Sydney Avey

Dynamic Women — Changing Times

Use Your Imagination, Part 1

May 29, 2018 | Word study, Writing life | 1 comment

Use your imagination

When you use your imagination, you entertain thoughts free from the confines of reality.

Use your imagination, our parents would tell us kids when we struggled to understand something or solve a problem. Funny, we never had to ask them how to use our imaginations. We instinctively knew how to go there.

Imagination is a mental process of entertaining thoughts free from the confines of reality and forming images we see in our mind’s eye. We use our imagination to visualize the unreal. We develop creativity to make our imaginings real in our work.

As we age, pressure mounts to suppress imagination. Giving our minds permission to play without purposeful intent is sometimes viewed with suspicion, and often judged a waste of time. On the other hand, the world is desperate need of mutual understanding and creative problem-solving. Perhaps we need to follow parental advice and use our imaginations.

The Power of Words

Last week, two presentations that spoke of the transformative power of words renewed my hope for more imaginative approaches to life’s great puzzles. One was the launch of The Great American Read on PBS. The other was an inspirational talk to my Bay Area ACFW group delivered by bookseller Byron Borger. Byron and his wife Beth own Hearts and Minds Bookstore in Pennsylvania.

Byron spoke passionately about why words, stories, and writing matter. He talked about how books give voice to the things people feel, how emotional development requires a robust set of words, and how good literature heals the world. He shares his thoughts and a recommended reading list on his website.

It’s no surprise that these are faith-based books. Faith, after all, requires imagination. Faith opens our hearts to a reality different from the physical or material. I’ve reproduced Borger’s list in three parts with shorter descriptions so you can scan quickly. Please visit his website and support this 35-year-old indie bookstore by purchasing one of these wonderful books.

Book List Part 1 

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling Your Life’s Greatest Purpose (Word; $17.99), Os Guinness— reminds folks that their work or avocations are as important to the Kingdom of God as is the work of ministers or missionaries.

Your Mind’s Mission (IVP) $7.00, Greg Jao and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling Andy Crouch (IVP) $22.00—about the Christian mind and meaningful engagement in the human task of culture-making, and of stewarding the gifts God has given us for the common good.

Rainbows for the Fallen World Calvin Seerveld (Toronto Tuppence Press) $30.00—about the aesthetic dimension to all of life.

A Redemptive Theology of Art: Restoring Godly Aesthetics to Doctrine and Culture David A. Covington (Zondervan) $24.99—a look at how aesthetics can influence our understanding of doctrine as well as our engagement with the culture and the creative process.

It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard (Square Halo Books) $24.99

It Was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard (Square Halo Books) $24.99

It Was Good: Performing Arts to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard (Square Halo Books) $19.99

Each includes essays by dozens of thoughtful theorists and artists, practitioners and patrons, writers and thinkers, makers and performers. 

Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity Michael Card (IVP), $17.00—mature reflections and a balanced call to embrace some degree of creativity in our daily lives. 

Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts Steve Turner (IVP) $16.00—a go-to book that is basic, interesting, engaging for anyone who enjoys the popular arts.

Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts Jerram Barrs (Crossway) $18.99—“clears away the clutter of much-touted arguments and sets forth a clear framework for any Christian thinking Biblically about the arts.”

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art Madeline L’Engle (Convergence) $15.00— a must-read for any serious writer.

Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit: Reflections on Creativity and Faith Luci Shaw (Thomas Nelson) $15.99— reflections on the meaning of symbolism and metaphor and how good art can help humans flourish and even experience God.

Have you read other books on the subject of imagination or creativity? Please share the titles in the comments section.

1 Comment

  1. Marie Sontag

    Thanks for the list Sydney, and your comments on imagination. As usual, great job. Byron’s talk was very inspiring.


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