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Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  266 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Imagine art that is risky, complex and subtle! Imagine music, movies, books and paintings of the highest quality! Imagine art that permeates society, challenging conventional thinking and standard morals to their core! Imagine that it is all created by Christians! This is the bold vision of Steve Turner, someone who has worked among artists--many Christian and many not--fo ...more
Paperback, 131 pages
Published May 18th 2001 by IVP Books (first published 2001)
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Mark Botts
Sep 02, 2012 Mark Botts rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I will read this book again and again and again. It showed me a place to stand.

Steve Turner champions the idea that the Christian artist should create (good) art first and let the "message/worldview" work its way through the form, as opposed to delivering sub-par material just to trumpet a sermon or moral to believers and non-believers.

Also, Turner reminds Christians that if they love Christ they will love His church and His teachings - no "Lone Ranger Believers" striving in isolation, thinkin
Sep 10, 2009 Carla rated it it was amazing
I need to read this book every year. It absolutely transformed my view of myself as a Christian and as a musician. Must read for any artist of faith.
Lit a hope in me that Christianity is compatible with the arts, and that Christians in fact have a responsibility to them.
Apr 29, 2007 Jenny rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an excellent synthesis of ideas that are pertinent to the project of doing art (and for the relatively non artistic, like myself, for appreciating the arts) as a Christian. One of Turner's main accomplishments is to persuasively efface the manmade line between the sacred and the secular, and this conception of everything good as coming from God obviously has import for many other disciplines, as well (I thought of fitness :)). Turner's perspective is grounded by his extensive ...more
David 'Wavey' Cowpar
Sep 28, 2015 David 'Wavey' Cowpar rated it it was amazing
Tonnes of helpful ideas. Turner has really thought about, using his personal experiences and those of people around him, how a Christian should be involved in creating art, why a Christian should be involved in creating art, and how a Christian protects themselves from falling prey to the influence of the secular world and the allure of being in the spotlight.

He originally planned on calling this book Being There because that is the message. Christians should not withdraw from society and only c
Jun 11, 2014 Anafalz rated it liked it
This book started off strong for me. But as I moved through it is slowly deteriorated and got more and more boring. I think he started belaboring points and that is where I found the deficit in the book. Not a bad book, but not a great one either.
Jun 09, 2010 John rated it liked it
Shelves: art
it was good overall - definitely should be in a must-read section of anyone who's a believer pursuing a vocation in art. the part that really caught my attention was on dealing w/ the subject of the uneasiness a believing artist feel in both in christian and art circles. in some ways, lot of us feel we're too christian for non-christians and too non-chrisitian for christians. throughout the book, turner gave a good analysis on the nature of such struggle.

however, one part i didn't like too much
Dec 27, 2014 Philip rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: artists of every stripe
Recommended to Philip by: Dr. William Edgar
With creativity, clarity, and brevity, British writer Steve Turner sets out a clear path forward for artists of every type. Turner navigates Bible-based, Christ-centered worldview thinking with as much skill and ease as he shows in his knowledge of the twists and turns of the art world. He understands art's role, as well as those areas art is best not used. He shares the exhilarating vision, the varying levels on which art can relate to faith, and the potential pitfalls. This book nicely paralle ...more
Taylor Hohulin
Aug 29, 2015 Taylor Hohulin rated it really liked it
Five stars for the first half, but only three for the second. There are some great thoughts on Christians, the arts, and why there's been such a weird relationship between the two over the years, but towards the end, the book didn't quite grab me as much. I'm honestly not sure why. I'll probably redhead this at some point. It's a quick enough read. Highly recommended for any Christian with any sort of interest in the arts.
Eddie Hudson
Nov 15, 2014 Eddie Hudson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
11/15/14 Finished a week or so know, there is something to be said for those who understand, yes, we are defined by our relationship with God, but not only is not the limit of us, it isn't the limit of knowing God. Creativity, as it comes to art is the opportunity to express God in ways that defy conventional reasoning. IT is the opportunity to experience God in new and "living" ways. It's like experiencing the same "sun" but each day is different!

My impression so far is that the autho
Todd Hains
Mar 20, 2014 Todd Hains rated it really liked it
Rather simple. Still Turner gives a helpful corrective—that is unfortunately still needed in evangelicalism—to stereotypes about "Christian art, music," etc.
Heather Perry
Oct 17, 2015 Heather Perry rated it it was ok
I this book satarted out really well and then turned into a typical "christian book to christians". It was not the worst thing I have ever read but for sure not the best.
May 10, 2014 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. The examples used feel a bit dated now - but the core concerns remain valid. I'd recommend it for any Christian artist - irrespective of field.
Courtney Deberry
May 24, 2013 Courtney Deberry rated it really liked it
This is the second book I have read on the topic of the meaning of christian art. I was delighted to find that the subject matter provided biblical answers to many of the most challenging problems facing christian artists. There are many quotes in this book that are true not only to artists but Christians in general. The book was written in plain English and referenced many well known artists. The lack of "Christianese" made it a practical resource for all denominations and people at every level ...more
Heather Denigan
Oct 16, 2011 Heather Denigan rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, creativity
Good little book. Turner speaks truth with satisfying depth and breadth, without fluff and without being a curmudgeon. One of the things I especially like about this book: the last chapter addresses the problem of Christians living, working, and walking faithfully and uprightly in the art world. By addressing the artist's temptations as well as voicing an apologia and mission statement for his work, Turner has written a well-rounded handbook for being in and not of.
Goes more in depth than Nancy
J. Alfred
Dec 09, 2013 J. Alfred rated it really liked it
This book outlines the author's (and my own) hope that Christians will not shun the arts, but will instead be wise in their consumption of, discussion about, and contribution to, the world of art and culture. He reminds us of what we've been telling ourselves in different forms since at least Brother Lawrence, that is, that we need to do our work well and let our actions glorify the Lord-- including in the arts, shouts Turner.
You may say Steve Turner is a dreamer. But he's not the only one.
Apr 08, 2015 Milana rated it it was amazing
I did not really like it from the beginning. The author presents his understanding of the relationship between art and church and in first two chapters his attitude seemed to me kind of...unrelenting. But then I came to understand his viewpoint and I started to like it. I remain unsure, though, that the church is ready for what he presents in his book.

I was refreshed by his thoughts and inspired to seek another book of his recommendation: Francis Schaeffer's The God Who Is There.
Daniel Blackaby
May 12, 2013 Daniel Blackaby rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Much of the content was not necessarily ground-breaking or saying anything that isn't a staple in other books on the topic. However, the way Turner frames the message as an 'on-going conversation' is a helpful way of understanding the importance of the Arts and Christian's role in it. This book is a great starting point for anyone wanting to study in this area or for any creative Christian seeking to find their place within the Arts. Great book.
Jul 18, 2012 Katharine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, nonfic, art, 2012
Finally finished a long-overdue re-read of this book. I can't really go into detail describing it without lengthy quotations - but it's a call for higher standards of excellence in Christian art, and is SO on target that the target isn't even there anymore because this book blew it to bits. Highly recommended for all Christian artists of any genre and... all Christians, really. I find it incredibly inspiring and I now want to go paint things transcendently.
Mar 12, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any spiritual or religious artists, particularly Christian ones
I never finished this one, but it really inspired me back in college when I was Jesus was my heart-throb and dance was my life! It's main message is that being creative is a Godly act, as God is a creator, and that anything that we create is a spiritual gift to the world--I remember that it encouraged Christians not to slam popular music just because it wasn't God-centered, because all of this creation is holy and magical.
Todd Jenkins
Feb 25, 2008 Todd Jenkins rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christian artists in any discipline
Recommended to Todd by: Charlie Peacock
This is precisely the book that Christian artists of all walks need to be reading and learning from today. I received a copy from Charlie Peacock a couple of years ago and read it through cover to cover. I have since returned to it several times for renewed insight and inspiration. The author is best known as a poet, but his perceptiveness about the arts' role in Christianity is expansive. Two thumbs up!
David Hoos
Nov 18, 2009 David Hoos rated it really liked it
This book covers a lot of bases that I think need to be covered. Christians who want to be faithful Christians but still work as craftsmen in the arts should definitely read this book to get a healthy foundation from which to build upon. It's definitely not exhaustive, but it's heading in the right direction.
Steve Robinson
Feb 26, 2008 Steve Robinson rated it it was amazing
Steve Turner is a published poet, author and contributing writer to Rolling Stone Magazine. He is also a Christian who effectively challanges the widely held belief that Christians must produce "Christian art." A great read.
May 23, 2012 Marci rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
If you're a Christian in the arts world, this book may be interesting to you. However, having been to Christian college, I'd already heard/read about everything this book mentions, dozens of times before.
Fiona Veitch
Dec 30, 2014 Fiona Veitch rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read on this subject in years. Steve Turner takes the ideas of Frances Schaeffer and brings them into the 21st Century.
Jul 23, 2012 Yoon-ho rated it it was amazing
The scope of this book is deceptively wide - I daresay it applies to all Christians, not just artists who are Christian.
Jun 10, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
Quick read on a great topic. Read while in the bookshop of InterVarsity's 2002 Following Christ conference.
Feb 25, 2014 John rated it it was amazing
Loved it. It is one of the best books I have read on the topic of faith and art.
Greg Simmons
Excellent book. I suggest this for any and all Christians not just artists
Jun 24, 2007 Amy rated it really liked it
The book I have been looking for.
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Steve Turner is an English music journalist, biographer and poet, who grew up in Northamptonshire, England. His first published article was in the Beatles Monthly in 1969. His career as a journalist began as features editor of Beat Instrumental where he interviewed many of the prominent rock musicians of the 1970s. He subsequently freelanced for music papers including NME, Melody Maker and Rolling ...more
More about Steve Turner...

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“The arts can sharpen the vision, quicken the intellect, preserve the memory, activate the conscience, enhance the understanding and refresh the language.” 7 likes
“A corollary of this has been that Christians have thought that they should only create art with a Pollyanna quality to it: paintings of birds and kittens, movies that extol family life and end happily, songs that are positive and uplifting – in short, works of art that show a world that is almost unfallen where no one experiences conflict and where sin is naughty rather than wicked.” 3 likes
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