69: We Are Hardwired for Beauty—Christopher West
Christopher West has devoted his adult life to communicating the beauty of the Catholic Faith, particularly through the insights of what’s known everywhere as the Theology of the Body.
First in archdiocesan religious education, then with the Theology of the Body Institute, and now with The Cor Project, West has been out in front, pointing out the Source of Beauty, making connections between superficially disperate dots, and, of course, being the world’s most famous expositor of the thought of St. John Paul the Great’s Theology of the Body.
His life work of explaining and interpreting the five years’ worth of the great Pope’s General Audiences (1979-1984) has launched a whole cottage industry of books, DVDs, and seminars.
I have interviewed Christopher West more than once, but this conversation with him is my favorite. We talked films that fairly vibrate with low-density gospel ideas, pop music lyrics that point Upward, the sad misalignment that leads to giving into the siren song of porn (he calls it “aiming too low”), and why he thinks the Sexual Revolution is on its last lap.
You’ll find this conversation bracing, and maybe challenging, if I had to guess. West pulls insights whole cloth from unexpected places. I’m grateful for his endorsement of the upcoming revised and expanded edition of my first book, Sex Au Naturel. (More about that exciting development down the road.)
In this interview, you will learn:
- The factors that led to the Sexual Revolution and why it is collapsing under its own weight
- Examples of pop music, from Bono to Bruce Springsteen, that reflect a deep yearning for the mystery, ultimately, of the divine
- How the insights of the Theology of the Body are not merely abstract ideas but concrete ways of personal transformation
- The hidden providential timing of the founding of Playboy magazine by Hugh Hefner, and the radical approach to sex promulgated by a young Polish priest around the same time named Father Karol Wojtyla (later John Paul II).
- The phenomenon of what West calls “twisted mystics,” otherwise secular artists who tap into universal longings and point in some dim but real way to the reality of the incarnation.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Theology of the Body For Beginners: Rediscovering the Meaning of Life, Love, Sex, and Gender by Christopher West
- Love Is Patient But I Am Not: Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist by Christopher West
- Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing by Christopher West
- The Cor Project website
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