Story is crucial. Indeed, our lives are caught up in the Story of cosmic redemption provided by Jesus Christ whether we recognize that or not, and our lives compose a story. Furthermore, if we don’t understand narrative, that is the flow of a plot (i.e. from introduction to conflict to climax to resolution), we’ll misunderstand the biblical story from Genesis to Revelation that we read daily. Additionally, reading fiction will enable us to communicate the gospel message better by teaching us how to communicate in a way that is appealing and compelling to the common man, woman, or child.
Therefore, it is imperative that Christians read fiction so that they may become more literarily sensitive. If you have not read much fiction I suggest that you begin with a good series. A great place to start is either C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia (it is imperative, I think, for the reader to read this books in the order that Lewis wrote them–2, 4, 5, 6, 3, 1, 7) or Harry Potter (don’t worry you won’t be hexed by reading these books). Lewis is a master of imagination; he paints exquisite verbal pictures. Rowling is a master of character development, by the end of the series you will closely identify with the characters (even minor characters). Though there is much more to be said about both authors and their intentions (such as Lewis’s emphasis on hierarchy) it is sufficient here to just recommend strongly that you spend time in the worlds that Lewis and Rowling have created (preferably with a hot cup of coffee/cocoa and a soft chair).
When I read fiction, at least when I read good fiction, I am inspired to reflect on the fact that there is much more to this decaying world than what I am capable of perceiving with my eyes. Indeed, there are angelic beings and demonic forces at work around us daily; there is a divine cosmic war taking place for the soul of every human being even though the Almighty Triune God has already decisively won the battle through the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga–On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or Be Eaten and The Monster in the Hollows–draws out these reflections. He has painted a wonderful verbal picture of a world where the Maker guides all things according to his purpose, where quitting is never an option that should be considered, where prose, art and song (properly used) create beauty and inspire hope, where dependence on the Maker in dire situations is honoring to him; humans live in a world filled with the magic of the Maker, a world where every person bears the Maker’s image. Additionally, he forces his readers to consider the meaning of words like “courage,” “bravery,” “honor,” and “chivalry”; sadly, words that have little to no meaning for most people in the twenty-first century.
So, I encourage you to read these wonderful books and consider the story that you are drawn into in Christ if you are a Believer by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. Also, in case you’re wondering, you can purchase the books and read reviews at The Wingfeather Saga Online.
Riordan masterfully relocates a Greek mythological world into twenty-first century America. Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, leads the heroic charge throughout the five books against the rise of the Titan, Kronos. This story is full of monster flaying, demon slaying, and demigod fighting; there is even a love story that weaves its way through the books. With wit and humor Riordan beckons his readers to delve deeper into world that many thought ended with the Greek and Roman empires. I highly recommend this series; indeed, it is a fun read for all ages!
On another note, as I read this series I was reminded of how peoples, ancient and modern, have sought to explain this world apart from the Triune God of Creation. The story compelled me to revisit the early chapters of the biblical narrative (especially Genesis 1-3) in which the Scripture paints a vastly different picture of God. For one, God is singular, not plural, he alone rules over the creation at the beginning as he speaks the universe into existence (Gen 1:1); this is a truth repeated throughout the Scripture (Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29). Additionally, in contrast to mythological gods like Zeus and Kronos who clamor for power and fear their own demise the Scripture teaches that the God of the Bible alone is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He alone rules over the chaotic waters at the beginning of the world (Gen 1:2) and his enemies are no match for him at the beginning of the New Creation (Rev 20:10). Once again, fiction is a helpful medium that enables careful readers to think more deeply about the biblical narrative and the story all Christians are called into in Christ (Eph 2:13).