One of the legacies of the modern era has been the secularization of culture. For much of the twentieth century, the belief that God is dead, or at least inaccessible, has stripped a great deal of religious vision and wisdom from the modern imagination. Most of our leading critics and thinkers have been skeptical of, or indifferent to, artistic expressions of religious faith.
A culture is governed by its reigning myths. However, in the latter days of the twentieth century, there is an uneasy sense that materialism cannot sustain or nourish our common life. Thankfully, religion and art have always shared the capacity to help us to renew our awareness of the ultimate questions: who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going.
Understandably, religion and art also need each other. When we lack the kind of stimulus which only the imagination can provide, we make it more difficult to live the life of faith. And art, when it sees no creation to celebrate, and no soul in need of nurturing, loses its respect for truth.
Clearly, our culture is now more open to the art that engages the age-old tradition of exploring God's ways with man. Secular ideologies have lost much of their appeal and once again people are hungering for the unifying vision of the religious imagination.
This is the context out of which Image has emerged. Living as we do in a fragmented society, the need for cultural renewal is greater than at any time in our history. Despite the rise of secularism, America remains a religious nation, and it is ultimately in religious vision that healing and renewal are to be found.
Unfortunately, many Christians have allowed themselves to become so estranged from contemporary culture that they have essentially given up any hope of influencing the artists who will create the visual images, stories, and music that shape our time.
Few Christians have applied the concept of "stewardship" to culture itself. While it has been natural for Christians to see themselves as stewards of natural resources, or wealth, or the institutional church, there has been little sense of stewardship over our national culture.
Image speaks with equal force and relevance to the secular culture and to the church. By finding fresh ways for the imagination to embody religious truth and religious experience, Image challenges believers and nonbelievers alike.
Through a commitment to artistic excellence and religious truth, Image has taken its place on the "public square" and is poised to make a lasting impact on the future of our national culture.
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