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Description: Senses of the Soul explores the way art and visual elements are incorporated into Christian worship. It incorporates research conducted in Los Angeles congregations. Through extensive interviews in a sample of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox congregations it looks into the way visual elements actually become part of the experience of worship. By looking at attitudes and experiences of beauty, art, and memories, it suggests that believers appropriate images and aesthetic encounters in terms of imaginative structures that have been formed through worship practices over time. By comparing responses across denominations, the book proposes that people receive visual elements in ways that have been shaped by long traditions and specific background beliefs. In addition to discussions of the differences between the major Christian traditions, the book also examines the relation of art and beauty to worship, the role of memories and everyday life, and the power of images in spirituality and worship. By its focus on the worshiper, the book seeks to make a contribution to the growing conversation between the arts and Christian worship and to the process of worship renewal. Endorsements: ""Senses of the Soul is an invaluable grass-roots study of how people actually use and engage the visual aspects of Christian worship. Rather than emphasizing what theology and liturgy think the arts should contribute (or not) to worship, Dyrness breaks new ground by listening to ordinary Christians' talk about what the arts actually do contribute. In so doing, he re-draws the boundaries of art and points to the power of our religious imaginations to direct our engagement with the visual and physical dimensions of Christian worship. I am very much looking forward to using this book in my own teaching and research."" --Lisa DeBoer Art Historian, Westmont College ""William Dyrness offers us here a very timely and strategic contribution to the growing conversation about how the arts can contribute to worship and the life of faith. By listening to so many varied voices of worshipers in actual congregations, Dyrness offers many illuminating insights that promise to sharpen not only the work of artists in many media, but also the faith life of pastors, theologians, worship leaders, and all thoughtful Christians who long for a multi-sensory life of prayer."" --John D. Witvliet Director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Professor of Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary ""Senses of the Soul is a pioneering contribution to the ways in which Christians appropriate visual images in worship. Based on eighty interviews with individuals from Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic congregations in Southern California, this book creatively blends empirical research with theological and social-scientific insight. The book is richly illustrated with photos of religious images from the sites where William Dyrness did his research. This book opens a fresh chapter in our understanding of the embodiment of religious experience in artistic expression."" --Donald E. Miller Executive Director, Center for Religion and Civic Culture University of Southern California About the Contributor(s): William A. Dyrness is Professor of Theology and Culture in the School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author most recently of Reformed Theology and Visual Culture (2004) and Visual Faith (2001).
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