The Theological Task Today

In preparation for an upcoming paper I will be delivering at the annual conference of the Canadian American Theological Association entitled, “Reimagining Ethical Preaching,” I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in Garrett Green’s insightful work on imagination. Here is a particularly rich passage from his recent book Imagining Theology:

“The proper response of theologians today is not renewed efforts to correlate the Bible and tradition with the fickle moods of contemporary culture.  Rather, we should recognize that context is not something simply given but something created by ourselves and others.  Religion, including the gospel of Jesus Christ, is a shaper of human culture, not a passive spectator or victim.  Religions are imaginative worlds, and they demand respect for their inherent integrity.  Christians have always claimed that the world imagined in the pluriform integrity of the biblical canon is the real world, the world created by divine wisdom and redeemed by divine grace.  The church is a school of the imagination, the place where we learn to think, feel, see, and hear as followers of the crucified and risen Messiah of Israel; and her theologians are grammarians of the Christian imagination, the ones who reflect on the patterns that constitute the world of biblical faith.  People’s imaginations are not transformed by tentativeness but rather by wholehearted commitment to a vision of the world.  Not vagueness but vivid specificity is the key to a healthy theology, for worlds are imagined not in general but only through the concrete particularity of specific images, symbols, metaphors, persons, and stories.”1

  1. Garrett Green, Imagining God: Encounters with God in Scripture, Intepretation, and Aesthetics (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2020), 72.

2 thoughts on “The Theological Task Today”

    1. Hi Stan,

      I’ve also recently re-read your essay with Philip Foubert, “On Keeping Theological Ethics Imaginative” in Against the Nations.

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