Monday, October 13, 2008

It's ONLY Fiction - Defining, Discussing & Setting a Personal Standard - Part V

When discussing a book, I've often heard people say, "What's the big deal? After all, it's ONLY fiction." At times, I've said the same thing. Hmm, this assumes fiction is meaningless and has no impact on the way we think, see our world, or live. Is this true?

Alice in Wonderland was a political statement written in fictional form. Charles Dickens' works pointed out the evils of his day without confronting the establishment. Uncle Tom's Cabin decried slavery and fueled the anti-slavery movement. Only fiction?

Christian authors freely admit to promoting a relationship with the Lord, family values, and handling problems in a way pleasing to God. Only fiction?

When a book comes along undermining and questioning Biblical truth, perhaps it's prudent to guard our hearts. Is he or she acting like the serpent in the Garden questioning God's motives. Is the author planting seeds of destruction in our minds? Only fiction?

Food for thought: How has Christian fiction impacted your life? Are there books in the ABA, which have had a negative effect on you or someone you know?


Christa Parrish said...


I was reading a Christian blog the other day, calling fiction - for the mot part - a distraction from the real work of the Lord. *Ouch!*
I've been profoundly affected by the fiction I read, and it's honestly mostly by ABA books. Those are the stories that give me the opportunity to grapple, to confront my own beliefs, and yes, to even greive and pray for the world.

Of course, I'm an Abraham Kuyper gal - “There is not one square inch in the whole domain of human existence as to which Christ who is sovereign over all does not cry out ‘Mine!’” The ability to create comes from God, and there is almost always something Godly in it. I'm not recommending sifting through filth to find the one spark when there are plenty of places where the Lord shines through art. But, I also don't brand something "unGodly" becuase it's considered "secular."

Okay, I've rambled long enough!!! Thank you, Susan, for this blog - makes me think :)


Jessica Nelson said...

That's a good question and something to think about. Certainly fiction helps us to question and think about the world in which we live. Nice point, Susan!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Christa -

People who make such statements often have not read today's Christian fiction. The Lord used several Karen Kingsbury books to help me through the loss of my husband. This is only one example of the impact Christian fiction has had on my life.

Telling a story will often show truths in a way people can accept. We teach children through stories all the time. Look at the lessons of Veggie Tales.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

Many people view fiction of any kind as mindless entertainment. I don't think any kind of entertainment lacks message. With that in mind, it's important to choose our entertainment based on our values.

We understand the importance of family-friendly movies. That same mindset applies to the other arts.

Thanks for commenting. Always nice to see you and share.

Susan :)

Mike Dellosso said...

I think one of the challenges a Christian author faces is not just write a good, entertaining story, but to write one with some eternal value, some message or theme the writer can take away from the story.

A book I read that impacted me like none other is Athol Dickson's RIVER RISING. There's one line in the book that pretty much sums up the whole story and nails the theme. I won't give anything away but it's a beautiful and moving picture of how Jesus identifies with each of us where we are.

Yes, fiction can impact lives and the challenge for Christian authors is to impact lives in a positive, life-changing way.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Mike -

Thanks for joining the discussion.

I saw a comment on another blog, pointing out that nothing is exclusively done for entertainment value. There's always a point the author, artist, or actor is trying to get across to others.

I completely agree with you that as Christian writers giving a take-away of eternal value is paramount. When the focus slips to what will sell or what's trendy, we've lost sight of our purpose.

Thanks again for your insightful comments.

Susan :)