Book Review: “Beauty and Catechesis” by Rev. Gaven M. Mize

Rev. Gaven Mize’s new book, Beauty and Catechesis, is a wonderful gift to the Church. Published by Grail Quest Books, Beauty and Catechesis brings to the forefront an often overlooked medium for confessing the faith—the visual arts.

With the expertise of a sommelier pairing fine wine with dinner, Mize presents Luther’s entire Small Catechism together with artwork from the masters of their craft, works which are both theologically rich and visually appealing. The author has also written helpful devotional reflections on the text and art which further enrich our meditation on the catechism. Each section concludes with original collects, ensuring that our study is brought to expression in the life of faith and not limited to a mere intellectual exercise.

Following the catechism and Mize’s visual/devotional commentary, Beauty and Catechesis concludes with an artistic setting of Löhe’s Litany followed by a very helpful little section called “Scriptural Meditation Using Beauty and Prayer.” This is similar to the first part of the book, except here the artwork is paired with Biblical texts rather than the catechism. Collects in this section were contributed by Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller, Rev. Steven Anderson, and the author.

Here’s what others have had to say about Beauty and Catechesis:

“A picture is worth a thousand words, and the Word of God is worth more than the world and all that is in it.  In this wonderful little book, Mize combines Luther’s simple and beautiful teaching with a little bit of his own, and illustrates it with the beauty of timeless Christian art.  A feast for eyes and heart, mind and soul, this book is a wonderful devotional bringing us once more to the beauty of our Savior.”

Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Exegetical Theology
Director of M.A. Program

“Beauty and Catechesis is not just “another catechism resource” to sit on the shelf. Pastor Gaven Mize has woven a delightful tapestry richly adding to the prayer life of the church. The blending of classical art, keen theological insights, and elegant prayers, make this a must have for those who love praying the catechism with their family. Young and old alike will find new jewels as the art, catechism, reflections, and prayers, draw one deeper into the Scriptures and the Christ who is found therein.”

Rev. Bart Day
Executive Director
The Office of National Mission

“The Rev. Gaven M. Mize is about to show us what Rembrandt has to do with the First Commandment.

In a throwback to the days when our visual appetites were sated alongside our need to read, “Beauty and Catechesis” comes as a refreshing addition to the bookshelf. And what could be a better pairing than Luther’s Small Catechism and works of art by the masters?

Rembrandt’s “Daniel and Cyrus Before the Idol Bel” compliments Luther’s explanation of the First Commandment and the author’s expounding on the same. Works by Rubens, Ingres, Masaccio, Bosch, El Greco, da Vinci, and a host of others are also featured, spanning stylistic periods, artistic media, and individual notoriety. But “Beauty and Catechesis” isn’t just another pretty book.

Mize deftly weaves the Catechism into devotion into art lesson. Without explaining beauty or beating to death a philosophical definition of the same that is bound to get ugly, he simply shows beauty through fantastic examples of master works and through the greater beauty of Holy Scripture.

For visual learners, this little book will help instill the words of Luther’s Small Catechism, and breathe meaning into both Luther’s explanations and the featured artwork. “Beauty and Catechesis” is not a book to be memorized, but a book to which the reader will want to return and explore.”

Mr.Edward Riojas
Respected LCMS Artist/Art Historian
edriojasartist.com

“Beauty and Catechesis is a book written for Christians of all ages: for the young Christian who is just beginning to learn Luther’s Small Catechism and for any Christian who is continually learning the truth of the Scripture. Pastor Mize has provided a feast for the eyes and for the soul with gorgeous art from many time periods, Christ-centered devotions, and beautiful prayers, and collects. The accounts of the Old Testament are brought to life, focusing the Christian heart on Jesus Christ. Lutheran Church will GREATLY benefit from this book.”

Rev. Peter Ill
Senior Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Millstadt, Illinois

For more information or to purchase Beauty and Catechesis, visit MizeFamilyBooks.com/Books.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.