Why I Read Stephen King
I love Stephen King. He is the first writer I really read and he remains one of my favorites. I included his book The Stand in my idea of what makes a novel Christian. You can read that post here: https://godwrestler.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/on-christian-fiction/
I am currently reading the final book in his Dark Tower Series. The last time I read it I was not a Christian, so I’m discovering how Christian it really is. Sure, there’s a bit of Buddhism and quite a few mentions of other books from Ray Bradbury (I will be writing a tribute to him soon) to the Wizard of Oz. Yet, I believe it is more Christian and more aligned with my understanding of the gospel. Now, Stephen King nor anyone or any book other than the Bible should be our foundational text in understanding what it means to be a Christian. But, we can read other writers and books to help us in understating the Bible and what God wants us to know and do.
I have been asked by a few people recently why I read Stephen King. Why someone like myself who is deeply committed to the way of Jesus and intends to become a pastor would read someone like Stephen King. This is a good question, one I want to answer. In it is the same concern some Christians have with reading Harry Potter and Tolkien. Can Christians read fiction that might promote a differing world view. I have heard that some Christians will not let their children read tales of fantasy, because they have magic in them. I am not going to say that is a good or not a good idea. It is for every parent to decide what they let their children read.
I am answering this question for myself. It might help you or not. As always feel free to leave a comment or question. I want this site to be a place where we are free to wrestle with not only the Bible, culture, and religion–but also with each other.
Stephen King: Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once. Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.
While Stephen King is horrible with endings, he is a good writer and can spin a yarn like few can. His stories are usually about good versus evil, and his characters seem to be living creations unlike the cardboard one-dimensional stick figures that populate other fiction. He is a romantic, not as in mushy sentimental crap but in love and hope are central to the universe and that love will find a way. His more recent novels have been more spiritual. He has evolved. Not only as a writer, but also as a storyteller and in his philosophy. He knows the Bible and quotes it.
These are some of the reasons I read Stephen King.
Yet, can a Christian read him. My answer is yes. A good horror novel has the unique power to speak about the harsh reality of evil in the world and how the good must face, confront, battle, and overcome evil.
Reading Stephen King and other fiction does not need to be so noble or serious. A good novel, whether it be a horror, fantasy, romantic, historical, or general mainstream is a great way to relax and recharge your batteries. In fiction you can say a lot more than you can in a non-fiction book.
So, yes I read Stephen King to unwind, for fun, but I also see a lot more in his stories than some. Maybe you should give him a shot. His books–The Green Mile, Hearts in Atlantis, Bag of Bones, Duma Key, Under the Dome, and 11/22/63 would be good starting points if you don’t like horror stories.
Who is your favorite writer? What novel are reading?