3 IVP art books

These are three books that I've read or that I look forward to reading. Thanks to the good people at IVPress for sending advanced copies. (Descriptions are taken from the IVP website.)

1. Contemplative Vision: A Guide to Christian Art and Prayer by Juliet Benner.

"While working as a docent in an art gallery, Juliet Benner began showing people how to meditate on Christian art treasures that are rooted in a passage of Scripture. She taught a way of encountering the Word behind both the words of Scripture and the artist's meditation on Scripture. This became a way of seeing art as an aid to contemplative prayer. In each chapter you'll encounter a passage of Scripture and a corresponding piece of art. In the process you'll find yourself entering into a new experience of prayer and meditation in God's presence."

This is a great book for those who are looking for a marriage between lectio divina and the visual arts (or as it's often called, visio divina). It'd be suitable for personal devotion as well as for small groups. It includes artworks like Jean-Fran├žois Millet's "The Angelus" and He Qi's "The Visitation," but I think Caravaggio's "The Supper at Emmaus" arrested my attention the longest.

2. The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life by Vinita Hampton Wright.

"Creative work is soul work, and soul work is always creative work. Feeding one while neglecting the other will leave you restless and unsatisfied. Nurturing them both will lead you to new places of self-discovery and God-discovery. 'I believe that spirituality and creativity are intricately connected, yet they are rarely nurtured and talked about that way,' contends Vinita Hampton Wright. In these pages she leads you through the process and practice of integrating the worlds of Christian spirituality and creativity."

Some of the interesting chapter titles include "The Heart-Stopping Act of Saying Yes," "How to Craft but Not Control While Using Both Sides of the Brain" and "How to Thrive as a Creative in the Real World."  I've yet to read this book but I have a hunch it'll do me a measure of good.

3. Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story & Imagination by Brian Godawa.

"In his refreshing and challenging book, Godawa helps you break free from the spiritual suffocation of heady faith. Without negating the importance of reason and doctrine, Godawa challenges you to move from understanding the Bible 'literally' to 'literarily' by exploring the poetry, parables and metaphors found in God's Word. Weaving historical insight, pop culture and personal narrative throughout, Godawa reveals the importance God places on imagination and creativity in the Scriptures, and provides a biblical foundation for Christians to pursue image, beauty, wonder and mystery in their faith."

The two quotes that start the book off are by G. K. Chesterton and Jane Austen.

"Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers, but creative artists very seldom. I am not in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination." -- Chesterton, Orthodoxy

"It would surely be much more rational if conversation rather than dancing made the order of the day...."
"Much more rational ... I daresay; but it would not be near so much like a ball." -- Austen, Pride and Prejudice


as a fun little curiosity, i planned to google that Caravaggio work this morning! i just finished reading "Meals With Jesus" by Tim Chester (via Cliff's current sermon series) and the author builds his summary chapter around that painting.

thanks for the book blurbs -- love them!
I love coincidences like these.
abby said…
hey! this may be weird seeing as this is a comment and all, but i couldnt find any other way to contact you.
i just watched your video that the stone did and a few things that you said really struck me (in light of what God has been speaking to me lately), and i was wondering if i could talk to you about it.
if this is of any relevance at all, you can email me at abby51259@yahoo.com or give me some other way to get in touch with you so i can explain more and ask you questions. (-:

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