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Spring Edition
Volume 97, Number 4

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a student showcasing her quilt
A student who lives in the Griswold House discusses the complex patterns and symbols of a quilt during the 2006 Spring Symposium.
Messiah explores the power of imagination
2006 Spring Humanities Symposium focuses on human potential for creative thinking

Imagination is one of the most powerful human capacities. It allows us to create, to think, to hypothesize, to progress as a society. To further explore the realm of the imagination, the Center for Public Humanities selected “The Power of the Human Imagination” as the theme for its 2006 Spring Humanities Symposium, held in February. The weeklong series of lectures, films, and student-faculty cooperative seminars was envisioned as an opportunity for the campus “to explore the many aspects of imagination as a driving force in human life,” according to the Messiah College Center for Public Humanities website.

Wendy M. Wright, a well-known author, theologian, and the John C. Kenefick Faculty Chair in Humanities at Creighton University, anchored the event with a keynote address entitled “Faith and the ‘Poetic’ Imagination.” Her lecture challenged the audience of students, faculty, staff, and community visitors to adopt imaginative perspectives on life and the Christian faith. She encouraged the exploration of faith through a ‘poetic’ imagination: one that looks past the surface assumptions and into the deeper implications of our beliefs.

“Examining the inscape [inner reality] of faith,” said Wright, “lets us see into the deeper meaning of things.” She quoted poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who says that there is the “dearest freshness [in the] deep down things.” Hopkins contends that Christians can best find God in life’s simplest wonders.

In addition to Wright’s address, the symposium featured several lectures from professors concerning the specific nature of imagination in their various fields; a number of student-faculty colloquia; screenings of the films The Fisher King and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, sponsored by the Student Activities Board; and two presentations entitled “Musical Imagination,” featuring orchestral and piano recitals by students and faculty in the Department of Music.

 —Devin Thomas ’09
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