Monday, August 13, 2007

Imagination Matters

Historically the Christian church has embraced the imagination. They've appreciated Christian art and Christian expressionism through imaginative works. Bunyan wrote Pilgrim's Progress, William Cowper wrote beautiful and imaginative poetry, and the Bible itself is replete with examples of usages of art in worship, in creation, and it is itself a work of literature.

There was a period in American Evangelicalism, dominated by Fundamentalism, that rejected any and all forms of imagination. Imagination was particularly dangerous and considered to be an expression of the world. But in the 21st century that has been almost completely turned over as more and more Christians embrace art like Harry Potter, The Simpsons, and general pop-culture. It is my desire here in a series of posts to explore more broadly Christianity and the Imagination. In my first three posts I am exploring why Imagination matters. My first, upcoming, post will be dealing with Imagination as "Escapism." But to start with let me simply say that Imagination matters and in the upcoming posts defend that assertion. For the time being let me give you my outline for this course of study:

I. Imagination Matters:
(1) Escapism
(2) Reflection
(3) Truth

II. Imagination's Decline:
(1) Pop-Culture
(2) Realism
(3) Christian Fundamentalism

III. Recovering Imagination:
(1) Read Fantasy
(2) Watch Your Children
(3) Play

IV. Recommending the Imaginative:
(1) J.R.R. Tolkien
(2) C.S. Lewis
(3) Stan Lee
(4) Classic English Fantasy
(5) Ratatouille
(6) Francis Schaeffer
(7) Harry Potter

V. Reflecting on the Imaginative:
(1) Five Fallacies
(2) Analyzing the Content

Check back soon for the start of this series

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Anonymous Riley said...

I am looking forward to your discussion on art. Is there some art though that should be avoided? I mean, the Simpsons...really? Should Christians be embracing the Simpsons for the artistic value? Should Christians be embracing the Simpsons for any reason?

7:14 PM  

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