O, poet where art thou?
Monday, March 25, 2013 at 12:15PM
Terry-Michael Newell

I admire poets. No. That’s not quite accurate. I envy poets. The spring from which their work flows is the imagination. The source of the poetic is imagination. There’s no clear set of rules to be a poet. There’s no boundaries to speak of. There’s only the imagination, a pregnant world of ideas that gives birth through creativity. Poets know this. But, I wonder about those of us who read the Bible.

Imagination is a key to understanding such an ancient text. While some suggest that proper interpretation requires certain theological borders, I believe the word from God comes in a “still small voice” which makes one free rather than captive. God's is a voice of liberation, not oppression. It’s the difference between knowing what the Biblical text meant and imagining what it means. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." It is one thing to “know the Bible.” It’s another thing to engage in imagining what it means.

Does this mean that anything goes or that whatever our imagination creates is justified? By no means! It is God’s voice that speaks, not our own. It is the faithful witness of a community that leads us from self-centered pride to self-sacrificing humility. Pride asks the question, “What does this mean to me?” Humility asks, “What can this mean for us?”

Imagination unlocks interpretation. Reading the Bible in the same way a poet fashions a poem opens the possibility that mere words on a page may reveal a word from God.

Article originally appeared on Terry-Michael Newell (http://www.terrymichaelnewell.com/).
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