Mar 21, 2012

Fiction: Is It Worth It?

     I am writing a book. It is in the science fiction genre. My goal for the book has always been higher than simple entertainment. I want my book to glorify God, not just make a reader happy. But every once in a while I wonder, "Is it worth it?"

     There are some who say that fantasy and science fiction are a means of escape. That we use fiction to "get out" of the world for as long as we can. They say that much of modern day fiction is causing us to pull away from reality. That we are forgetting that this world has real consequences and requires us to take real responsibility. 

     God has often used fiction in my life to draw me back to Him. But I have also often been distracted by fiction.

     If, as Christians, we are to keep our eyes focused on Christ, then how does fiction, and entertainment in general, fit in? I don't think God wants us to live dull, boring lives. But if glorifying God more means abstaining from time-wasting entertainment, then surely He will bless those who obey. The question is, does God want me to?

     This is one of those areas where Christians will never totally agree, I think. And that's fine, because we aren't supposed to agree on everything. But I want to hear all the views.

     Is fiction worth it? Is writing fiction, reading fiction, and watching fiction on the TV worth the time we give it? What say you?


Michelle said...

I say a hearty YES IT IS. Why? Because stories have been told from the beginning of time when one person leaned into the warmth of the fire and told their listener on the other side "One there was. . ."

We communicate in stories, pack hope in stories, share our fears in stories, and book long outlast their writers. It is a way of leaving hope, encouragement, exhortation, and direction behind when you are long dust.

Write well. Tell your story for one other person to be transformed because when you help to change a mind and a heart by what you right, you save the world.

Save one person, save the world.~ The Talmud.

Jake said...

Yes, yes, yes, and no.

^That was to your last question.

Fiction is worth it. Writing and reading it is worth it. TV is worthless. That's my opinion. ;) I watch movies at times, but it's rather hard to get a TV in West Africa, anyway...

Anyway, to the main subject:

I believe writing and reading fiction is worth it. I believe that God has called me to write, and to write well. And yes, I've struggled with this.

Recently, I read The White Lion Chronicles, all the way through, for the first time. I think you've read the first two, yes?

THAT is what I consider to be the greatest Christian fiction I've read. It deeply moved me. Not only because I loved the story, but the theme! I could wax eloquent about the theme. It was powerful. And it helped bring about the determination in my own life to write like that. To write for God and no one else.

Was reading that series worth it? Absolutely.

And I think writing it is worth it too. I heard Bryan Davis speak last summer - his testimony is amazing. He literally gave up his well-paying job to publish a book called "Raising Dragons". And lives have been touched because of that.

There is an element in telling meaningful fiction that changes the soul, ever so little sometimes. Tolkien, I believe, called it "cleansing fiction". Fiction that made the person WANT goodness.

Jesus Himself used parables to tell His stories and draw a parallel from that story to real life. In the same way, I feel I am called to write fiction that will impact people for the better. That will leave them fed with goodness and truth. And leave them thirsting for the greater Truth that my novels point to.

And also, I would draw parallels to the Christian life. The struggle we all have against darkness. To "edify" my readers and leave them encouraged.

Because I don't write to give entertainment. I don't write to get published. I don't write for enjoyment. I don't write to make my reader love my book.

I write for One. And only Him. I long ago surrendered my writing to Him.

And if I write for Him, is He not the God of everything? Will He not use something surrendered wholly to Him for His glory?

If He is the great I AM, can He not use anything to further His purpose?

That is why I write. For the glory of God to be seen everywhere.

Even in fiction.

Storyteller said...

"Will He not use something surrendered wholly to Him for His glory?" Good thought, Jake. Thank you.

Irene Olumese said...

I am glad I tumbled into this blog today. I struggled with the question you raised and Jake's response is the best. I leave with this message - "I write for One and for Him alone. As long as my writing is submitted to Him, He will use it for His glory." Thanks to you all for sharing this truth.

Storyteller said...

Thank you for visiting, and for your thoughts, Irene!

Tessa Emily Hall ~ Christ is Write said...

These are really good questions. But I agree with everyone here as well. Fiction is worth it. Of course, as you said, if it's used for the right reasons. Sometimes we do use books as a means for escape, but even when we do that, God's glory can be shown through what we're reading and possibly even help us deal with whatever we're going through - the very thing we were trying to escape. But often fiction is purely for our own entertainment and enjoyment, such as the movie "The Advengers" (I'm only using that example since it's the last movie I saw in theaters). I didn't learn anything in the movie that could help me deal with reality, nor did God's glory come through it. But it was nice entertainment, hilarious, and I had a good time watching it with my friends.

Of course, too much of anything is not good. So although fiction can be used for good, we do need to live our lives first and foremost rather than always having our head stuck in a book (or at the television). I also think that there's not much good with television. It all goes back to the amount of time we use to invest in it though.

But yes, to answer your question, I believe that fiction is certainly worth it. Words are very, very powerful.