Should we give up our craft of writing fiction to pursue “more meaningful” efforts?
I ask this question because through the years I’ve had people tell me they’d stopped reading it in order to focus on publications with more substance. I’ve seen fiction authors ponder whether or not they really had a ministry in their vocation, somehow feeling less honorable than those producing scholarly—or at least non-fiction—work.
I’d have to disagree with this whole-heartedly. Not just because I write it, but because of how it has impacted me. I mean, think of the “greats,” works that made us ponder injustice, poverty and the depth of God’s love.
One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald. He inspired the likes of C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien. In fact, C.S. Lewis credits MacDonald’s fantasies for his conversion from atheism to Christianity. Wouldn’t you like THAT on your resume? George MacDonald is one of my favorites, not because he knew how to craft a good story, but because he wrote God’s people in such a beautiful arrangement of sin and charity, he inspired me to take my empty vessel and see it for all it could be—living the Bible. He also drew word pictures displaying the attributes of God through his characters in ways I’d never have received from a non-fiction work.
Many eschew fiction because of how the world has used fiction for its purposes. Along with the classics that have inspired us to know God, some may have even drawn us away. But rather than hand the tool to the ones who will misuse it, isn’t it time now to take it back, and reverse the trend?
Fiction takes us into worlds not our own. It causes us to see the fullness of our actions, not just the symptoms right in front of us. I’ve learned more history through fiction than I ever did in school. Why? Because the author displayed how events impacted the ordinary man. Now, I know why these events are important and why some should be repeated and others should not!
Fiction is an extraordinary tool that expands our view and deepens our understanding of things. That’s why, among all His other skills, Jesus also used story. His parables illustrated God’s love, contrasted by our faithlessness, in ways we could experience, not just know in the head.
Would Jesus employ something meaningless? I think not.
So as writers, we should be grateful God has called us to a purpose that will not only grow His Kingdom, but also the richness in faith of each of its members.
Carry on, my writer friend :o)!
Connie is a 2012 Genesis semi-finalist for Women’s Fiction. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest for her entry, Why Not to Kiss on a Park Bench (aka. Harold and Violet). Come visit her on one of her other blogs: