Last night I started reading Michael Card’s new book, “Luke, The Gospel of Amazement.” My interest was piqued when I heard Michael interviewed on In the Market with Janet Parshall. In case you haven’t noticed, I reference Janet’s show quite often. She is a wealth of information, from current events to book reviews, close looks at biblical prophecy and its impact on today to how to survive our wobbly economy, from estimating the value of your record collection to understanding your family’s dynamics. She is a skilled orator and passionate lover of Jesus Christ. And she’s a writer. In short, she’s the woman I want to grow up to be!
On to the book…
OH, one more thing…don’t miss a day here this week. Like the week-long review of Will Davis’ book, “10 Things Jesus Never Said,” we’re going to take an in-depth overview (oxymoronic, but true) of this book. When you finish reading my blog this week, you are going to have to read Michael’s book. And lucky you! I am giving away a copy of Michael’s book on Friday. So make sure to leave your comments each day so you can be entered in the drawing.
Now, on to the book…
Remember the dazzled, amazed look in a child’s eye when their imagination really gets going? When you’re reading that silly book with talking animals and they look up at you with a query like, “Can dogs really talk?” That’s the purest form of imagination.
Dictionary.com says imagination is: the faculty of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses.
Dictionary.com: Informed: having or prepared with information or knowledge
In Michael’s book he calls on the reader to use his “informed imagination.” My first collision with Michael’s use of the word “imagination” in reference to the Bible, had me concerned. I know people who consider the Bible to be a moralist, fictional story. They believe it was composed by various writers’ lively imaginations and strung together to make a point: live a good life. Fortunately, as I continued to read, that is not Michael’s approach.
The Bible calls upon us to love God with all of our hearts, souls and minds. In secular circles, it is largely believed that Christians employ their hearts and scientists employ their brains. But Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” And to keep his commandments, it follows that we must KNOW what they are and UNDERSTAND the person making these demands. So somehow, we must bring our hearts and minds together. Michael says that, “the imagination is the vital bridge between the heart and the mind.” (pg. 13)
Michael calls on readers to prepare their minds with facts about the culture, the geography, the society of the writer’s time (information). Then, to combine this with “mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses” (imagination). As a writer, I hope that people read my work with a mind toward original intent. Obviously, everything I write is predicated on the world around me. The same is true of biblical authors, in this case Luke.
In the introduction, Michael lays out a few basic facts that an informed reader knows about Luke.
1. He was not an eye witness of Jesus’ life.
2. He was a doctor
3. He was a Gentile
4. He was a companion of Paul
There are more, but I want you to read the book! Next, Michael begins linking these facts with social norms like, the relationship between doctors and slaves, (now your curious – right?) how individuals got their nicknames, and why there are so many songs recorded in Luke’s gospel. These aren’t things that are spelled-out in Scripture, but they are logical deductions that help us to engage with the TRUE story of Jesus in the gospel of Luke.