Baptizing the ImaginationNovember 2011
by Alison Lytton
What do The Dark Knight, songs by indie rock musician Bon Iver, and slam poetry have in common? They’re all artwork with which the Gotham Alumni interacted during our third annual retreat over the Columbus Day weekend entitled, “Baptizing the Imagination: the Unlikely Conversion of C.S. Lewis.”
Through large group lectures, lively Q&As and small group discussions, we looked at Lewis’ path from accepting the realities present in myth and imagination to ultimately realizing the truth of Jesus’ life and resurrection. It was a call for us to think of our own imaginations differently. For Sarah Tsai (Gotham 2010), it “expanded my perception of what imagination in my life could mean, helping me to more fully recognize the Spirit at work in my job, my relationships with others, and my relationship with God.”
As an exercise in strengthening our imaginative abilities, each of us brought a piece of art that has been meaningful to us and shared it in small groups on Saturday night. In Gotham we look at the world through the framework of death, resurrection and glory, and the artwork we shared reflected different aspects of each. Artist Emily Adams (Gotham 2010) had “a blast exploring the imagination with the vocational non-artists, which helped me gain a fresh perspective on my own imaginative life!” From a handmade quilt made by one, to a truly glorious orchestral composition written by another alumna, experiencing different artwork deepened our appreciation for the way God can work in and through our imaginations.
One of the great strengths of the Gotham Fellowship is bringing Christians together from diverse backgrounds and vocations and opening a discussion space for ideas to form and develop. Our final working session gave us a chance to imaginatively brainstorm tangible ways to contribute to the church and the city, eliciting rich feedback from architect, dancer and lawyer alike. Recent fellow Jonathan Ng (Gotham 2011) emphasized that the retreat demonstrated that he is “part of a larger Gotham community that seeks to engage in and renew all aspects of our culture—an outworking of the type of balanced, thoughtful and nuanced Christianity that Redeemer has been cultivating for the past 22 years.”
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