Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Image," Images and Imagination

I recently subscribed to the journal Images: Art, Faith, Mystery, and my first copy arrived yesterday. I'm reading the article "Unapologetic Visibility," and it has this paragraph:

We cannot afford to jettison the imagination because it is the sensitive spot into which God's image stamps itself. It is a place that needs to be filled, like the blank walls of a Florentine chapel, a space that opens to God by being filled with images--frescoes with likenesses of the body, the means by which one person opens up to another .... The imagination, like the skin, is sensitive, and like the mind it cannot endure a vacuum. Whether you like it or not, billboards and screens are ready to pounce upon the imagination. Its sensibility requires us to cover it actively, even if we do it weakly and diffidently.


I wonder how the imagination has been effected by television and movies. Is the 21st century imagination the same as imaginaton in the 19th century?

How do I actively "cover" my imagination, protect it from the onslaughts of the mundane, the mediocre, the grotesque? Should I protect it at all, or perhaps use it to counter the mundane, etc.?

It is imagination that empowers hope and motivates good theology (and sermons). It's vital in all effective counseling and therapy. It is the mother of human creativity. Yet it is also the ground of fear. It is so basic to religion, to art, to life as a human being.

I love that part of the quote: the imagination is that sensitive spot within us where God's image is stamped. Yes.
Note to self: Don't forget~~Keep imagining. Keep imagining the good, the true, and the beautiful.



5 comments:

mompriest said...

perhaps imagination is a discipline, we have to allow time and space in our being for imagination to occur...I think television, etc.... can work both ways, filling up our time so we leave no room for imagination - or in the right amount, open us up to new experiences that fuel the imagination...? and yes, that quote is great!

Jan said...

Both of you have me pondering imagination and the connection to a discipline of exercising it--making space for God, for imagination, for heart. Thank you.

mcdaniel clan said...

our imaginations allow us to hold onto ideals of faith...our imagination allows us to see the ought to be's of faith...i believe our imaginations help us live our faith in both normal and radical ways...

my imagination gives me hope that christ's future is here though only partly realized...

all that to say, we need to use our imaginations more to see how we can be incarnational and live our faith...

RJ said...

This magazine - and the connections they help me make - are vital. The cultivation and protection of the imagination is a growing spiritual discipline for me. I think you are right that the imagination has changed and shifted over the eras as we encounter new and more vivid media sensations. And, yet, if it rings true and beautiful - or evokes the shadow and the truth of our dark side - it is of the Spirit. Thanks, Katherine, for this great post.

C. said...

I know the power of the imagination, for today I experienced a long-time vision of my imagination realized as I celebrated with my family our Christmas gathering. I had almost lost hope, and then there I was in the midst of my vision taking place in "real life."It was wonderful!

I had not, however, thought of the imagination as the "sensitive spot into which God's image stamps itself." That picture helps me see the HOLINESS of imagination. I'm not sure whether we need "cover" or "protect" our imagination. It seems that to counter is to take the more active approach. Thank you for your words: "Keep imagining the good, the true, the beautiful." Yes! Whatever is true . . . whatever is just . . . whatever is of good . . . think on these things! Just IMAGINE! CW