I have decided to put my series about cessationism and continuationism on a hold for now on my blog. I will probably pick up the topic in the near future, but for now I would like to take another direction theologically. We will see where that turns next week, but, for today at least, I wanted to simply share about something I truly enjoy.
For those who know me, they are aware that I love to read and study theology. And, that is possibly an understatement. I really enjoy cracking open the Scriptures, all the while diving into theological volumes or commentaries or a treatises on a particular theological topic. But, what many might not be aware of is that I love to read fiction books as well. Matter of fact, there is hardly a day that goes by that I am not reading a fiction novel.
What usually happens is that I find myself reading 2 (or more) books at the same time, almost as if there is a theological book in one hand and a novel in the other. What types do I enjoy the most? Well, more than any other genres, I enjoy fantasy fiction (something like The Lord of the Rings) and suspense (something like John Grisham). These are my favorite, no doubt.
There is something about the beauty of a story, one that is not actually true, yet it draws you in to another world. Every story has a purpose, and that story is generally centered around the ultimate battle between good and evil, with good usually coming through as the victor. In his own books, John Eldredge has done quite well in assessing the main plot lines of stories in both novels and movies. He relates it to the main story line of redemptive history found in Scripture – creation, fall, redemption and consummation.
Have you ever noticed how stories generally follow that outline? It’s embedded in almost every fiction book we pick up or movie we watch. It’s beautiful! And, thus, when you pick up a book like The Fellowship of the Ring, you find yourself drawn into the story, sometimes in wonderment at the details so carefully crafted by the author. We even find ourselves relating to a particular character like a Frodo or Aragorn or Arwen. And all of these stories are generally littered with the reality that there is more to life than ‘meets the eye’. There is a bigger drama to consider in the midst of our own little drama. We get this sense that we are not the main character. Someone else is.
Thus, I love fiction and I love novels. Yes, it is mainly fantasy (though not too science fictiony) and suspense. But I might be willing to pick up another style. One series I am presently reading is Inheritance authored by Christopher Paolini. Though the movie, Eragon, pales in comparison, the books are quite good. It started out as a triology, but, as the author has progressed in the series, he realized he needed a fourth book to fully complete it all. So, the first three have been released and I, now, await the fourth. But, here is a series, somewhat like The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia, in which there is a battle of good versus evil, a valiant warrior leading the way along with other wise counselors, his heart beats for his one true love, and I can only imagine that the story will with the ‘good side’ as the final victors.
I share this all to encourage us to consider dipping into a fiction book here or there. Sure, we need to be consistently in the Scriptures, and even considering the works of other wise believers out there. And by no means must you read from the fantasy or suspense genre. It could even be things like poetry to draw you in. But I do recommend you find stories that you like and enter those stories. There is no promise that you will enjoy it as much as I or the next person. Yet, by picking up such books, you might just come to understand life’s the bigger picture a little more. And, this might just be a little taste of heaven and the heart of God. Try it.
Same here, Scott!
My favorite genres are fantasy and suspense. How funny is that.
I actually have a really good idea for a PhD thesis on this topic, God willing. In my World Literature class, I studied a lot of creation myths and world religion texts, and discovered a man who studies them named Joseph Campbell.
He was a non-Christian professor of mythology, and as a scholar of myths, a “mythographer.” But he has some really interesting ideas that I think relate to the doctrine of revelation, and philosophy of knowledge (epistemology).
We’ll see =D.