In the process of moving to WordPress and trying to figure out how everything works, I’ve not only visited Amazon, I’ve also been making brief forays out to read other peoples’ blogs, a practice I gave up after the chaos of trying to get Return of the Guardian-King written, and maintained throughout the chaos of writing The Enclave.
When Becky Miller commented here last week, she drew me over to her blog, A Christian Worldview of Fiction where she was once again discussing… well, a Christian worldview of fiction. Given the title of her blog, this is hardly surprising, nor the first time she has posted on this subject. But while I’ve read her past posts with interest, and thought I should have something to say on the matter, I could never seem to put my thoughts on the subject into any kind of coherent discourse.
This time however, she revealed that the whole discussion of a Christian worldview began when World magazine ran a contest asking for stories from a Christian worldview and the email group she was on at the time began discussing what exactly the editors meant by “a Christian worldview.” A discussion, she said, that was essentially an exploration of “how our Christianity plays out in our fiction.”
And, upon reading that phrase, I suddenly found myself with something to say. I don’t know that I would want to define what specific qualities might be included in a book for it to be considered written from a Christian worldview, but I do know how my Christianity plays out in my fiction.
Anyone who does much reading at all about how to write will soon encounter the oft-given advice to write what you know, write what you care deeply about, what you enjoy, and what you struggle with. Don’t be afraid to be honest in your portrayals, to lay out what you know and believe whether you think readers will like it or not.
So what I know, what I care deeply about, what I enjoy and struggle with is my Christianity. God, the truths of God’s word, the application of it. The failure in it. The recovery and continuing onward. My relationship with Him; with His Son… Those are what I write about.
Growing up as an unbeliever I always had the idea that going to church was about going to some special building, singing special songs, listening to someone in a robe drone on about things that had no relevance, and following a bunch of rules. There was never a personal relationship with God involved. There were rules to follow (which I’m discovering has been a much greater part of my life than I ever imagined, even as an unbeliever). People felt good about themselves, felt they were pleasing to God when they followed the rules. In fact, if you followed the rules you went to heaven; if you didn’t, you went to hell.
I didn’t buy it. I remember as a teenager commenting in a discussion about religion that no one was perfect. I didn’t see how anyone could be bad enough to deserve eternal hell, but I also didn’t see how anyone could be good enough to go to heaven. So I opted for reincarnation. The perfect solution. (Well, I was only 15 and this is what my mother had come to believe at the time.)
When I actually believed in Christ and began to learn what the Bible had to say and what the Christian way of life was really all about, it was so rich, so alive, so full that I was bursting with enthusiasm to show the world what it really was, not the stale, dead thing I’d thought. I was so jazzed. It was cooler than the coolest transformation to hero story you could come up with. And still is.
That desire’s never really changed. I want to depict in my fiction the wonderful ways of God, His character, His amazing plan, the incredible relationship we can have with Him, how it all makes sense now, when previously it really didn’t. How much more marvelous it is than the dreary unending toil of being reborn again and again as in each lifetime you struggle to make yourself better and better until finally you can be absorbed into some impersonal cosmic consciousness! Or something. I’m not sure I ever get beyond the endless rebirths when I was 15.
We live in a time when it’s not “cool” to act like you have answers. Postmodernism says there aren’t any answers. Or that each person’s answers are specific to them and no one dare intimate there might be a set of universal truths that apply to everyone. But I feel like I do have answers. So many of the most important, most disturbing questions I’d had in my 21 years as an unbeliever have been answered in God’s word. So many of the conundrums other people shake their heads over, are answered in the pages of Scripture. If only they could see it.
The Bible isn’t a bunch of contradictions or moldy myths, set down for us to pick and choose from like the offerings in a cafeteria. It’s an amazingly coherent document that’s also alive. It’s real. And so is the God who wrote it. And anyone who really wants to know Him and is willing to put in the time to seek for Him can know Him.
That’s what drives me to write. That and the fact that God’s called me to do it and put the burning for that task inside me.