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Word Pictures

The Swell Season – Star Star

A little while back, I read Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story and Imagination by Brian Godawa.  Don’t let the cover or the title fool you.  On first impressions, one might be led to believe that it is artsy-heavy and theology-lite.  The author’s involvement in the movie industry might also (mis)lead one to believe that as well.

It ain’t.  He is up on his theology and does a masterful job synthesizing a wealth of biblical, cultural, and historical information.  Of course, as with any book there are shortcomings, and I would welcome the opportunity (as unlikely as it seems) to clarify some points with him.  Nonetheless, his main point is taken well enough.  The modern church has relied too heavily on propositional truth as enshrined in systematic theologies and the like, and not enough on story, narrative, imagery, and icon.

While you can head HERE to read the first chapter, this quote should give the flavor of the book…

“The net effect of this virtual ignoring of the theological value of art is the implicit devaluing of it.  As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and a systematic theology without a developed aesthetic is an implicit sign of an underlying belief that beauty is not an essential part of theology.”

So again, while there are times when he overstates his case and fails to take certain factors into account, I am in general agreement that we stand to lose much when the arts (in their manifold expression) are ignored.  This book is for anyone who loves the arts, the Word, and fairly weighty theology.

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