Sunday, February 7, 2010

Faith'n'Fiction Saturday: Why Should Christians Read Fiction?

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday is a weekly event where we discuss the intersection of Faith and Fiction. You are welcome to respond in comments or by writing a post on your blog and leaving your link in Mister Linky. Faith 'n Fiction is found at My Friend Amy's Blog.
Today we're going to discuss why Christians should read fiction. If you are a lover of fiction, it's no doubt that you're heard all sorts of arguments against spending time reading it. In fact, a commenter just this week on my blog said she's heard it referred to as emotional porn. The very concept of Christian fiction had a huge battle to face in conservative circles and is, in my opinion, still facing those battles in its attempts to grow. Is there any value in reading fiction for Christians? Why are some people so resistant to the idea of reading fiction? If you DON'T read fiction, why don't you read it? (Please keep in mind we are talking about ALL fiction and not just Christian fiction).
Ok, let me start with this...WHAT? I've never heard of anyone disparaging fiction as a form of reading or its value. This is quite a shock to me as I love Christian fiction; suspense, historical, romance, YA, etc.
First of all, I learn so much from fiction. An author can put their characters in situations I can relate to. I can learn from how they resolve issues they're dealing with. True, sometimes they're a bit unrealistic, but I can still glean from their stories.

Second, I'll never get to live in the 1800's in Europe. I won't ever attend balls or wear the gowns they wore. I won't ever get to meander through estate gardens. And I won't get to ride daily in a carriage. Switch that to the Wild West. I'll never get to experience falling in love with a Texas Ranger (unless he's a baseball player). I won't travel over mountains in a covered wagon and start over in unchartered territory. With fiction, I can live vicariously through the lives of the characters.

Next I appreciate the escape that I can have when I read Christian fiction. Life can get overwhelming and one of the things I do for myself is to read. I struggle with reading non-fiction because I can't always relate to it, or it's so overwhelming that I can't take it all in. I'm definitely not saying non-fiction is something I won't read. It is an important part of my growth.

I guess if someone were to get legalistic about reading anything but fiction, they could go overboard and say reading anything but the Bible is evil. I don't believe that. I think their minds are completely closed off and are similar to the Pharisees. I believe God has given authors a gift with their words and that they can share God's heart through fictional characters.

There's nothing that will change the fact that I read Christian fiction. It's a wonderful blessing in my life!


Joe @ 20 to Life said...

Myself, I'm a reader of fiction. I love being whisked away to another time and place, to live in anothers shoes - and then to come right back to my very own shoes/family and life/reality. I don't see anything wrong with it - my Faith is firmly in tact, I'm not lost day after day in a book, and I know that most everything is best in moderation, so that's what I do. I'm curious as to why someone wouldn't read fiction - it's a great escape! As long as you're still reading your scriptures ... why not!
(Love your blog - the background is stellar! And I love your wee character at the top, relaxing, refreshed looking, a "Happy" Mom - love it! You have some great taste!)
Joe @ 20 to Life, MBC & FFF xx

Laura said...

Do you read Francine Rivers?! She's my favorite at the moment! "Redeeming Love" is seriously one of the best books I've ever read! Love it!

Mimi N said...

Joe, I'd love to find out who read fiction either. They'd probably think something was wrong with my face because I'd be making so many odd faces trying to understand their way of thinking!

Laura, Francine River's Redeeming Love is probably one of my all time favorite books! That book is timeless and will forever be on my book shelf. Ugh, I don't even have the words to share how awesome this book is!!

Angie Christensen, RDN said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm a follower. Beautiful blog!

Lucie said...

I totally LOVE your blog first of all!!
I have never heard anyone say that reading fiction is wrong thankfully because I would probably fall over in shock LOL!
I am a strong believer of reading in general. That being said, I think that reading the Bible is certainly important. Also, reading good non-fiction books like a self-help book on getting organized, or a book that helps with relationships, those all have their places.
But it’s really the fiction books that give me a little vacation (sometimes when I cannot afford to go on a real one!).
I read some non-Christian books but I really try to read mainly Christian. That's just my personal convictions.
The Christian fiction books also have the innate ability to interweave Biblical truths into the characters and situations which can give me some real perspective. I also think that when I read mostly Christian fiction I am truly putting "whatever is holy, and pure, and of good repute" into my mind and yes, even "renewing" my mind when the writing is with strong convictions and high moral standards.
And I agree with you Mimi, that these authors can "share God's heart through fictional characters." God is so good at gifting us with talents that He uses for His purposes!


LucieInCA (at) aol (dot) com

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