Oasis of Imagination Engaging our World through a Better Creativity HBBy:
What should the church's cultural witness be?
Too often, it has been marked by political strong-arming or fearful withdrawal into the "Christian bubble." There is another way: creative cultural engagement, using our imaginations to plant oases in the desert, breathable spaces that refresh, challenge, and draw together Christians and non-Christians alike. Oases refresh the soul, provoke discussion, challenge assumptions, and lead the imagination to a new place.
In Oasis of Imagination, Ted Turnau lays out the Biblical mandate for engaging culture, and why the imaginative path holds promise. He explores the nature of the imagination from both Scripture and nature. He asks, "What makes a Christian imagination that resonates with non-Christians different?" He explores examples of Christian creativity done well from video games to movies to music to The Lord of the Rings. He challenges the church, artist and non-artist alike, to be intentional about their own imaginative lives, how artists and non-artists can support each other, as they together engage in building bridges and being cultural ambassadors to the wider community.
In-depth and wide-ranging, Oasis of Imagination equips and encourages Christians, whatever their calling, to consider how to imaginatively enter into the broader cultural conversation, beyond the culture-warring and Christian bubbles. It seeks to provoke a conversation within the church between its artists and non-artists about how best to unleash our God-given creativity to shine light into the broader culture.
We have waited a long time for a biblical theology of the imagination, and Ted Turnau has given us a deep, thirst-quenching drink. Here you will find a sure-footed guide, who avoids both cultural indifference and culture wars, plants a dagger in heart of Christian kitsch, and then encourages us onwards, without nostalgia, not to be satisfied with merely consuming, or even intelligently critiquing our culture, but to decide to contribute. You’ll be taken into territory that is unfamiliar, thrilling, and occasionally disturbing. You’ll be shown how the gospel is provocative, unsettling, and yet deeply compelling to a lost world. Above all Ted has laid down a challenge for artists, churches, pastors, creatives of all kinds, to ‘plant oases’, where we can begin to imagine what it’s like to inhabit the glory of the kingdom-yet-to-come, and make it so attractive that even as we worship here, we long to be home, bringing many others with us.
This is a wonderful book. Above all it is full of … imagination. It combines solid theoretical foundations with lively examples. It’s all very rich, but Part IV holds a special interest for me. I have been personally invested in several of personages here. Few if any studies that I know of join together this company under the theme “subversive, hopeful protest.” The section on Blind Willie Johnson is worth the price of the book. Non-Christians ought to read this book, if only to disabuse them of the bromides about evangelicals. Christians must read this book in order greatly to enhance their lives.
Oasis of Imagination offers a refreshing and much-needed vision for the church to engage with the wider culture in a way that is neither shrill nor shallow. His passionate call to cherish the creative arts as God himself does provides fresh, compelling ways for the church to connect with and bless the world. Whether you consider yourself a creative or not, Ted Turnau's insights will inspire you to imagine a church faithful to its own imaginative calling and how you can play your own part in offering hospitality and hope to a weary world. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to deepen their relationships and influence beyond the walls of the church.