Living Good, True, Beautiful Lives

Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?

I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.

–1 Cor 15: 29-34

So, how then should we live?

In the whole of 1 Corinthians 15, we see Paul logically draw out the spiritual implications of beliefs. He demonstrates the necessity of the resurrection to Christian theology and our hope in the world to come.

Yet he also briefly touches on the implications of how we as Christians should live: purposefully. We are not to live day by day, nor keep bad company, nor sin. We are to spread the Gospel.

Unlike spiritual movements of the past, it is our firm belief that this type of purposeful living does not eschew living well, taking pleasure in creation, or living in close community with one another. Rather, we believe that it is consistent, even logically necessary, that the Christian life embodies the good, the true, and the beautiful.

Taken all together, we call this ‘living well.’ When in proper relation to one another, holding each of these three things close encourages the other two and enables us to better and more eagerly fulfill our purpose as witnesses to Christ.

The Good is, first and foremost, derived from what we know of God, and what He has declared to be good. “You [God] are good, and do good.” declares the Psalmist. “Teach me your ways.” The most easily recognizable way this takes shape is through morals, which for a Christian includes praising God.

To live in the order of the Good, then, is to live in accordance with the scriptures, to proclaim the faith and to follow it. We are then concerned with the intellectual and practical pursuit of morality.

God also calls creation good; all of creation without humans He considered good. When He created man, creation was very good. From this insight, we embrace the exploration of and pleasure in creation. Traveling, tasting, playing, and generally experiencing creation are ways of reveling in God’s goodness. (So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. –1 Cor 10:31).

As Christians, we enjoy God’s creation and encourage others in that enjoyment, both in the natural creation and in the creativity that flows from the minds we have been given. This is why we revel in good food and drink, excellent music, and engaging stories.

The encouragement of others is, we believe, an integral part of living well. For following God’s declaration of the good of creation, He declares that for man to be alone is not good. Marriage and family is one way in which man is not alone, but the fellowship of believers is also an important part of the Christian life.

The community of believers holds us to the good, keeping us accountable when we stray from the good as well as encouraging and inspiring us in the good. We may be inspired to fight for the good by the words and actions of others, or we might be inspired to pursue an aspect of creation of which we had not previously been aware. These concepts, of fighting and enjoying, are not antithetical, but rather  follow one another, for one does not fight to protect what is not valuable, and something that is never used or appreciated has little value.

The Good also has its more purely philosophical roots. It is “what gives truth to the things known and the power to know to the knower,” the “cause of knowledge and truth” (Plato’s Republic). We therefore pursue truth, metaphysically and as manifest in this world. This includes both the beautiful sorts of truth, like God’s love for us, and the harder truths that we are confronted with while living in a fallen world.

We would not have it be said that we live in a fantasy, or are incapable of dealing with the ugly facts of life. Yet, we do not glory in the harshness of reality or succumb to those sorts of truths; we face them, head on, that the way we live might be without blame or dismissal before men. Sometimes the truth means dwelling on our hope of the world to come, but more often it means challenging assumptions, acknowledging evil, and recognizing our own weakness. We aim to do those things well.

Beauty reflects both the True and the Good. Living in this world is not a battle without reprieve or joy, and we attempt to find the beauty where we can. As the Apostle Paul say: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).”

Those things are found in histories, songs, humor, dance, and pictures, in the play of emotions and curve of a hand, the grace of a warrior and the eloquence of a speech. Beauty is found in the birth of a child, and the most brutal sort of death on a cross.

This is why there is such a broad range of topics under our purview, for it is not a topic that unites this site, but the cohesive way we approach all topics. Indeed, there is nothing outside our purview, whether sports, popular culture, philosophy, or fiction.

In acknowledging the Good we discuss moral oughts; in pursuit of the True we seek to lay bare both the commendable and the wicked. In appreciating beauty we share compositions and discoveries. We live in a passing world, but yet have duties and enjoyments here. Knowing that at times we will fail and trying nevertheless, this is how we endeavor to live.

Author: Virginia Phillips

Virginia Phillips has a M.A. in Religious Studies and an enduring interest in history and politics. In her spare time she writes opinion pieces on current events and theology. She enjoys speculative fiction, martial arts, dancing, and both consuming and preparing food and beverage pairings.

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