Spirituality and the Media Arts

Even at a length of just under 100 pages, Ron Austin’s In a New Light: Spirituality and the Media Arts is four or five books in one, a quality that proves to be both an asset and a considerable stumbling block. Jumping hastily from theological aesthetics to film history to personal testimony, while also proposing a particular, collaborative approach to film production, Austin sounds an important wake-up call to inattentive consumers and creators of popular entertainment. That he moves too quickly at times, leaving certain parts of his argument in sketch form and making occasional factual errors along the way, is perhaps excusable in a book of this length and scope, but it’s a disappointment nonetheless. In a New Light is otherwise a significant little book—not to mention a pleasurably readable one—that reintroduces much-needed terms like “transcendence,” “imagination,” “empathy,” and “art” into a dialogue too often dominated, instead, by celebrity gossip, box office returns, and, particularly in Christian circles, simple moralizing.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2008
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