- On Literature and Reading Fiction/Fantasy – Hf #134
This is our second year running our Christian reading challenge for women and our Christian reading challenge for men. And with it, we often get the question about reading fantasy, media choices, and how to approach this as Christians. That's what we are chatting about today!
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How we approach reading fiction
Jason and I love reading fiction! And among our very favorite fiction reading are fantasy novels. So the very first thing we need to cover: is it Biblical to read fiction?
Jesus taught primarily through stories. There is something about hearing or reading a story that helps you connect with it better, learn it, and remember it. Stories tug at our heart strings, stories have a way of drilling in a point and making it come alive. We can learn through stories, weep with stories, and come to know God more through stories.
"I’ve found that most people who tell me that fiction is a waste of time are folks who seem to hold to a kind of sola cerebra vision of the Christian life that just doesn’t square with the Bible. The Bible doesn’t simply address man as a cognitive process but as a complex image-bearer who recognizes truth not only through categorizing syllogisms but through imagination, beauty, wonder, awe. Fiction helps to shape and hone what Russell Kirk called the moral imagination. My friend David Mills, now executive editor at First Things, wrote a brilliant article in Touchstoneseveral years ago about the role of stories in shaping the moral imagination of children. As he pointed out, moral instruction is not simply about knowing factually what’s right and wrong (though that’s part of it); it’s about learning to feel affection toward certain virtues and revulsion toward others. A child learns to sympathize with the heroism of Jack the Giant Killer, to be repelled by the cruelty of Cinderella’s sisters and so on.
When you think about it, that’s how the Scriptures often work. The Proverbs, for instance, paint a vivid picture of the revolting tragedy of adultery (Proverbs 7). Jesus doesn’t simply speak about God’s forgiveness in the abstract. He tells a story, the prodigal son, designed to shock (a son who would spurn his inheritance) and to elicit sympathy and identification. The apostles do the same thing. They employ literary, visual language meant to appeal not just to the intellect but to the conscience through the imagination. Think of the Apostle Paul’s language of “laboring until Christ is formed in you,” or his use of literary themes in the OT (“fruit of the Spirit,” and so on)." - Fiction and Literature: An Interview with Russell Moore
We also know that reading out loud to our kids is one of the most beneficial things we can ever do with them. If you haven't already, go get Read Aloud Family by Sarah MacKenzie right now.
"Fiction and poetry provide authors a unique way to glorify Christ that more overtly intellectual genres, like theology, simply can't. These genres that aim directly for the heart and soul—rather than aiming at the heart through the mind—do not argue for belief, they show what it looks like and make you feel it. Theology, devotionals, and other books in the “Christian Living” section of the bookstore talk about belief explicitly. Their goal is to explain truth as clearly as possible. Fiction and poetry, on the other hand, tell the truth, but tell it slant. They offer an author a way to give his beliefs flesh and blood by enacting them in the confusion of the real world. In fiction, belief is not what you look at, but what you look through." - How is Fiction True and Valuable?
What about Fantasy and Magic?
- 2018-06-20 01:00:30 UTC