Sunday, February 10, 2008
Christian fiction - a new take on the parable?
Reading about Christian fiction, browsing blog sites, I'm come across a range of views. Some people who like to read for entertainment enjoy reading fiction that is written from a Christian perspective, and fair enough too. If the Christian teachings are real to you, then you want them reflected in everything, including your chosen recreation. Apart from that , though, if fiction can have a didactic purpose, which many people agree that it can, then that too applies to Christian fiction. The parables that Jesus told were stories intended to make point; and a Christian story can do that. It looks at what could happen, or the sort of thing that has happened, and looks at the Christian observations to be drawn from it. If people think fiction is a waste of time, could I suggest that you rethink that; because fiction may be about something that easily could happen even if it has not - as far as we know. And there may be lessons to be learnt. When I write, I have to feel strongly about what is happening to the characters I create, and since I'm Christian myself it is impossible to make up a story that does not recognize the fact. It would be like trying to make up a story in which humans did not speak. The whole concept of telling the story, about humans, would be so limited that it would hardly be worth while. Christian fiction has a place. The fables of Aesop became classics of literature because of the didactic genius they show. Any story which is didactic without being cheesy can show the reader something. A comment I once heard, which sounds good to me, is that fiction can enable the reader to experience something in their imagination which they could not in life; and to learn from it the way the might if they lived it. It is a shame that 'fiction' as a word has been a bit discredited because it can be a demeaning word for a lie or silly belief. Fiction is actually one of the things that mark out humans from other less cerebral life forms. We make up stories, poems, songs, and they show something about us. So far as I know, there is no other life form which does this.