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Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts Paperback – May 18, 2001
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"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)
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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.Read more ›
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.
Before I tear into this book, I should say that Turner does get a lot of things right. For example, he gives the Catholic Church the proper credit for having always viewed art as a way of approaching the sacred, while Protestantism--particularly the evangelical brand of modern times--often views art as fundamentally worldly and approaching idolatry.
He also correctly identifies the importance of art in all its forms as a means of communicating ideas to large groups of people. And, he recognizes how vital it is for Christians to engage in the arts in order to influence society. I almost said "evangelize" there, but in truth, that's where Turner's argument begins to fall flat. He seems to understand that Christian moral influence on society is a good thing, but worries that actual evangelization via the arts should only be done sotto voce--if at all.
Turner dismisses contemporary Christian rock and instead holds up the band U2 as an exemplar of how Christians should influence the arts. While it is undeniable that U2 has had a major impact on the music scene over the years, they seem to do the opposite of what Turner calls for in this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was a real eye-opener for me as I am not involved in the arts. It helped to open up a whole new world of possibilities within the scope of Christendom. Read morePublished 16 days ago by W. Wisener
This is my favorite book on the arts overall. Steve Turner is a music journalist, which means that (1) his examples tend to come more from the world of music and (2) he is an... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Mark Beuving
This was a textbook in one of my theater classes in college and I use it now in my own class. I reread it almost every year. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amanda Nail
great book for people and students in the arts...very inspirationalPublished 15 months ago by david kostreva
It has the answers to alot of the questions I asked as a believer an artist :)Published 16 months ago by mike
This excellent book was recommended in a discussion group on Christian music I'm in. This book is written by someone who clearly loves the Lord and who is an artist. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jeffrey C. Reynolds
A wonderful, eye opening writing by a person who is an artist in the entertainment field. Helpful for my direction even
though I am in a different form of art. Read more