Fables, Fantasy, Faith

Fiction: The Training Ground of Faith

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For those feeling disheartened with your writing endeavors this post is for you.

When asked if he could give any advice to a would-be author, Eugene Peterson simply said,

“Do it. We need all of them (writers) we can get.”

 

Many successful writers advise beginners to never begin writing. Perhaps they’re not so blatant, but they may as well say it. I’ve read plenty of their blogs, and the theme tends to be the same. Don’t write unless you have a brilliant idea, you’re a genius, you personally know a publisher, you have a marketable following, and have time to read everyday. These authors usually post numbers of books published each year and show a low percentage that actually make a profit.  You would have to agree, the odds don’t look good. To close, many writers like to add some pompous statement like, ‘Writing is reserved only for the most dedicated, educated and creative.’

While brilliance, personally knowing a publisher and being creative certainly helps, it’s not a requirement. Eugene Peterson’s advice stands in stark contrast.

“Do it,” he says.

Peterson doesn’t stop to ask if the upcoming author is good, if they are a somebody, or have brilliant ideas. I am sure he would argue that a christian’s work must be their best, but that isn’t his concern.  To Peterson it is simple, people who want to write should write. When I thought about his following comment, “We need all of them we can get,” that is when it clicked.

The world needs more writers. He argues that fiction is the training ground of faith. Imagination is very similar to faith in that it connects what we see to what we don’t see. The only difference being that faith demands participation and trust.

Fiction is the training ground of faith.

That fires me up! When I’m fighting off the writing blues, I meditate on the importance of my work. If you have a story, blog or song that you want to share with the rest of the world, your work is important too. The way I see it, imagination is the Holy Spirit churning ideas and forging stories. It’s God giving you the freedom to teach His truth (Biblical truth) with your own personal touch. Not altering truth, but giving it a setting, cast and plot so it can come alive. People relate to stories, both fiction and nonfiction. God hardwired us to be naturally drawn into a story because they prepare us for life. This is why Jesus taught with parables. Stories are the training ground for faith. A great example is Moby-Dick. This isn’t a ‘Christian Novel’ but God’s truth is still revealed as you follow Captain Ahab’s self-destructive quest of revenge.  God is big and powerful enough to work outside of labels and categories. Afraid your medieval fantasy novel won’t do God’s truth justice? Tolkien and Lewis and millions of their fans would likely disagree.

God gave you a story for a reason. He also gave you a love for it. Explore it, learn from it and give it your best when fleshing it out. Your story, blog, song or whatever it is you are writing is valuable because of the truth it carries (Assuming you are intentional about searching, learning and teaching real Biblical truth). Don’t let the world judge the importance of your work or dictate if your story is worth your time and effort. If you have a story that excites you and inspires you then write it out, or as Eugene Peterson would say, ‘Do it.”

Be inspired, and may God bless you and your work.

Disclaimer: All of God’s truth is revealed in light of His Word, stories help teach truth when compared to scripture. I’m not saying Moby-Dick is the definitive authority on spiritual growth)

If you want to check out an interview with Eugene Peterson follow this link.

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