The Importance of Imagination and Story
Imagination and story are important to faith. Just think of writers such as C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and the way that the stories they tell are so inspirational insightful and challenging to our mundane understanding of the faith. Stories are at the heart of the faith of many ordinary people. Just ask the ordinary Christian woman or man on the street to explain their faith and they will inevitably tell you a story instead of outlining an abstract theoretical version of their faith. This should not surprise us as about eighty per cent of the Bible is in narrative form.
I remember as a child at junior school having a teacher who read all the narrative stories of the Bible, from both the Old Testament and New Testament, out aloud in class. I can still visually see those stories being played out in my mind some sixty years later. And when I came to faith just a few weeks before my seventeenth birthday those stories became foundational to my new found faith.
I recently read the seven volumes of J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter series and was delighted to discover that many of the themes present in The Narnia series and The Lord of the Rings are there in Harry Potter and instead of being evil and dangerous, as some Christians suggest, it was delightful and inspiring. The main theme being the power and victory of ‘love’ and ‘sacrifice’ over evil in all its forms. It would be my contention that for a whole generation brought up on Harry Potter and who have had little or no contact with the church that Harry Potter becomes the starting point for a conversation about Jesus and the gospel,