Some beginnings

The purpose of the Kalos Foundation is to explore how the Arts strengthen our faith through our imagination so that we may know Christ more fully.

An expansion of this brief purpose statement involves considering three questions:

  • What does it mean for believers to be “in Christ” and therefore to be a new creature? (2 Cor 5:17)
  • And if we are new creatures, how are our minds renewed? (Rom 12:2)
  • And if we have been made new and our minds are renewed, how do we participate in the reconciliation of all things?  (2 Cor 5:18; Col 1:20)

The first question:  Christ’s own language and the language of the apostles is that, by faith, believers undergo a radical transformation. Although scholars may debate the mechanics of how this occurs, the New Testament is clear that it does occur indeed. The promise of our new creation is both present and future. The verbs used are both present and future tense, and our hope is in the ultimate and complete re-creation of the New Earth and New Heavens. But before that great day, we have been made new already. The claim is an extravagant one, and it is doubtful that the full ramifications of Christ’s work in our lives will ever be comprehended. But despite the inability to completely grasp the fullness of his work, Scripture is clear that a partial understanding is possible and we can rejoice in that revelation.

The second question: How are our minds renewed? We typically think of our minds as our reason—our logical, analyzing faculties that assess the accuracy or truth of statements and propositions. (e.g. “Childhood is a time of curiosity and joy.”) This aspect of our minds is often equated in popular culture with the actions of computers, and in the typical Christian culture with the validity of doctrines.

But it is a great error to limit our minds to reason alone. Our imaginations are essential to our humanity and to our understanding. Unfortunately, the modern idea is that the imagination consists only of daydreaming, fantasy, and “pink unicorns”—things far less useful than our clear logic and therefore dismissed as trivial or secondary. But the problem lies in this unfortunate and inaccurate definition of our imagination. A better, more complete, and more accurate definition is the faculty of our mind that assesses meaning: it grasps the intent of the story, the metaphor in the poem or the painting, and the significance of the music. (“Our birth is but a cloudssleep and a forgetting/…but trailing clouds of glory do we come/ from God, who is our home”) The fact that that Jesus taught primarily in parables rather than propositions supports the thesis that we understand through our imagination.

The mind therefore includes both reason and imagination and these together lead us to a more complete understanding of all things. Propositions alone are often stark and the fullness of their meaning is not apparent to our reason, but their meaning is made more complete through our imagination. Imagination alone needs grounding in truth, which is the purpose of our reason. By renewing our imagination and our reason, we can understand and experience and delight in the fuller revelation of who Christ is and what He came to do.

The third question: It may seem odd to consider that believers have any role at all to play in the reconciliation of all things. Since Christ’s work is total and completed how do we participate in this reconciliation? An obvious answer is the sharing of the gospel of Christ with others, but, again, this is an incomplete view.

Not only is the call to repentance necessary, but also our thinking (our minds) must be transformed so that we have the mind of Christ (so that we truly see what Jesus sees; we think as Jesus thinks; we love as Jesus loves). This task is obviously not yet completed.

Striving to have the mind of Christ requires an honest appraisal of our own minds: For example, do we see all men as made in the image of God? Do we see the beauty that God has created in this world, the goodness of his lavish provisions for us, and the glories of the truths of who we are in Christ? And, as a consequence of our reflection on these things, do we yearn to dwell with the One who is Beauty, Truth and Goodness? The desire to experience God in this way and the delight of knowing him deeply is the goal of the man as a new creation.

So how shall we then live?

RCR (2-13-13)