What makes for a good movie? What makes for a good piece of music? What makes for a good blog post?
"Room for imagination."
Tom Wright says that "the onlooker needs room for imagination, and loses interest if the artist leaves no room for it."
This has finally made me realise what it is about Heat (the movie, not the magazine) that I love so much. Everytime I watch it, I'm left thinking that different outcomes can transpire. My imagination refuses to conform to what I know to be true, and instead runs wild with the possibilites that the movie creates there and then, in the present. Maybe they'll kill Waingro right at the beginning, maybe they'll get away with the bank job, maybe McCauley won't chase revenge and will simply fly to freedom with his lover.
Perhaps it's time I stop thinking of theology as a science and start thinking of it as an art. If Jesus and his parables are anything to go by, then it is imagination that gets us closer to the heart of God. This shouldn't be surprising, since God himself is a creator, an artist.
Orson Welles said,
I want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won’t contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That’s what gives the theater meaning: when it becomes a social act.
On most if not all occasions what we get in the gospels is only "a hint of a scene", but maybe that is precisely what we need if we are to know in the way we ought to know.