Learning to Use the Gift of Imagination
Francis Schaeffer, a Christian philosopher and church leader who died in 1984, was a prolific and prophetic writer on Western thought and culture. One of his most popular books, How Should We Then Live.?, opens with these words:
There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. people are unique in the inner life of the mind what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity. it is true of their corporate actions, such as political deci- sions, and it is true of their personal lives. The results of their thought world flow through their fingers or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo’s chisel, and it is true of a dictator’s sword.
The lack of a redemptive imagination and creative solution is a sad reflection on how little use people are making of their “thought world” for the glory of God. As we have already established, imagination is a gift and part of what it means to be human. To devalue or ignore this gift is to limit the potential impact one could make in one’s family, culture, or church. The result of this cognitive complacency is that most people are bored. They find themselves in a state of boredom because they don’t think for themselves; they just absorb the thoughts and worldview from others around them. Schaeffer goes on, “Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches the measles.”
To do such is to completely ignore the creative energy— wrapped in the gift of imagination — available to all. Yet every once in a while someone comes on the scene who challenges the system of thought and business as usual. Such individuals have been called a variety of names: heretic, visionary, insane, leader, quack, trailblazer, front-runner, martyr — and the list goes on. No matter what they are called, they change things for the better. They refuse to stick their heads in the sand; they imag- ine a better way and with a stubbornness that can only come from being right.
*Except taken from ReImagine by Brent Crowe.