Sunday, January 2, 2011

Growing Your FaithThrough Fiction

When I was a child, my mother made the first order of every day to read a portion of God's Word. It was a habit that my parents thought would benefit me for the rest of my life. They believed that God of the Bible is the source of all truth and the that Bible is His specific revelation of Himself and His purposes for human kind. Over the years I have studied and searched for myself, and have come to believe this as well.
However, part of my journey, (a very influential part), was the writing of great thinkers like C. S. Lewis and George MacDonald.
As a side note, the writings of George MacDonald were a great influence in Lewis's personal journey of faith along with the writings of G. K. Chesterton. (His book, "The Everlasting Man" led Lewis to take the final step in becoming a Christian).
Yet, it's not the deep, intellectually challenging writings of these men that have influenced me, but rather their fictional writings. Though my faith was born on the revelation in the Bible, and the testimony of my parents, it grew much on the fictional fantasy writings of these two men (Lewis and Macdonald). "The Chronicles of Narnia" (Lewis) "Lilith", "The Princess and the Goblin" "At the Back of the North Wind" (Macdonald) and others.
As an adult, it seems I have lost the childhood wonder of these imaginary worlds, which I believe in some ways reflect more vividly the realities of the spiritual world than our day to day thought processes in neatly packaged boxes usually allow for.
Perhaps my caution to assure the truth and theological accuracy have stolen some of the wonder. I don't want to compromise truth. Yet I know that I have nearly strangled out my ability to write creatively. Maybe I have given in too easily to the constraints of daily life. I have sought discipline to the death of creativity, and ended up with neither.
Their writing didn't shape my theological or philosophical understanding of life, but I grew in faith and passion because of them.
I love what Chesterton says about his success;

I think I owe my success [as a journalist] to having listened respectfully and rather bashfully to the very best advice, given by all the best journalists who had achieved the best sort of success in journalism; and then going away and doing the exact opposite…I have a notion that the real advice I could give to a young journalist is simply this: to write an article for the Sporting Times and one for the Church Times and put them in the wrong envelopes. . . What is really the matter with almost every paper, is that it is much too full of things suitable to the paper.
G.K. Chesterton
Maybe I'm just a rebel after all!

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