The book All Things New is a collection of short essays about 500 or 600 words each, so they’re easy to jump in and read. They’re meant to just be a primer, an introduction to a range of topics, and I’ve organized the essays into six areas: the first section is on art and creativity. I talk about the theology behind creativity, what the Bible has to say about art, what God’s delight in beauty are all about and how we show creativity in various aspects of our Christian lives. Then I look at the artists’ call, specifically looking at creative people who have been gifted in these creative areas and how they can use their gifts for the glory of God, not just in making Christian art, per se, but also making excellent and beautiful art, how they glorify God through that—whatever field they are working in; whether it’s visual arts, drama, theater, photography and so on. The third section is on literature where I explore poetry, stories, and writing. The fourth section is on music, and I write about some of the great musicians of the past. I examine how Christian musicians like J. S. Bach, for example, did all things for the glory of God. There is a little section on cinema. Looking at not only being careful of the kind of films that we watch but also encouraging people in the kind of films they could make for the glory of God; and then there is a sort of a catch-all section, section six, is on faith and culture dealing with other elements of art and creativity that I didn’t explore under the previous headings. My favorite section of the book is on literature. This is where I explore an area that’s particularly near and dear to my life. I enjoy reading. I teach literature to students, and so I was able to explore what literature means to me personally and how I think it can help us. The more we study literature, the more we improve our ability to read artistic works, it helps us with our reading of the Bible itself. The Bible is a work of literature: it does have poetic elements, it does have a narrative style. There are elements that we need to approach the Bible, using those literary lenses, if we’re going to get the full meaning out of it. And so the more we train ourselves on reading other forms of fiction, poetry, and so on, the better equipped we are actually to handle the Scriptures rightly and to treat it the way it’s meant to be treated. If it’s a historical text; historical record. If it’s poetic, prophetic, letters, whatever the case is—the more we train ourselves into recognizing different forms of different styles, different devices, then the more equipped we are to handle the Scriptures.
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