Archives For imagination

Growing up in church, I wanted the truth of God to burn in my chest, but too often it sat shelved in my brain, collecting dust. In youth group, I learned about this disease. I had a breakdown between my head and my heart. Other people had it, too. In fact, everyone seemed to be talking about it, but while they diagnosed the problem in sermons, Bible studies, and at my Christian college, no one seemed to have a cure. 


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You can’t cure a nagging cough without treating the underlying pneumonia, but that’s what many Christians were trying to do. The gulf between our brains and our hearts wasn’t the problem, it was only a symptom of an underlying disease, an infection that started with Modernity. 


The real infection was the belief that truth is ultimately a package of facts Continue Reading…


The last couple years, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday has made me squirm. While I love listening to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, it’s the other dream that bothers me, God’s dream, the one in Revelation 5, that salad bowl in heaven where people of every skin tone are tossed in together and worshipping side by side. It unsettles me, because my life and church look more like a bowl of Breyer’s Cookies and Cream, light on the cookies. 


Photo 1452693051753 f0acd4cfe723Photo courtesy of Pumpkins via


When I listen to King’s dream, I can feel good about the fact that two of my best friends have been an African American and Korean American. I can feel proud of my great grandmother from Canada who told me how her town, one of the final stops on the underground railway, helped runaway slaves integrate into society. 


When I listen to God’s dream, though, I find myself asking some hard questions, like whether my mostly white church should be mostly white. Or, whether it’s enough to enjoy diversity without taking any steps to heal the racial issues in my country Continue Reading…

What pops into your head when you see the word…




Today, it makes me think of The Princess Bride with its ROUS’s and six-fingered man. Most of us are happy to pass off imagination to Hollywood, artists, and six-year-olds pretending to be Queen Elsa. But, when it comes to the serious concerns of adult life, imagination seems out of place. Just consider these odd couples:


Family + Imagination


Work + Imagination


Religion + Imagination

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Photo courtesy of Joshua Earle via


Modern-day Evangelicalism hasn’t helped. At best, when Christianity bumps into imagination the two share an awkward hug. (Facing the Giants, anyone?) At worst, while sirens blare, Christianity runs for the bunkers with truth tucked under its arms Continue Reading…

Despite what I advise patients in the exam room, I fight a constant battle to get: 

  • 8 hours of sleep
  • 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week
  • 5 fruits and vegetables a day

So, if I’m already struggling to master those healthy habits, why would I add imagination-training to the list? 


Ben moore

Image courtesy of Ben Moore via


Because, cultivating our imaginations is like getting an oil change. We can run for a while without it, but at a lower performance Continue Reading…

No Demons Here

smgianotti  —  March 21, 2015

Imagining demon-possession seems unwise, so I start with the tombs. Mark’s demoniac lived among the tombs (Mark 5:1-20). Clenching my lashes together, I fight off the brightness diffusing through my eyelids. Imprints of my cherry wood desk and the crape myrtle beyond it float in my brain. The fan hums overhead and sweet air wafts over me. Not very tomb-like.

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I try to imagine gathering bones for pillows, screaming just to hear my own voice, and gashing my chest with rocks. But I can’t, because I’m used to reading the Bible from the sidelines.

Continue Reading…

             Screened in on your back porch—

             you big and boring people

             who just learned my name

             while milling in the foyer

             after service.

             Now I’m stuck all afternoon

             at your house

             because someone has to

             feed the visiting pastor.


2921 Vintage BarnPhoto Courtesy of Matt Gruber via 

             Under mom’s silent eye

             I fork a bitter, leafy ball.

             Chew and swallow.

             Chew and swallow.


             She nods and looks away.


             This somebody’s grandfather

             drones on, keeping time

             with the walnut clock

             whose ticking marches down the hall.

             If only I could be anywhere,

             everywhere else,

             but here.

Continue Reading…