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Imagination and Story August 16, 2008

Posted by sensawunda in Other Sites, Quotes, Sensawunda 101, Spirituality.
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Here is an excellent post on the place of imagination in Christian life, our need for Story:

Hayhow’s Review.


Surprised by Wonder April 20, 2008

Posted by sensawunda in Other Sites, Quotes, Spirituality.
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 I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, or watching many movies or TV shows. But I keep finding, in the most surprising places, passages in my non-fiction reading that pertain to sense of wonder.

The title of this post might make you think I’m going to write about C.S. Lewis. Actually, the author in question is John Piper, but I don’t think he’d mind; he likes to quote Lewis.

This quote comes from page 192 of When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper:

The Power of Human Words to Make the World a Cause of Joy

It is not a mistake that so much of the Bible is written in poetry. Nor is it a mistake that there are so many biblical metaphors and similes. The lesson is that God has ordained for language to pierce and portray what colorless language cannot do. The human heart moves irrepressibly toward poetry because it knows intuitively that the natural world is not all there is. The heart may not even believe that the heavens are telling the glory of God. But it knows, deep down, that they are telling something more than meets the physical eye.

Therefore, in our fight for joy it may often be helpful to read penetrating literature and see powerful drama. Not because they can ever rival or replace the Scriptures, but because they are part of the God-revealing creation and its reflection. God did not put us in the world to ignore it, but to use it wisely. From the beginning, human beings have discovered that the reflection of the world in human art wakens us to the world itself and what the world is saying about God. Echoes can waken us to the shout of reality, and poetry can give us eyes to see. If we weren’t afflicted with persistent sleepiness of soul, we might see all the glory there is in nature. But as it is, we need help from creative artists.

You can read John Piper’s book Desiring God, its sequel When I Don’t Desire God, and a number of Piper’s other books online—free!

What fiction is for March 30, 2008

Posted by sensawunda in Quotes, Sensawunda 101.

Here’s a quote from an unexpected source: How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler & Charles Van Doren. [now my secret’s out, LOL!] This book is mostly about reading expository books analytically; by “imaginative literature” they mean anything that isn’t expository.

We owe much to the expository literature—the philosophy, science, mathematics—that has shaped the real world in which we live. But we could not live in this world if we were not able, from time to time, to get away from it. We do not mean that imaginative literature is always, or essentially, escapist. In the ordinary sense of that term, the idea is contemptible. If we must escape from reality, it should be to a deeper, or greater, reality. This is the reality of our inner life, of our own unique vision of the world. To discover this reality makes us happy; the experience is deeply satisfying to some part of ourselves we do not ordinarily touch. In any event, the rules of reading a great work of literary art should have as an end or goal just such a profound experience. The rules should clear away all that stops us from feeling as deeply as we possibly can….

The great majority of books that are read are stories of one kind or another. People who cannot read listen to stories. We even make them up for ourselves. Fiction seems to be a necessity for human beings. Why is this?

One reason why fiction is a human necessity is that it satisfies many unconscious as well as conscious needs. It would be important if it only touched the conscious mind, as expository writing does. But fiction is important, too, because it also touches the unconscious.

[from pages 205-206 and 220 of the 1972 edition]

Hold onto wonder December 13, 2007

Posted by sensawunda in Quotes.
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The Sensawunda quote of the week comes from Rachel Carson.

If I had influence with the Good Fairy, I would ask that her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.