The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing by Leland Ryken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. Not every essay was great, but a lot of them were. The best part was the variety. There were long articles, short articles and lists of quotes. There were older writers and newer ones. There were articles on reading, writing, poetry, movies, fantasy, realism and why reading is such fun. There were various types of Protestants, as well as Roman Catholics. Some of the authors included were Francis Schaeffer, George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Wendell Berry, Gene Veith, Leland Ryken, G.K. Chesterton and Madeleine L’Engle. In short, the book was a feast of a wonderful variety of essays by a variety of people on a variety of topics.
The articles I found most helpful were the ones on evil in Christian writing. There were two in particular that were helpful in sorting out this thorny issue. Susan Wise Bauer wrote an essay called “Three Faces of Moral Evil: Christian Writers and the Portrayal of Moral Evil.” She compares three different views of evil using Stephen King as foil for one type. Also,a professor from Doane College, Richard Terrell, wrote an essay entitled “Christian Fiction: Piety Is Not Enough.” Both of these laid some groundwork for how to include sin and evil in Christian writing. Brian Godawa’s essay on the movies also addressed this issue.
I also really enjoyed Frederick Buechne’sr essay “The Gospel as Fairy Tale” and Peter Leithart’s essay on the reader humbling himself before writer.
A good book to help fire the imagination and to get the Christian to think through how to use the imagination in a way the glorifies God.