Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Beauty and the Power of Christian Fiction

I recently read a passage in a novel that, for me, completely demonstrated the beauty and power of Christian fiction.

When the heroine wonders about the changes God subtlely has been making in her life, and how, if she's a new creature as the Bible says, she still thinks and does bad things, her friend compares her state to that of an amputee who still physically feels the missing limb even though it is obviously gone, a condition known as "phantom leg".  He goes on to tell her:

"So long as you have an earthly body, sin dwells in this body.   All our bodies are programmed for death.  But that's just your body.  Your inner man was renewed with Christ.  When you find yourself doing things that don't line up with who you are, that's the phantom.  You can feel and act and link like something you're not.  What matters is when God looks at you.  He doesn't see that old you.  He views you in Christ.  He's trying to get us all to behold what He sees." 

"...to behold what He sees."

Simple truth.

I know lots of readers don't like "preachy" fiction, but this small passage was as preachy at this book got.  Believe me, there was lots more stuff that would raise more than a few brows on the faces of church folks--and produce some unseemly snorts of laughter.

This conversation took place between two characters in a TGIF restaurant over a chicken and cheese dish and salad.  It was followed by a kiss.  He's a guy in ministry who wishes people would see him for who he is, not simply as a pastor, and she's a woman who is living with another guy and fighting off the effects of Walmart on her aunt's neighborhood store.

Don't worry.  No spoilers in that if you decide to read Someone To Watch Over Me by Michelle Stimpson.

Real people with real problems.  A teensy bit preachy, but mostly thought provoking.

Gospel truths wrapped up in an entertaining package.

That's the beauty and power of Christian fiction.

Fiction can touch people in places they fear or resist to allow the Gospel to tread.  Usually because they don't see it coming or maybe they're just more inclined to ride along with an entertaining story.

I wish I'd had this kind of fiction when I was coming up.  As a teenager and young woman, had I read this passage, I might not have wondered whether I was "saved" for real when I made mistakes.  I finally got a true understanding in my late 20's, some 15 years after I'd given my life to Christ.

So many years wasted on guilt and shame.

In addition to sharing Scripture with new converts or even long time believers, try handing them a carefully selected novel.  A Christian fiction novel.

Christian fiction can change lives.


Dee428@verizon.net said...

I hear and understand and agree. I wish this type of writing had been available..but God's timing for all things is perfect. We might both think that had we understood sooner than our lives might have been different...but maybe not..maybe we understood at tghe right time and it was there that grace did the most and best because we were in the right place at the right time..God's timing not understood by us doesn't diminish it in any way. Thanks my sister

PatriciaW said...

Dee, I knew then and I know even more now how much God's grace kept me. I won't say I didn't take it for granted when I was younger, but I'm glad I've lived to tell the tale...and to witness to the goodness and the glory of God.