Wayne Rooney is beautiful

That title got your attention, didn't it?! My last couple of posts have been about good things getting better but is it also possible for a bad thing to be made worse? To settle any debate on this proposition let us consider Wayne Rooney's latest haircut (left). It's a couple of weeks old now so the shock is wearing off but by shaving his head Rooney seems to have put on another 15 to 20 years, and he was no oil painting in the first place (unless a Bacon or a Freud).

Yet there are moments, currently increasing in their frequency, when Rooney looks beautiful to me. When he controls a long pass with the faintest touch, when he skips into a better shooting position leaving defenders clumsily slipping in his wake, when he hammers a shot with thrilling power, when he celebrates yet another goal with unrestrained, ferocious delight... it just looks wonderful. You forget about his hair and wonder at his feet. There's more to it than that though. Thomas Aquinas said that beauty is that "the apprehension of which pleases", meaning that what we experience as pleasing to us has beauty for us. As a Man United and England fan, and football fan in general, Rooney certainly meets that criteria.

Two things to note. Firstly, Rooney looks so good in those moments because he's doing what he was made to do. More than that, he is both a natural talent and a maturing exponent of his profession. God has gifted each of us and we thrive when using and exploring our gifts. Do you know what your gifts are? Are you learning to develop and enhance them or are you comfortably complacent with how far you've come? There is always more to learn and discover and enjoy.

Secondly this is a call to reject our culture's facile definition of beauty, with its small list of shallow criteria. Aquinas' definition is personal and subjective, which can seem like risky ground for Christians as we want to be in line with God's will. Yet when we consider the breathtaking variety of creation (Psalm 19:1-2) and the unsearchable depths of God's wisdom in the cross (Romans 11:33-36), we see that rather than restricting our view, God wants to expand it. His purpose in showing us this greater vista is to direct us to Himself. As John Piper says, people do not go to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem. Beauty's highest achievement is to please us and magnify God. Or perhaps that should be please us by magnifying God. Keep your eyes open for things and people who will help you appreciate God's greatness more and they will become beautiful to you, as will He who made them.

I don't think I've got to the bottom of this but in the meantime here are some great goals (after about a minute of boring intro)...