Sunday, October 11, 2009

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday ~ Christian Fiction--escapism?


Once again, I bring you my Sunday installment of Amy's FnFS. Here's her newest topic:

I love Christian fiction. Lately I've been realizing my favorite kind of book is a book that deals with faith in all of its reality..doubt, wonder, joy, and pain. Unfortunately, I find these books are too few and far between. Even with so much fantastic Christian fiction, the books that dig into the deepest parts of faith seem hard to come by.

I was reading a review on a general review blog of a Christian fiction title. The reviewer was frustrated by the ease with which complicated situations were resolved. It reminded me of several reviews of another title I love that is Christian fiction that had an ambiguous ending. Many people were frustrated and I read some reviewers say they just wanted a happy ending.

Which brings me to today's question...is Christian fiction too often characterized by escapism? And if it is..do you think it's truly healthy for Christians to constantly take in messages of faith that are light or too easily resolved? Is it okay to have a less than happy ending in a Christian fiction book?

My Answer

Well, first of all, I'd like to say as a blanket statement that IMHO pretty much any fiction regardless if it's Christian is a form of escapism. I could read a Nora Roberts novel and would consider it escapism.

Now, in reference to Christian fiction, I have to say I have had issues with a couple of books that have resolved themselves too easily to the point of being ridiculous, and I'm pretty sure I mentioned that in my post. That kind of stuff seriously annoys me. I like books that feel natural, books that have characters take their time resolving issues.

I realize that books can only be so long and have to have an end somewhere. I do enjoy a good ending, because in a way it gives me hope. On the other hand, it makes me wonder if I'll get that happy ending also. So, it definitely messes with our emotions.

*SPOILER ALERT* One book that I thought didn't resolve the spiritual aspect of it's character is Stretch Marks by Kimberly Stuart. I just finished reading it and was surprisingly ok with no conversion. She didn't stop going to yoga, she never seemed to feel living with her boyfriend was wrong, etc. Her mother tried to share her faith (in her own crazy way), and you could tell that the comments made Mia think, but no conversion. But here's the funny part about this book, even though I'm ok with no conversion in this book, as soon as I closed the book, my first thought was, "Oh, there must be another book to highlight Mia's conversion!" Interesting, huh?

Another book that I like that didn't have the "happy" ending is Nicole Baart's The Moment Between. It tackles mental illness and does a heavy job of it! Fallen by Matthew RaIey hits on the topic of pastoral infidelity! say kudos to those authors who take on difficult life situations that are real to you and me!
When you ask if it's "healthy for Christians to constantly take in messages of faith that are light or too easily resolved," I'm not really sure how to answer, but I'm going to try.

If I didn't read CF I wouldn't be reading at all. I had enough secular reading growing up that I'm not going to put that stuff into my mind. In secular fiction I'd have to deal with sex, swearing, drinking, adultery (probably written about graphically), and all kinds of other stuff that we shouldn't be filling our minds with. Scripture tells us to be careful what we put into our minds.

On the opposite side of the coin, I think it's important for Christian authors to write about relevant topics and true struggles that we all go through. Our problems are rarely solved as quickly as in a novel. But, I think it's vitally important for those same authors to remember the audience they're writing for. We have expectations of CF and that's why we read it instead of secular fiction. If we didn't like the elements in CF, we'd be reading the other stuff. There's a definite purpose to what the Christian authors and publishers do, and for that I am forever grateful!
Again, this is all my opinion and how I view my own reading. Thanks for visiting!


3 comments:

Faith Imagined said...

Great question and very great answer!

Project Journal said...

Another great post Mimi!!

I replyed yesterday to you on my blog if you're interested in an answer to your questions...lol! It's long though, so brace yourself ; )
Hannah

Amy said...

Hmmm. while I agree that nora Roberts is escapism, I don't agree that all fiction is. I think the best fiction confronts us with truth (Christian and general market...and not all general market fiction is bad!) :)

But I appreciate what you're saying.

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