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Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  348 Ratings  ·  40 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
Aug 29, 2012 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 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.
Jan 23, 2010 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
Courtney Deberry
May 24, 2013 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
Apr 29, 2007 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
May 07, 2014 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.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody in the WORLD but especially if you're considering a career in the arts
Shelves: film
"there is one great distinction between the productions of heathen and Christian art. while the first exhibits the perfection of physical form and of intellectual beauty, the latter expresses, also, the majesty of sorrow, the grandeur of endurance, the idea of triumph refined from agony." - E.H. Chapin

the concept of Christianity working in harmony with the arts is not a new idea, but it does seem to be a forgotten one. turner swings the perception of art vs. faith on its head with all the ruthl
Crystal (Kris)
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
I like how Turner has broken down the chapters to address the major points on the topic, and I appreciate the conciseness of his words. He doesn't say more than he needs to say; this makes it easier to track ideas. He provides many examples from his own experiences and what he has seen in the lives of other Christian artists. In the end, it is clear that, while he believes that Christian art need not contain overt Christian references, we cannot make Christian art without a spiritual life ground ...more
Cassidy Van Vooren
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-love
I read this book for a class, not expecting to love it as much as I did. But wow, this book changed the way I look at art and creating art as a Catholic Christian.
10 out of 10 would recommend to a friend! I now want to buy this book for every Christian I know!

Turner did a fantastic job of addressing some of the fears Christian artists have when going into an industry. Be it a Christian industry, or a secular industry.
If your skeptical about this book, I'd suggest you buy it and judge for your
Joshua Hernandez
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great introduction to the question: "Where does a Christian fit into the arts?" It also offers good reasoning and defense for the Christian to become an artist.
Maria Yohn
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful insights!
Wavey Cowpar
Sep 21, 2015 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
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: artists of every stripe
Recommended to Philip by: Dr. William Edgar
Shelves: apologetics, music
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
Eddie Hudson
Jul 04, 2014 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
Heather Denigan
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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
Mar 12, 2008 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.
Jul 31, 2011 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.
Daniel Blackaby
May 12, 2013 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.
J. Alfred
Dec 06, 2013 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.
Jan 26, 2015 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.
Todd Jenkins
Feb 25, 2008 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!
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this. The author looks at all the arts: music, paintings, sculpture, theater, and books, in relating to culture, our mind, our vision, our witness, the church, the world, and more.
"Art should be helping us see things as we had never seen them before. 'we need to clean our windows,' said writer J.R.R. Tolkien, 'so that the things seen clearly may be freed from the drab blur of triteness or familiarity.'" (p. 91)
Taylor Hohulin
Aug 18, 2015 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.
David Hoos
Nov 18, 2009 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.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
Nothing really ground-breaking here, but it's nice to have one's vocation affirmed so well. It would be more powerful for anyone who is more actively creative or who has a position of leadership in a church.
Steve Robinson
Feb 26, 2008 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.
Apr 02, 2007 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.
Todd Hains
Mar 20, 2014 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 13, 2015 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.
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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...
“The arts can sharpen the vision, quicken the intellect, preserve the memory, activate the conscience, enhance the understanding and refresh the language.” 9 likes
“How much of life is Christ to be Lord over? Is he only interested in that part of life we think of as religious or spiritual? Or is he interested in every facet of our lives—body, soul, mind and spirit?” 4 likes
More quotes…