Monday, October 15, 2012

Faith & Fiction: Finding a Balance

Jaime and I love nothing better than a steaming mug of Guatemalan coffee over a great fiction reader's review or a brainstorm of our latest WIP, work in progress. Simply put--we love to chat about made up stuff!

I'm aware that some (somewhere, not here though! LOL) are critical of "Christian Fiction"as if made up things are false and therefore negate any possible positive benefit to the Christian life. That logic might work for the logical, but then I don't believe faith is strictly logical.

But while we might enjoy a great fake story, no one is advocating being fake. 
There's a huge difference.

Last week I was reading Brennan Manning's The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. He reminds us: "Concern for appearance might be the American original sin; it goes right along with fake furs, paste jewelry, sawdust hot dogs and deceptive advertising. Such self deception is subtle, even for a while relatively harmless. But the temptation to settle for looking good while everything is falling apart inside can be dangerous. After a long season of accepting appearances for reality, a Christian forgets what the truth even sounds like."(page 116)

Great fiction should point us to the truth, lead us to it, paint it for us--it should touch us deeply with truth. We are raised knowing right from wrong, but most often it is the more subtle things in our lives that are the trickiest for us. That's why I love it when I'm reading a great nonfiction like this one, or a great fiction read and I get that ah-ha moment when the author has touched a spot in me, and I have to go back and reread it again. In fact, often the subtler things take rereading many times.

So next time you are reading and you find yourself challenged not to pretend, but to pay attention to what might be falling apart in your life--underline it, reread it, copy it down, let it sink in and change you. Let us shake off the fake things in us and take hold of the unshakable things of His Kingdom.

Hebrews 12: 28 "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."

What have you read recently that gave you pause for the ah-ha moment?


   

     

22 comments:

  1. That is an awesome quote and I completely agree with the sentiment. I actually just had an ah-ha moment yesterday with....(surprise) the Bible! LOL

    Hadn't had one with fiction in a while, but I love it when I do.

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    1. Yes, the most important ah-ha should be from the Bible, so true Jessica. I love it when a fiction work makes me ponder a point with a fresh pair of eyes, a new perspective.

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  2. Need to add that to my reading list. I love Brennan Manning's work.

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  3. This post just gave me an ah-ha moment! I'm in Arizona surrounded by fake. My work conference is a bit depressing. Dress to impress, talk to impress, breathe to impress. My size 14 doesn't fit in here and my Wisconsin ways seem backward. Not to mention I don't drink so its making me quite unpopular. But confidence in the Truth and knowing who I am in Jesus...I an content!

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    1. Amen. WIll pray for your week at the conference.

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  4. Hi Anne!!

    I love fiction because we can take the reader where he or she dares not go and teach them something they're too afraid to know.
    I can write "real" into an imaginary situation that still takes God's truth to heart.

    My most recent a-ha moment? That I have to take a chance at success, but not be afraid of it, or let it change me, when it arrives.

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  5. Hi Jen!
    Right, sometimes success looms scarier than failure! Both success and failure have great power to change a person, perhaps equal power, but different results? In Christ we are more than conquerers....

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  6. I love the call to be real. If we aren't real, vulnerable, then people will never be able to see what Jesus has done in our lives!

    I love what you said about fiction pointing us to the truth. Amen.

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    1. I promise I'll be real when we get together tonight! :) :):)

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  7. I love that quote! This is a great post. I had some wonderful Ah-ha! moments at the ACFW conference. It seemed like there was a real focus on the writers' spiritual lives, which I thought was amazing.

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  8. That quote has been sinking in for the last 2 weeks for me, I find myself rereading it often.
    One reason I was so bummed I couldn't attend ACFW this year was because it always seems to be a worshipful, spiritual experience as well as challenging my small writing brain!

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    1. Amen!!! That's a major difference I'm noticing between my work conference this week and the ACFW conference. At ACFW people are there with an attitude of worship,seeking and service. Here it's blatant self-serving. ugh. This post was SO timely, ANNE!

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    2. Hugs to you, have fun tonight with Lindsay! I'm jealous! :o) Drink some amazing Starbucks decaf tonight!!

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  9. Oh, goodness. Lots of things, both fiction and non.

    Jesus used examples, parables to teach stories. Good fiction will do exactly that. So I applaud your defense of fiction. There are certainly great and wonderful ways to use a sanctified imagination that will make a difference for others.

    I'm glad.

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    1. Sanctified imagination---love that phrase Rhonda! Will certainly reuse that one! Loved,loved, loved your blog post today too. Such a great reminder of God's voice in our lives!

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  10. My most recent Ah-ha moment just occurred in your words..."Great fiction should point us to the truth, lead us to it, paint it for us--it should touch us deeply with truth." Love it!!

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  11. I know!! Don't you love that quote!!! I'm going to post it on my writing room wall!!

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  12. Great post! I'm a huge fan of fiction that entertains me and challenges me all at the same time. Lately I've been reading a non-fiction book that has me reaching for the highlighter every other sentence -- "Not a Fan" by Kyle Idleman. Talk about challenging! :)

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  13. Hi Sarah! Yes, I've read Kyle's book too. Our church did a whole series on "Not a Fan". I liked the video series that took everyday events and applied scripture, pushing it to a deeper level.

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