Cultivating a Christian Imagination through Story and Metaphor

by | Dec 23, 2020 | Christian living, Imagination, Tamara's Blog

There is beauty of, and freedom in, a biblically informed imagination. To cultivate such an imagination one must understand the purpose of stories, the importance of metaphors, the value and necessity of poetry as well as an appreciation for music and art—of allowing “our faith and our imagination to dance together in ways that bring grace and truth into our daily lives.”

What is meant by a Christian imagination? Often imagination is associated with creativity or fantasy. However, imagination need not only mean inventing things; it is also perspective—a way of seeing and putting things in context as well as recognizing who and where we are in God’s Story.

We often hear that stories matter, but why do stories matter? Stories are necessary in cultivating our imagination and in shaping our perspective. But how do stories shape our imagination? What role do stories play in the importance of “reading with spiritual eyes”.

Why is it important to pay close attention to the stories of which we partake. Good stories do not draw a set of morals or present a recipe for living a “successful” Christian life. That would defeat the purpose of telling and hearing good stories. Stories help us get our bearings to know where we are, where we are going, and how we might go about cultivating a richer, deeper, fuller imaginative life that glorifies God.

Gaining a greater understanding of the role of metaphors is necessary to better understand stories. In Teaching and Christian Imagination David Smith and Susan Felch offer thoughtful study and helpful insights into the nature and role of imagination necessary to understand the connection between faith, vision, and practice using three biblical master narratives: journeyings, gardens, and buildings.