Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Imagination and Culture

Kevin Vanhoozer, editor of Everyday Theology: how to read cultural texts and interpret trends (Baker Academic, 2007) and professor of theology at Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois talks in an (abridged) interview on Leadership Journal.net about the need for preachers to preach with the culture in mind, exegeting it as well as exegeting the Scripture texts. Some preachers do this as a matter of course; some get more tied up in 'topics' than in text, but there is a need to get a good balance.

One of the more important things Vanhoozer says is this:

Imagination is the ability to grasp things together in a meaningful pattern. Imagination is at work when a scientist develops a hypothesis that enables her to see how something causes something else. We all do that. We all look at the world with a framework of belief and interpretation, and that happens on the level of the imagination. The question is, are we doing it with biblical categories or are we just following cultural templates?

Preachers should not only be trying to take every thought captive to God's Word, but also every imagination. The imagination is the core out of which we live. The problem with culture is how it captures our imaginations through indirect communication. We can spot direct anti-Christian communication; that's easy. It's the indirect propaganda that's harder to spot.

(My emphasis in the above quotation.) The full version of th interview and Preaching Today's review of Kevin Vanhoozer's book, Everyday Theology, is available at www.preachingtoday.com
(However, you have to subscribe to this to read it.)

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