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Image - Fall 2004

  • Subtitle: Art, Faith, Mystery
  • Issue Number: Number 43
  • Published Date: Fall 2004
This issue of Image–a journal that seeks to explore the relationship between culture and (typically) Judeo-Christian conceptions of God, and does so in a consistently thoughtful manner–is notable once again for its intelligent interrogations of received ideas about religion. Editor Gregory Wolfe begins with a short essay in which he reminds readers that “[f]aith is openness to divine mystery, an openness that requires humility and a vivid awareness of the fragility and contingency of our human formulations. What critics [...] glibly characterize as faith is really ideology.” As Wolfe contends, it’s vital, in a world that seems to be splitting itself into two radically opposed ideological camps, to bear in mind this distinction. Wolfe also has praise for Christian groups that “move [...] discourse away from mere apologetics into probing reflections.” Many such reflections are to be found here, from fiction by K. Alexander Cooper featuring a stripping Baptist preacher struggling to lead his congregation and himself to a higher level of understanding, to poetry by Nicolas Samaras, Christine Perrian and others that proves “religious” poems do not inevitably contain majestic mountains bathed in holy light. Hearkening back to Flannery O’Connor’s essays on writing and religion (and quoting from them) is Bret Lott’s “Why Have We Given Up the Ghost?” and if that weren’t enough, there’s also a piece by Ron Austin called “Christians in Hollywood.” I was most delighted to see two long, incisive essays about the fabulous artwork run in this issue; so often the most one can count on in a literary magazine is an artist’s statement. While overall this journal has a few too many references to the Bible, Jesus as Savior, and prayer for someone who prefers her spirituality couched in different metaphors, I still found much that spoke to me, and anyone interested in reconciling a devout Christian faith with the pursuit of art and literature will find this journal, and this issue, a gem. [Image, 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119. E-mail: . Single issue $10.] – KL
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Review Posted on December 31, 2004

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