Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Kind of Seeing - Imagination, Faith and Story

I just finished an article by Brandon O'Brien titled Can You Imagine? that he wrote for ChristianBibleStudies.com. His main thrust is that a major casualty of the modernist worldview that still hangs in our culture is a loss of imagination.  Stories use our imagination to access our hearts in a way that reasoning and logic are not able to.  Here is an excerpt where O'Brien sets up his thoughts:
The reasonableness of our faith has been a major preoccupation for many Christians, especially in America, for the last few generations. Apologists and theologians have worked hard to amass scientific and historical evidence that supports Christian claims to truth. We've developed complex and compelling arguments in defense of the faith. This research is geared to provide intellectual support for Christian belief. And it is important work. Unfortunately, this vigilant war for the truth can have—and has had—collateral damage. Christians dedicated to shoring up the intellect often do not think too highly of the imagination. If we let the imagination run wild, they fear, we risk sacrificing the truth.
But imagination is not the opposite of reality or the enemy of truth. In fact, we do ourselves an enormous disservice when we ignore the imagination (whether intentionally or accidentally) and only develop the intellect. For the intellect is only half the equation. Imagination is the partner of the intellect. One is not more important than the other; they do different things.
The relationship between imagination, story, and theology fascinates me. So much of how we relate to one another is by way of story (think of the last summer BBQ you were at - how many stories were told?).  We don't talk enough about the role a sanctified imagination has in shaping our view of God and our view of each other.

Here is the link to the article on ChristianBibleStudies.  Give the article a read and head back here to discuss:

What is the relationship between faith and imagination? In what way does Christ's stories and explanations of "the Kingdom" use the imagination to access our heart? (such as Matt 13