A perceptive review of our book on the Imagination

The always-interesting Greg Forster has written a very perceptive review of the new book I wrote with Matt Ristuccia:   Imagination Redeemed.  The best reviews not only tell about a book but contribute to the topics it raises, and this one certainly does this, thoughtfully extending the discussion of the role of the imagination in the life of the Christian.  (And, for the record, I even agree with his one criticism of our book, which zeroes in on something we did not intend to say.) [Read more...]

What about New Year’s Resolutions?

A time-honored custom is to make New Year’s resolutions, decisions to use the new beginning offered by the new year to improve one’s life in some way.  Reportedly, 50% of people make such resolutions, but 89% fail to keep them.

This can be seen as evidence for the theological teaching about the bondage of the will.  But though moral self-improvement is largely fruitless, apart from the Gospel, are there are other kinds of resolutions (exercise, eat better, or keep a tidier desk [my goal year after futile year] that are worth making and might be realized?  (Though such non-moral resolutions fail too:  I’m told that new gym memberships soar at the first of the year, but that attendance plummets after just a few weeks.)

Have any of you actually kept a New Year’s resolution for the whole year or longer?  How did you manage that?  After the jump, some advice for doing so. [Read more...]

My new book on the imagination

 I have published a new book, one that I collaborated on with Matt Ristuccia, an evangelical pastor in Princeton.  It’s called Imagination Redeemed:  Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind. 

The imagination often gets mystified these days with its association with the arts and creativity.  We get into those areas in the book, but we are trying to recover a much more basic understanding of the concept.  The imagination is simply the power of our minds to conjure up mental images.  When you use your memory to recall past experiences, when you make plans for the future by visualizing what you are going to do tomorrow, when you daydream, when you dream, when you fantasize, when your consciousness is just running on neutral, you are using your imagination.

There have been quite a lot of Christian reflection on the faculty of the mind known as reason.  Other mental powers such as the emotions and the will have gotten significant attention.  But there has not been that much lately on the imagination, which, arguably we use more than any of the other mental faculties.  Older theologians, however, from Augustine to Luther, did address the imagination, as we go into.  After the jump, I will explain some of  what this book gets into and has to offer. [Read more...]

Why non-conformists look the same

A mathematician took up the topic of hipsters.  Specifically, why different individuals who try not to conform to what is seen as normal end up looking and acting very much like each other.

After the jump, read the details, link to the math, and consider my thoughts on the matter, which offers a different account of non-conformists and sort of a defense of hipsters. [Read more...]

Panic

Americans are panicking over Ebola, and authorities are concerned not just to stem the disease but to stem the panic.  They are saying the chances of any of us actually dying of Ebola is microscopically low, that we are more likely to die of a shark attack, bee stings, or falling out of bed.  Alexandra Petri says that if that’s true, we need to panic over those other things too! [Read more...]

Why do people like to be scared?

Dr. Margee Kerr is a “scare specialist.”  In addition to college teaching, she is the staff sociologist at ScareHouse, a “haunted house” in Pittsburgh, which apparently consults her scientific expertise in designing effects that scare people.  The Atlantic interviews her on the question of why some people like to get scared. [Read more...]


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