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It may come as a surprise that a recently published book on the Christian imagination takes Ezekiel as the major biblical conversation partner. The book, Imagination Redeemed: Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind was recently published by Crossway and is being offered to Christ and Pop Culture members as one of our regularly updated Member Offerings. In it, authors Gene Veith and Matthew Ristuccia offer what effectively serves as a counterpart to John Piper’s Think and Matthew Elliott’s Feel that could easily be called Imagine. Veith writes as a literature professor, opening each chapter with insights on the imagination that draw from the arts, literature, philosophy, and psychology. Ristuccia writes as a pastor who shows how it all plays out in the Word of God, specifically through the writings of Ezekiel.
Each chapter opens with Veith’s contribution, followed up with Ristuccia’s, before ending with a tag-team effort on practical conclusions on that particular aspect of the imagination. The resulting chapters are, as Veith explains,
organized around the mental exercise that gave us a classic form of Bible meditation and a great deal of Christian literature: the engagement of the imagination, the understanding, and the will— though not in that order. I have written the so-called analysis, addressing the understanding. Matt has written the composition, addressing the imagination through interaction with the Word of God. Each chapter ends with a colloquy, addressing the will so as to motivate you to carry out these truths in your own life, and, as with all classic meditations, with prayer (12).
The chapters themselves cover a general overview of the imagination (chapter 1), the connections between the imagination and God (chapter 2), evil (chapter 3), the future (chapter 4), and the community (chapter 5). This last chapter makes an excellent case for the development of the imagination within a community, something we at Christ and Pop Culture would heartily agree with. Following this last chapter is a conclusion that makes connections with the imagination and apologetics. In doing so, the authors draw heavily from C. S. Lewis, arguing that we need more apologists like Lewis who “can reach both the intellect and the imagination of people today” (151).
This as well would be a welcome development within evangelical Christianity and hopefully we at Christ and Pop Culture are doing what we can to contribute. We highly recommend you read this excellent little book on the imagination that is biblically grounded and aesthetically informed.
Members can access this book (and other great offerings), for free, here.
Gene Edward Veith Jr. and Matthew P. Ristuccia, Imagination Redeemed: Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 176 pp. Paperback, $16.99.
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