Karen Swallow Prior, professor of English at Liberty University and Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, begins each semester by exhorting her students to see the connections between the life of the intellect and the life of faith. She makes a sharp case for why Christians must be readers and writers.
Even in a world supposedly driven by pictures and sounds, books continue to be one of the most important ways we shape culture. Here are three highlights from this article:
1) Christianity is a religion of the written word. Christianity gives a primary place to the word over the image: God’s highest form of communication with us is through the written word (from the Ten Commandments to Holy Scripture to Jesus as the Word); God cautions us about the power of visual images or “graven images” (see Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death), and the Protestant Reformation reinforced the primacy of words over images); Christianity is responsible for preserving and disseminating the written word and literacy throughout the world as the invention of the printing press was motivated by the desire of Christians to get the Bible into the hands of the people. The word both spoken and written is central to our faith in countless ways.
2) When we take delight in literary creations, we imitate God. God took delight in his creation in looking upon it and declaring that “it was good.” It is good to take pleasure and enjoyment in our good creations, including literary ones.
3) Literary Christians are better equipped to engage a postmodern culture. Postmodernism is characterized by an emphasis on language and “story”; for many today the aesthetic experience has replaced the religious experience. Christians who understand this can more effectively engage the current culture.
You can find the rest of the article here.