Imagination for understanding (with special reference to C.S. Lewis)


When Kendall Harmon spoke at Trinity this morning (Nov. 6), he said people need to cultivate imagination. I’ll attempt a paraphrase: Because most of what God knows remains beyond our grasp, he said, biblical language in many places relies upon imagery and pictures that capture our imagination. He seemed to suggest, in a passing comment, that the West is losing its ability to imagine, in both secular and religious quarters. I was heartened because I had posted a few thoughts about imagination earlier in the week.

Sometimes, I feel like Christian leaders either let their imaginations run wild and silly, or they prohibit imagination as a threat to easily chartable doctrine and systematic theology.

After Kendall’s talk, I returned to a book I read earlier this year, C.S. Lewis on Scripture by Michael J. Christensen. In an appendix entitled “Lewis: The Rational Romantic,” Christensen quotes the following excerpt from Lewis’s essay “Bluspels and Flalansferes”:

“I am a rationalist. For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.”

Certainly there are rich ways to cultivate a healthy, productive, meaningful imagination.

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One response to “Imagination for understanding (with special reference to C.S. Lewis)

  1. Pingback: Free podcasts: ‘Narnia & C.S. Lewis: Imagination, Reason, and You’ | Liturgical