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Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts Paperback – May 18, 2001
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"I have long been a fan of Steve Turner's poetry and journalism--he has a way of illuminating the intersection of the sacred and the secular in our lives. Now, in Imagine, he lets us glimpse behind the curtain and see the philosophy that undergirds his work. Highly readable, insightful and provocative, Imagine draws on historical and contemporary examples and biblical insights to offer a refreshing and balanced perspective on how faith can inform our creativity. Turner challenges us to move beyond our ghetto mentality and engage our culture with art that is creative, authentic and relevant. His book should be required reading for every Christian interested in the arts." (Terry Glaspey, author of Booklover's Guide to Great Reading and Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C. S. Lewis)
"Turner, in this well-rounded and thoroughly biblical book, issues a compelling invitation to everyone in the creative community to move redemptively as salt and light into the world of the arts precisely for Christ's sake." (Michael Card, recording artist and author of A Violent Grace)
"This affirming book says all the things I'd like my friends to understand about me as an artist. At the same time it challenged me to be more actively engaged with our culture through artmaking infused with the gospel." (Timothy R. Botts)
"Drawing on years of experience, a first-rate poet sketches a Christian vision for the arts and artists in our time. With disarming directness he calls Christians out of their ecclesiastical ghettos to live that vision out. Readable, entertaining and bold." (Dr. Jeremy Begbie, Ridley Hall, Cambridge and University of St. Andrews)
"There are those who would ask, 'What has New York to do with Jerusalem? or the arts with religion?' Steve Turner answers that question as he calls the believing aesthete and the Christian church to come to the table, sit down and talk. In this informed and rare treatment, Turner challenges the Christian community to encourage the artist's voice to be heard and then challenges believing artists to allow their art to be influenced and enhanced by sound theology." (Jim Thomas, musician and author)
"Imagine: A Vision For Christianity & the Arts is a wake-up call to the Christian community to fulfill the cultural mandate and to develop a theology of creativity that both embraces our humanness and engages the world with 'muscular' Christianity. Author Steve Turner addresses the church and its involvement in the arts with a prophetic challenge--an appeal to be salt and light in our world instead of withdrawing into mere Christian subculture or pietistic retreat. But he is eminently balanced in his challenge to those of us who have accepted a call to be 'in the world' of arts/entertainment but not of it. He helps us break out of the compartmentalization and secular-sacred dichotomy that so often paralyzes the Christian artist and community from real impact on our world. As a screenwriter in Hollywood, my heart was exhorted with his warning of those who have gradually shipwrecked their faith through incremental assimilation of the very world they are trying to reach. With a strong and decisive commitment to Christ, Scripture and truth, he helps draw guidelines for avoiding the ignorance of all extremes when approaching the arts. If you are a Christian who consumes culture without discrimination, then you need to read this book. If you are a Christian who considers arts and entertainment to be worldly or a waste of time, then you need to read this book. And even if you are a Christian who thinks you want to serve the Lord by being a light in the darkness of any creative industry today, you need to read this book." (Brian Godawa, screenwriter, To End All Wars)
About the Author
Turner is a writer and poet living in London, England, where he regularly contributes to newspapers such as The Mail on Sunday and The Times. His many books include Conversations with Eric Clapton, U2: Rattle and Hum, Van Morrison: Too Late to Stop Now and A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song.
Top Customer Reviews
1. It is uncompromising, both in its descriptions of the artist's mind, dreams, and motivations, and also in its exacting analysis of what it means to be a Christian. Turner pulls no punches in describing the incredible dichotomy between the gift of new life we have been given as a result of faith in the death and resurrrection of Christ as atonement for our sins, and the very emotions, dreams, insecurities, and passions that drive the artist in his or her creative endeavors. It is true, at least in my experience (and as Rory Noland has written in his very good book, "The Heart of the Artist"), that Christians in the arts are often more prone to temptation since they allow their feelings and passions to not only enter in to their work, but to drive it.
2. It puts out a call for artists to not only do art in the church to glorify God, but especially to do art OUT in the world to carry His message of salvation to those who do not yet know Him. How often do we hear the statement that the "real" work of the Christian is religious in nature, or takes place in and around the church? But, as Turner writes, "Jesus is Lord" over the WHOLE of our lives, even and especially those parts that are very 'unreligious' in nature. We are called to live for Christ minute by minute.
3. It is also honest in its assessment that the church often does not know what to do with the artists in our midst, let alone present an atmosphere in which they can flourish in their gifts and talents. It is my sincere hope that books like this one and the aforementioned Noland book can serve as a wake up call, letting the modern day church know that there is a powerful group of servants here, and that we need to both minister to them and more importantly allow them to minister to us and to God with their creative talents.
4. Rather than a simplistic "Christian vs. secular" explanation of art in the world, Turner submits a very well-conceived philosophy of five concentric circles of varying degrees of the mix of faith and art. I found this very helpful both in better understanding the art I see in and out of churches around me, and developing my own philosophy of art and faith.
I am the Worship Arts Pastor for a medium-large (approx. 2000 members) Bible church near Dallas, Texas. This book makes statement after statement that my own heart (after nearly 5 years of leading artists, and creating worship services at our church) really resonated with. I found myself underlining sentence after sentence, and often entire paragraphs or pages! This stuff is really that profound.
I hope and pray that the book will help both church staffers and artists find their way to utlizing ALL that they are in the pursuit of God through their gifts. May the church once again become the incredible storehouse and "town square" for the arts that it has been in centuries past; and may more and more Christian artists embrace their gifts and calling, rather than feeling confused and dazed at the apparent lack of understanding by the world in general and the church in particular as to just what makes the artist tick.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It has already had a large impact on my thinking, and helped to clarify issues that have been clouded and murky for so long.
Especially helpful is Turner's theory of five concentric circles. The cicles represent diferent levels of direct religiosity in the work with the outer showing no specific workview and the inner being focused on the cross. But, Turner goes further and asks if it is actually possible to produce the type of powerful art he is advocating and then he backs up his arguement with examples.
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though I am in a different form of art.Read more