Through the Rose Window: Art, Myth and the Religious Imagination

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9781558964280: Through the Rose Window: Art, Myth and the Religious Imagination

Fourteen essays explore the many roles of art and religion as vehicles for transcendent truth

“This is the fruit of a lifetime of reflection on the importance of imagination in religion. Thought provoking yet written in readable and beautiful language, these reflections are themselves works of art. This book will be a delight to readers of a variety of religious and non-religious stances.” — Jerome Stone, Meadville/Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago

Religion, itself a human art, is presented as an invention of the human imagination rather than a gift from a divine source. Like religion, the arts express depths that are not readily available for rational analysis yet are deeply felt in human experience. In these essays, Hayward samples literature, music and the visual arts to demonstrate how the arts reveal “the true music of life.” He discusses myths, which he calls “true-fictions”, as a primary vehicle for religious expression. Hayward invites readers to view the Bible not as “one pure strain of religious witness,” but as a source of affirmations and denials of divine glory and human worth, divine judgment and human frailty. Persuasive and thought provoking, Hayward is an eloquent spokesman for liberal religion’s faith in the human spirit.

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About the Author:

John F. Hayward was minister at the First Unitarian Church of Columbus, Ohio, and served on the faculty at Meadville/Lombard Theological School and Southern Illinois University. Kenneth A. Olliff is the editor of The Journal of Liberal Religion.

From Booklist:

The title of this collection of eight sermons, three lectures, and three essays refers to the rose window in Chicago's First Unitarian Church, regarding it as a unifying symbol. Hayward served 40 years as that congregation's pastor, organizing his academic work, which is also represented here, around his service. The window provides Hayward occasion for reflecting on the technology and craft of stained glass and on the mystical experience of encountering this particular example of the medium. The whole book's spirit is distilled in a story from the end of a 1978 Easter sermon Hayward preached in Carbondale, Illinois. He recalls when one of his sons came home from school and announced "to his Unitarian mother" that "Jesus is the Son of God," to which she replied, "So are you, honey." Mother and son "were satisfied and at peace with this good news," Hayward says. Readers of this engaging celebration of a life devoted to liberal Christianity may share those feelings. Steven Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Hayward, John F.
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