Story for story’s sake

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Apologies for the quick post today. Haven’t much time.

But I found this post from Dave Long’s site (faithinfiction.blogspot.com) so intriguing, I couldn’t resist the chance to commandeer it and use it here. He’s talking about the state of Christian fiction, but he may as well be talking about the church, every Evangelical ministry in America, and anyone who’s ever picked up anything with a distinctly Christian flavor and sensed there was something rotten in Denmark:

“I hurt myself today, to see I still feel. I focus on the pain, the only that’s real…”

“All around gloomy guy Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails wrote that in his song, ‘Hurt.’ He’s on the other extreme of us, the guy who could use a shot of hope, a snug pair of fuzzy bunny slippers. We have to realize that we can become just as desensitized as Reznor if all we do is feed ourselves pablum endings. We need the good and bad. The yin and yang. The perfect sunsets and crappy, terrible days.

“We need, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, some folks to come to a bad end.”

Happy endings in your typical Christian fiction are emblematic of the smiling veneer that passes for Christianity these days. What is a story without truth? What good does it serve? What redemption can be found if it sacrifices reality for nice, neat, and comfortable. And what, for that matter, does any of our “thinking of things pure and lovely” do for people when to do it, we sacrifice relevance with the larger culture?

To write a story for story’s sake is to live your life in a such as way as to be truthful to the work and not sell out to the idol of comfort and tasteless “pablum.”

Greg talked about this in his editorial this month, which covered Paul Elie’s book The Life You Save May Be Your Own: www.imagejournal.org/current/editorial.asp.

The status quo can change, but only if you want it to.

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2 thoughts on “Story for story’s sake”

  1. You!
    Insightful ramblings, friend. Too tired (and hungry) to comment on anything you’ve written yet, but will definitely comment later. Thanks for the links in your last blog post…much appreciated!!

  2. Hi Mick,
    I couldn’t agree more! A few years ago, when I discovered that there was such a thing as “Christian fiction” (which should be “CBA fiction,” imho), I began to cut a determined path through all the books in that genre. At first, it was great to read books that shared my worldview, but after awhile, it got old. I felt safe, knowing it would have a happy ending, but I also began to pick out the character who’d come to faith in Christ and/or come back to the church because I knew it would happen by book’s end. The reading became too comfortable. There was no challenge. Nothing moved my faith or inspired me.
    Being at Mount Hermon this year and hearing Ted Dekker talk about contextualization was a revelation to me. Writing *real* and reading *real* has become my chosen path since that time. I’ve read some gritty books I wouldn’t have touched a few months ago, but I have also had some heart-stopping encounters with the redemptive powers of the Lord, so I think I’m headed in the right direction!

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