“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
― Lloyd Alexander (January 30, 1924 – May 17, 2007), an American author of more than 40 books, mostly fantasy novels, including The Chronicles of Prydain series. He won the Newbery Medal in 1969.
I’ve never understood this idea some have that novels, particularly Christian ones, are bad because all they provide is an escape from daily life—as if that escape, that retreat from reality, is a bad thing.
It is during the time I spend reading (and writing) that I best come to understand life and my place in it. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned have come from reading novels, Christian or otherwise. This time is not bad, it’s essential.
What value has reading or writing fiction provided you? What lessons have you learned?
Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line
It was a Biblical novel that helped bring Jesus to a physical reality to me. That novel was Ellen Gunderson Traylor’s John, Son of Thunder. It changed my faith, strengthened it as I could visualize Jesus walking with me.
Ane, that’s so cool. Thanks for sharing!
I can’t remember exactly how she said it, but Melody Carlson has said that hard truths can be tackled without hurting anyone.
When we have wrestled with or experienced these truths, God has given us a responsibility to share them, without dragging the real people through the muck National Enquirer style. Instead, He gives us imaginary friends to shine through and touch others’ hearts. Who, but God, not only employs real people in his mighty work, but fictional ones as well? Certainly, my eyes have been opened, my heart healed, and have been drawn closer to my Lord through the magic of novels-whether reading them or writing them.
Great question. Can’t wait to see the other comments!
I, of course, agree. I love the idea that God uses real and fictional people to accomplish His work. I’ve always believed it, but have never quite framed it that way. Thanks for sharing!
There are lessons to be learned in all sorts of stories, be they fiction or non. Jesus Himself used parables to make several points, which were word pictures to give His listeners a clearer understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven and/or biblical principles. Novels have the same potential. I’ve walked away from several Christian novels better equipped to live out my faith. Great post.
Tanara, I’ve even put down a couple secular novels that have built my faith. Maybe Jesus was on to something when he taught by story? LOL!
I meant for that last post to go here :-).
I agree! The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (though I loathe how it ultimately ended) really convicted me as a wife. Though O-Lan wasn’t Christian, everything about her manner, hard work, and longsuffering spoke 1 Peter 3 to me. She got the short end of it when it all played out, and her husband was horrible, but that only added to how honorable she came across. I walked away with a good dose of humility and a lot less self.