God isn't "practical" about our world, skimping on things that don't pay. He's got mountains and deserts that seem to be a poor idea when he could have made the whole earth flat and fertile like Iowa. He's put sparrows and peacocks into the picture when he might have limited fowl to plump fryer chickens. They're very practical.
However, God knows what we really need. He gives us beauty because “man” does not live by bread alone. Our deepest selves suffer and dry up some when we are purely practical and balk at investing time or money in things of beauty. For this reason I believe it's a mistake to quit building beautiful churches.
There's enough money to construct lovely edifices and have dynamic social action programs too. It's not an "either / or" situation. I believe also in "wasting" money occasionally on something beautiful, of lasting value, for one's children or wife, and oneself too.
God loves beautiful, colorful, intricate, strange, complex, apparently "useless" things. It seems very right that we do, too. Apparently, God intends to feed our souls to make us fuller, richer, happier through things of beauty. We're very short-sighted when we think we know what's practical. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
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