In Defense of Fiction
If you’re reading this the chances are good you don’t believe reading fiction requires a defense, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. But as an avid reader, writer, or fill-in-the-blanker have you ever encountered somebody with serious attitude toward the object of our shared affection?
I bet you have.
And so have I.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, and I take no issue with personal preferences that differ from my own. I do, however, balk when folks turn their collective noses up, and thereby put the rest of us book lovers down in the process.
Not. Cool. People.
But I get it.
For a long time, I wasn’t much of a reader. I didn’t connect well with the books assigned in school so additional reading… no thank you! Fast forward a decade and add a husband and two kids to the mix and I realized I hadn’t read an actual book in years!
Being the crazy person that I am, I made a New Year’s Resolution to read a book a week, and while I didn’t meet that goal, I did read about 40.
And that’s HUGE!!!
Most of those titles were nonfiction and related to Christian living. They were important topics and easy to justify any expense or time holed away on my own. They were useful, helpful, but often the messages didn’t stick with me after I closed the back cover.
You know what I mean?
Story is a powerful thing, so powerful even Jesus used it. Now, I won’t dare say I’ve read anything that competes with scripture (nope, nope, nope). But can fiction teach truth?
And an ‘Absolutely’ just to top it off!
While I’ve definitely read my share of “entertainment only” psychological thrillers or fluffy romances, I’ve also read plenty of heart-wrenching stories that have encouraged me, challenged me, and embedded deep spiritual truths into my soul.
As somebody who didn’t grow up in the church, I often found myself asking “but what does that look like?” after sermons and bible study lessons.
Cast our cares on Him? Okay, but what does that look like?
Trust in the Lord with all my heart? Lean not on my own understanding? Mmmkay, but how?
Ideally, we have these answers in Titus 2 women and men, mentors who are more mature than we are, but that’s not always the case and it certainly hasn’t been for me. While nothing could or should replace those real-life role models, quality fiction can be a wonderful supplement.
I’ve peeked inside of life or death situations and seen flawed heroes and heroines make tough choices and stand firm. I’ve seen marriages face insurmountable odds yet hold strong. And as a writer I’ve considered what the future could look like and forced myself to answer the question – How would God’s people deal with this? What might that look like?
If the dystopian genre is supposed to be depressing then I did it wrong, because my trilogy gave me hope, and a better understanding of how God can use hard times for good.
These past few years have been tough, and I needed that hope and all the lessons learned. I’m so glad that I found them in multiple places, including books. And if anybody wants to argue that it wasn’t real… that I’ve wasted my time?
Let ‘em, they have the right to be wrong ;)
There are many more arguments to justify this pastime that I love but seeing as this is just a simple blog post and not a novel (so maybe the naysayers will read it), I think I’ll leave it here.
The defense rests!