23 September 2006

A Failure in Imagination?

Filed under: Ktismata — ktismatics @ 8:40 am

Jonathan Erdman and I were participating in a discussion on Jesus Creed about twentieth century theologian Hans Frei. Things were going along nicely when all of a sudden the entire post disappeared. In looking into Frei’s theology I came across this quote from him:

“It is doubtless true that Christianity cannot exist as a strong force without providing food for the imaginative life – sensual, verbal, or some other form – as the cement of the real world with religious affirmation. The present decline of Protestant Christianity in particular is due in part to a failure in imagination.

Where in particular does a failure in imagination contribute to the church’s inability to “cement the world with religious affirmation”? Where does a reclaiming of imagination contribute to the church’s revival?



  1. I just looked once again (for like the sixth time) on Scot’s blog for that post and it ain’t there. The funny thing is that he insists that it is! Question: Which of us is of the truth in this scenario? Is it there and I can’t see it? Or is it not there and Scot can see it??!!

    ….and how was Neo able to use his powers in the real world when he wasn’t hooked into the Matrix??????/


    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 September 2006 @ 5:00 pm

  2. Good thought on imagination.

    If God created us to love him with heart/mind/soul, then it would seem as though we have a responsibility to love God through the expression of our imagination.

    And would you say that the expression of our imaginations usually involves creative acts???


    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 September 2006 @ 5:09 pm

  3. One more thing…

    Qohelet was one who stretched his imagination. Granted his imagination went in some very strange ways resulting in dividing scholars and believers for a few thousand years. But his imaginative scheme was captured as part of the inspired canon.


    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 September 2006 @ 5:14 pm

  4. (1a) If only you’d looked that 8th time it would have come back. “Scroll down, friend” — my new motto.

    (1b) Woah! I guess he really was some kind of messiah. Believe it or not, I will post something that references Matrix soon.

    Back after dinner…


    Comment by ktismatics — 28 September 2006 @ 7:26 pm

  5. (2) I think that to imagine something is to create the idea of that thing. The realm of ideas is just as “real” as the physical and social realms. Not in some kind of Platonic way, as if the idea is the ideal form of what gets implemented materially. Some ideas can never be implemented; some are best implemented in fiction, art, etc.

    Now back to (1): “Is it not there and Scot can see it?” — man, that’s a troubling scenario. Perhaps there’s a short story here somewhere…


    Comment by ktismatics — 28 September 2006 @ 8:10 pm

  6. (3) So I’m going to have to read Ecclesiastes now, am I? I’ll go back to your post for further orientation.

    Now back to (1) again. In case I never get around to writing my Matrix-related post, here’s a geek test question for you: At the beginning of Matrix 1 Neo sells some contraband software. He stores it in a hollowed-out book on his shelf. For 200 points, what is the title of that book?


    Comment by ktismatics — 28 September 2006 @ 8:13 pm

  7. Dude, I think I know this one!

    Wasn’t it something by Lyotard???


    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 29 September 2006 @ 4:29 pm

  8. Question for ya’:
    Could you expand on how your “ideas” are different from Platonic thought???


    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 29 September 2006 @ 4:37 pm

  9. Nope, sorry, not Lyotard… but close.

    Believe me, I’m no Plato expert — but am I going to let that stop me? For Plato, ideas live in the realm of pure eternal form. I don’t really know how the Platonic mechanism operates when you think an idea: does the idea make a copy of itself in your mind, or does your mind somehow reach out of itself to apprehend the idea that’s out there in ideality somewhere. Do you know this?

    Anyhow, I’m not sure you can create an idea in Platoland, because all ideas exist eternally. You can create a material representation of an idea, but that representation will always be just an imperfect replica. Aristotle kind of reverses the process: you can become aware of the pure idea only by seeing it represented in matter. But the general scheme is the same as Plato’s: perfect eternal idea is represented imperfectly in material form.

    For me, the material world and the mind are just two different playing fields. You can create material things, you can create ideas. Material creations don’t necessarily embody some perfect idea; ideational creations don’t necessarily translate into some material representation. Some stuff is just stuff; some ideas are just ideas. Both are legitimate realms for creative endeavor. There are other realms for creating as well: talking, writing, painting, designing, etc. Each is legitimate in its own right. Even accounting can be a creator’s playground: witness the Enron smart guys.


    Comment by ktismatics — 29 September 2006 @ 10:00 pm

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