Recommended Book

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“Image is everything,” or so the saying goes. Unfortunately, in our culture words are quickly losing their appeal. Arthur Hunt contrasts our Judeo-Christian heritage, which is word-dependent, with paganism, which is image-dependent. He warns that by exalting visual imagery we risk becoming mindless pagans and that we are open to abuse by those who exploit the image but neglect the Word. Thoughtful readers will find this a challenging call to be critical about the images around us and to affirm that “the Word is everything.”

I read this book a few weeks ago, and although some of the history was a little difficult for me to plow through, I still enjoyed it.  I came away with the feeling of how important it is to keep the Word of God central in my life, my family’s life and the life of our church.  I would recommend this book to anyone who considers themself a Christian.

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15 thoughts on “Recommended Book

  1. Thanks for the recommendation. Intriguing thought: “words are quickly losing their appeal,” particularly for someone who teaches to use them! I’ll be buying it and reading it. Perhaps we can exchange thoughts on it.

    Yes, I’d be interested in knowing what you think about the book and discussing it further. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Hubby is reading it right now so I am waiting my turn. I may have to read it along side of him (like I have done before) so that I will be able to read it within the next month.

    Anxiously waiting my turn.

    I would sneak read the book when he is sleeping. 😆

  3. I haven’t yet read the book, but your post brings to mind the importance of literacy. Illiterate people survive on visual image. Unfortunately, there are too many “illiterate” in the church who “survive” on drama and hype. We need more Word, especially with the younger generation. It scares me when young people don’t know how to study the Word and intercede. (I didn’t mean to get on a soapbox, but this topic really gets me.)

    Illiteracy has definitely had an effect on the church, and the author does go into this some in the book. Genuine worship needs to be based on the Word. Sometimes I miss singing the hymns in church, because they seem to be so much more “Word based”, (and have more depth to them) and many of them were written by theologians that studied the Word of God. We don’t sing too many hymns in our church right now, mostly because my daughter who plays for services doesn’t know very many. However, we are working toward getting her to learn more of them.

    Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    Some of the more modern songs, to me, don’t seem to teach too much. They may tell me that I need to praise the Lord, but psalms and hymns seem to go one step further and tell me why I need to praise the Lord. Okay, I better get off my soapbox! 🙂

  4. Great observations! I think that illiteracy is not the culprit in this respect, however, but the decline in critical thinking among readers and people in general—I guess we can call the latter a new form of illiteracy. As a society, we have become lazy thinkers—individuals sitting in church pews are unfortunately not the exception.

    Words on a page force us to think.

    We can’t forget that God created us as thinking, reasoning beings for a reason. Ezra, the Jewish scribe that led the spiritual revival in Israel after the rebuilding of the temple, exemplifies God’s purpose in creating us with such blueprint. He had great influence over the people, not because he was the type A leader Nehemiah was, but because he prepared his heart, studied, practiced, and taught God’s Word to the people (Ezra 7:10). Dallas Willard would suggest that preparation of the heart is not a mindless pursuit. Study, practice, and teaching, likewise, demand intellectual training, reflection, and discernment.

    As you can tell, I’m passionate about this subject! I look forward to reading the book and sharing with you all.

  5. I am looking forward to reading this one. Back in my senior year of high school (1978), I did a term paper about America becoming a nation of illiterates. Even back then, the writing was starting to appear on the wall. I wasn’t a Christian then, but now I see how Satan can use illiteracy to draw people away from the Word of God, which is able to make us wise unto salvation.

  6. I thoroughly understand what you said about enjoying hymns. You would probably like the worship at our church. We even occasionally (maybe once a month) pass out the hymnals and really use them. It does seem most churches have veered away from hymnals, but most of our older saints really enjoy them and we must “feed” them, too. Furthermore, if we don’t use the hymnals, the young people will never learn any old hymns. I think it is important for the young people to know about hymns and the meaning behind them. So many hymns have such great stories about how the writer went through certain situations that inspired the song. Also, Bryce does most of the praise leading at our church and he does not like “hype” songs. It is very rare for him to use a “horizontal” praise song. He much prefers “vertical” worship songs. It is not uncommon for people to flood the altars during praise and worship holding their hands in the air and tears streaming down their faces. This may sound ridiculous, but we even stopped having choir so that our people would really learn to praise instead of being entertained and responding to the “entertainment.” We decided to call our praise team the “worship choir.” It is amazing how it has changed the manner of worship in our church. I think you and I have been on the same soapbox. 🙂

  7. This comment isn’t really about the book, because I don’t review books I haven’t read. But we must be careful not to value sight (needed for reading) over our other God-given senses. The early church was made up of people who were mostly illiterate. And that didn’t stop them from believing. The Word was spread through letters, listening to others read (hearing) and through drama, poetry (hearing), visual art (vision), and song (hearing and feeling). The church used incense (smell) and icons (visual) in worship, as well as the Lord’s Table (taste.) So the idea that if we don’t read we can’t be close to God is not historical at all. Image is everything. But we can use any of our senses to create that image.

    I understand, in a sense, what you’re saying, Helen, but I still believe that to really know God and have a relationship with Him, His Word must be central in our lives. People can know that there is a God that exists, simply by looking at creation, (Psalm 19:1-3)a heart may be inspired by a Thomas Kinkade painting, but I don’t believe we can have an intimate relationship with God apart from the Scripture. The Bible says in Romans 10:17, that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, and also I Cor. 1:21 mentions that God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. People that can read have the advantage of being able to check out what is preached and taught to them for themselves, which is something that those in Berea were commended for doing. (Acts 17:10,11)
    Jesus also mentioned something very important in John 5:39 – Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. How can we really do this if we do not know how to read?
    Also, I don’t see where the early church was made up mostly of people who were illiterate. Not the New Testament church. I see that happening later in history and the illiteracy being something that ushered in the Dark Ages(which also brought a lot of unbiblical, pagan practices into the church).
    Anyhow, I don’t mean to get into a lengthy dissertation here, but this is something that is very important to me. I hope I have not offended by anything I’ve said here, because that is certainly not my intent.

  8. No, Carol, no offense at all. And I think you are right in all your points. I think literacy is extremely important and believe personal Bible study is the best way to grow in one’s relationship with the Lord. I do think, however, that sometimes as Protestants we ignore the religious imagination. Beautiful art and music should not be considered as the opposite of the Word of God but should be used to lead us to God.

  9. Was I, perhaps, the one who opened up a can of worms, so to speak, in letting Pete read my copy of this book? I know he then bought some for himself. When we were in Bible college, Sis. Norris (then in her 80s?) was ashamed that she’d only read the Bible thru 22 times. After almost 28 years, I have only read it through 7 times or so, and NOW I’m reading it slower than ever. It takes me a while to meditate/ponder/think on the WORDS of the page. I’m not for a totally “imageless” society, but isn’t it amazing that there are no “pictures” in the Bible. It’s all words. Thank you Lord for my literal eyes to see. Now if I only have “ears to hear.”

  10. Tommy – I have found that reading different translations of the Bible keeps me encouraged to read more often. Currently, my favorite is The Message Bible. I am thoroughly enjoying it.

  11. Hi Mom,

    Dad told me about the book too. I don’t really understand what the post is all about cause I can’t read… 😉 Kidding mom…

    Sis. Allard:
    “The Message” is actually kind of funny. In the verse where Peter says, “Silver and gold have I none,” it says, “I don’t have a nickle to my name.” Brother Trent Gilliam showed that to me a few weeks ago. I think it is interesting too, to read different translations. Sometimes they help me understand better, especially with Bible quizzing, when you’re memorizing a verse and you don’t know exactly what it’s talking about. It helps to go look it up in a different translation.

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