Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reflecting on the Imaginative: Five Questiosn to Ask

As I conclude this series now, finally, I want to offer these final five questions that you can ask of any imaginative piece that you come across. These questions will help you formulate the worldview of the artistic piece or its creator.

(1) What does this work say about humanity? --> Is humanity, in this song or painting etc., presented in the image of God? As having dignity and worth? Or as an animal, or a beast? Is humanity seen as perfectly good or as inherently sinful? What does the work say about humanity?

(2) What does this work say about God? --> Is God present or not present in this work of art? Is there any hint of his existence or role in the world? Is God dead or just ignored? Is he to blame for the evil in the painting, or is he the source of goodness in the poem?

(3) What is our experience of the work? --> How does this song make you feel? What does that story make you think of? How did you connect with the characters in the film? If the artist is good he will have tried to manipulate your responses to get what he most desires, this will tell you something about the point of the art and its worldview.

(4) What does the work value? --> What is emphasized, praised, highlighted, and condemned in the work? Each piece will express some sort of value, uncovering it will be a key to unlocking the overall worldview.

(5) Does the piece achieve its goal? --> This is not merely an assessment of its effectiveness. It is important to know the author's intent, but if the goal is not achieved we must deal with the accidental influences that it creates. Be aware of these and it will help you to assess the piece theologically.

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