On Christian Fiction
For my church’s monthly newsletter, I usually review or suggest a non-fiction selection or a Christian author that will help my readers with their walk with God. I would like to do something different this time. I would like to highlight some novels that may add depth to your Christian faith. These novels have helped me; maybe they can help you, too.
Novels unlike non-fiction show rather than tell how one can live faithfully in the real world among real people and problems. The reader eavesdrops on one or more characters as they live their lives and face their problems. It doesn’t have to be an explicitly ‘Christian’ novel for us to get something out of it. When I pick a novel I usually don’t go for something considered Christian, but I look for a good story and solid writing. I enjoy going on a journey and discovering more about living life through how one person or a group of people and how to face the harsh realities of life. I hope you enjoy the selections I have picked and if you would like to you could list a pick of your own in the comments.
Joseph F. Girzone after serving various New York churches retired from active priesthood in 1981 and embarked on a second career as a full-time writer. He’s written a series of books titled ‘Joshua’ after the lead character a quiet and simple man, Joshua appears to seek nothing for himself. He supports himself solely by carpentry and woodworking charging very little for his services. His exquisite work is outshined only by the extraordinary effect he has on everyone he meets, all who encounter him are transformed by his incredible kindness. Girzone through these novels is able to talk about what it means to live as a disciple of Jesus without getting on a soapbox or getting too theological.
Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables an 1862 French novel widely considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century focuses on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. The huge novel examines the nature of law and grace, expatiates upon the history of France, politics, justice, and romantic and familial love. At one level, a detective story with the relentless Inspector Javert obsessively pursuing the escaped convict Jean Valjean and on another level, it is a drama of crime, punishment and rehabilitation set against a panoramic description of French society after Napoleon. Above all, Hugo’s masterpiece is about the metaphysical struggle between good and evil in the soul of every man, a plea for social justice and personal charity.
This is one of my favorite novels. The only “classical” novel I have re-read. I read my copy to tatters and had to replace it. A long yet, excellent example of the power of God’s grace in the world, if you have not read this one, I suggest you get a copy and spend some time with it. It would be a great addition to any book collection.
Stephen King’s The Stand a post-apocalyptic novel that outlines the total breakdown and destruction of society through widespread violence, the failure of martial law to contain a super-flu outbreak, and eventually the death of virtually the entire population. The human toll is also dealt with, as the few survivors must care for their families and friends, dealing with confusion and grief as their loved ones succumb to the flu. Deep characterizations make the characters real and seem like your friends and family. The themes of this novel mirror those found in biblical stories of love, grace, beauty, community, relationship, the battle of good and evil. One of the characters, an old black woman (Mother Abigail) allows King to talk quite eloquently about the bible and God’s relationship with man. It has been called “dark Christianity.” I believe dark is an apt adjective for this novel as it has scary and gruesome moments, but in the end it affirms that goodness and light will have the last word and in the darkest moments God is with us.
If you would like to talk about these books, any other, or have a question or comment for just post it in the comments section.
Until next time, keep reading.
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