Book Review 7: Word Pictures by Brian Godawa

“Those who capture the culture not only tell their own stories but reinterpret the stories of their opponents through their own worldview. This is not necessarily dishonest; we all interpret and reinterpret history through our worldviews. Christians should tell their own stories of martyrs or missionaries, but we should not neglect to retell the stories of atheists or humanists like Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud and others through our worldview. Subversion
is the nature of storytelling, and storytelling is how anyone wins a culture.”
(Word Pictures by Brian Godawa)

I wanted to start this review using quote from a chapter in Brian Godawa’s
wonderful, eye-opening book, Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story and Imagination.

Godawa makes a strong argument that the Bible uses both Word and Image
throughout and that the church has been too-focused on word or literal
interpretation of the bible. Instead of the imagery that God uses throughout to
show his redemption plan for humanity.

I have read a few books in the past year dealing with the importance of the Arts
and Christianity. Those books are The Art and the Bible by Francis Schaeffer,
Imagine by Steve Turner, and Creating Culture by Andy Crouch.

Word Pictures goes more in depth about the importance God places on imagery,
imagination, and creativity (than the other ones)…but not as something to have
an idolatrous relationship (like the Church has preached against for
years) more that He appreciates and respects that element just as much as he
does with rational or literal thought and analysis.

“Now Bezalel & Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill
and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the
sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.

Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful person in whom the Lord
had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him, to come to the work to perform
it.
(Exodus 36:1-2 NASB)

Some of the first people that God fills with his spirit were artists. That
tells me God appreciates and approves of art (both word and image).

There are very few books I would recommended to all creative people (also all
Christians) read and Word Pictures is one of them. Even you don’t agree with
his argument, Brian Godawa does an excellent job of making points with
clarity and backed by scripture.

And for me, it has opened my eyes and strengthen my faith a little bit of more
about being a writer who enjoys imaginative literature and will continue to do so
because God appreciates it as well.

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