Readings at the Intersection of Culture and Faith Unlikely Theologians and the Coleridgean Imagination

By Wallace, Catherine M. | Anglican Theological Review, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

Readings at the Intersection of Culture and Faith Unlikely Theologians and the Coleridgean Imagination


Wallace, Catherine M., Anglican Theological Review


Readings at the Intersection of Culture and Faith Unlikely Theologians and the Coleridgean Imagination

Books Discussed

The Future of the Universe: Chance, Chaos, God? By Arnold Benz. New York: Continuum, 2002. 176 pp. $19.95 (paper).

Against Love Poetry. By Eavan Boland. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001. x + 53 pp'. $21.00 (cloth); $12.00 (paper).

God: Stones. Edited by C. Michael Curtis. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1998. xiv + 400 pp. $15.00 (paper). Reprinted edition with discussion guide, 2003.

Sacred Time and the Search for Meaning. By Gary Eberle. Boston: Shambhala, 2003. xvi + 222 pp. $14.95 (paper).

Flannery O'Connor: Spiritual Writings. Edited by Robert Ellsberg. Introduction by Richard Giannone. Modern Spiritual Masters Series. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 2003. 173 pp. $15.00 (paper).

A Celestial Omnibus: Short Fiction on Faith. Edited by J. P. Maney and Tom Hazuka. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997. 338 pp. $18.00 (paper).

Dragon's Lair. By Sharon Kay Penman. New York: G. P. Putnams Sons, 2003. 324 pp. $23.95 (cloth).

Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology. Edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz. New York: W. W. Norton, 2002. 352pp. $27.95 (cloth).

Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life. By Philip Simmons. 2000; New York: Bantam, 2002. xvi + 157 pp. $16.95 (cloth); $12.95 (paper); $11.50 (ebook).

Margaret Atwood adeptly explains what most creative thinkers discover the hard way, as she did. "It took me a long time," she laments, "to figure out that the youngest in a family of dragons is still a dragon from the point of view of those who find dragons alarming."1 Ten years ago, I was pleased to discover that Jim Griffiss did not find me at all alarming. In fact, he thought that my thinking counted as "theology." We argued the matter over lunch one day, until I found myself in the odd position of disputing the scope of "theology" with the future canon theologian to the presiding bishop. This was not an argument I wanted to win. So I backed down, turning my attention instead to an excellent salmon salad. Those who remember Jim will easily imagine the satisfied glint in his craggy face. In honor of the passing of a veiy great dragon, then, I hereby claim poetic license to assert that all these books count as "theology."

According to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, such a claim depends upon a proper understanding of imagination. Coleridge (and others) argue that imagination is more than simply the faculty whereby writers and other artists do their work. At a mundane or less conscious level, imagination also shapes even the most ordinary levels of perception. Imagination is the power whereby the human mind in part creates what it in part perceives, shaping or contributing to what we (naively) take to be the fixed or given realities of an objective world.2

Coleridge goes on from this eighteenth-century commonplace to contend that the creative power of the human imagination is also "a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM" who created heaven and earth.3 Imaginative work, so broadly conceived, embraces far more than what we ordinarily regard as literature or the arts. It includes any work (in any genre) that successfully portrays some aspect of the human encounter with the sacramental dimensions of reality or the immanence of a transcendent, triune God.'* Imagination in its highest development can speak to us of God with uncanny clarity and persuasive power. It is the human capacity to create and to perceive sacramental realities; it is the imago Dei within us whereby we come to know, love, and worship God.

Faith and the sustenance of faith traditions have always depended upon individuals blessed with that power. From the Rrst storyteller of Genesis to the stained glass of the great cathedrals to the gospel choir burning hope into weary souls, religion has always depended far more deeply upon artists than upon philosophers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Readings at the Intersection of Culture and Faith Unlikely Theologians and the Coleridgean Imagination
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.