls. But then I remember that the church often has looked quite deeply beautiful, and that attention to cleanliness, order and “pretty” can be very fitting for worship.
So why do I try to fight the “pretty” thing? Because I don’t know if it is inclusive. I don’t know if it prevents us from letting our selves spill out a bit. In terms of the church gathered, I don’t know if it makes people spend more time choosing the perfect jean shirt, or making sure they are wearing nice shoes in the morning. I don’t know if it makes us reserved and careful and ignorant.
I guess that “church” occupies a strange place in the modern social imagination. We gather with others in worship … but I don’t think we’re often reminded of the jagged edges of things … I suppose that this happens when we invite people in to our homes and lives for example; this is where the jagged edges are supposed to come out. The church gathered becomes a bit more minor after that, maybe.
I want the jagged edges.