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MaryAnn Diorio Writes that...


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"The High Road is the road of integrity and virtue, the road marked by obedience to God’s way of conducting our writing career. The Low Road is the road of compromise and rebellion, the road marked by disobedience to God’s way of conducting our writing career."

 

What do you think this means for the fiction writer of fantasy, science fiction, or even stories about biblical characters that are half fiction?  Or nonfiction, for that matter?

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2 hours ago, Grey_Skies said:

I believe fiction, even fantasy, can definitely be used for God's glory.

I think about what C.S. Lewis did in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  He gave us the memorable character Aslan, who was a fictional representation of Jesus Christ. 

 

The way Aslan the Lion sacrificed himself for the children brought tears to my eyes.  When he came back to life and played with the children, my heart soared with them. 

 

When Susan said she was nervous to meet Aslan because he might not be safe, Mr. Beaver replied, " 'Course he isn't safe, but he's good." That's a beautiful description of our Savior, who is both the Lion and the Lamb.

 

There are so many more examples of how Lewis used this fictional character to convey the essence of who Jesus is.  His writing is a parable, of sorts, and shows what can be done to serve God as a writer.    

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Yes, Carolina, he used fictional characters--he didn't make up stories about real people, though.  I think that falls into a different category.

 

15 hours ago, Nick Cole said:

I think about what C.S. Lewis did in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  He gave us the memorable character Aslan, who was a fictional representation of Jesus Christ.

 

And I think that this is the point, Nick, to make up stories that are actually Christian allegories, but  not about real people.

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10 minutes ago, Jeff Potts said:

I personally would avoid mixing fantasy and real life.  Hence the reason I do not incorporate Jesus or the Gospels directly into any of my works.  The same is true of the Apostles.

 

The truth in the Gospels is universal.  You can incorporate it without citing stuff directly.

 

Yes, that's why I don't incorporate Jesus or the Apostles into my writings either.

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Jesus did both.  His parables made a spiritual point using fictional characters.  He also used real people in other teachings, e.g. Lazarus and the rich man who died and went to Sheol.  

 

There is whole body of literature that makes use of real people as the subject matter, including Jesus and the people of the Bible.  The Left Behind series is one of the most successful to do so.  Frank Peretti also does this somewhat with his portrayal of angels.  C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia does it too.  Although you might argue that Lewis does not use "real people" as the characters, there is absolutely no question that Aslan is Jesus, especially when you read the final book in the series, The Last Battle,  in which Aslan welcomes all the characters to heaven upon their deaths.  (So sorry if that's spoiling the story for anyone.)   

 

Using actual Biblical people might not be appropriate in a fantasy novel or a mystery, but it definitely has a place in historical fiction and Bible studies.  To call it a low road of compromise and rebellion is hurtful, and I hope unintentional.

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It seems to me that creativity is one of God's communicable attributes. Something we reflect of his majesty. He created a world and then asked us to "multiply". That word in Genesis 1:28 can have the idea of being creative. "Hey, I gave you flowers, now make a bouquet.", "I gave you sand, make silicon chips." is the idea. I believe God delights when we create new things from the good things he has given us. Fictional writings are part of that. IMHO

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Calvin believed the story of Lazarus and the rich man was not a parable, but actually a description of two real people who experienced the reality of Sheol, the grave.  Lazarus experienced comfort in the bosom of Abraham, which was an actual place that the Jews taught about when describing a righteous person's destination after dying.  The rich man suffered flames and torment, from which he could not escape.  Calvin taught that these were real people in real places and that Jesus was giving a literal description of what we face once we die, either comfort or torment.  

 

Parables used a different language altogether.  They were filled with symbolism, not actual names, not actual places.

 

I'll grant you that Jesus has the authority and knowledge to speak about about this topic, using either a real description or a parabolic narrative.  We, as writers, do not have his authority or knowledge.  If we claim we do, we are on very thin ice.

 

But if we are using the creativity God gave us, as @nbunney points out, to write entertaining prose that draws others to the God we love, we should be encouraged, not chastised.

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On 11/27/2021 at 10:26 AM, suspensewriter said:

What do you think this means for the fiction writer of fantasy, science fiction, or even stories about biblical characters that are half fiction?  Or nonfiction, for that matter?


I think this doesn't touch on genre at all. Everyone wrestles with compromise, but I trust according to 1 Corinthians 10:13 that I will know compromise when it's presented and will have the God-given ability to successfully resist. 

As for the high road and the low road, integrity and virtue vs. compromise and rebellion, I don't think there's enough context here for me to offer an opinion. I can tell you that my personal metric for success is 'am I writing a story from a Christian worldview where normal people might through the reading of the tale tell the truth about life through narrative story.' Jesus did this with his parables, and that's a good enough mentor and example for me.

I showed this video at church last night, and we talked about how to talk to normal people about the price of belief in God. Murray quoted C.S. Lewis: “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”

Murray said 'People have to think the message is of value compared to the price they have to pay.' He quoted philosopher Blaise Pascal: "Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is. Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature. Attractive because it promises true good.”

I'm writing to help people see the truth through fiction without preaching. Is this the road of integrity and virtue? I guess? If anything, I'm avoiding compromise by telling the story from the POV of a 'killer' golem instead of writing from a safer and more palatable POV.

I think the story is better served in this fashion, but I don't see this as a test of obedience as much as a test of art and craft. I answered the obedience test to my satisfaction many years ago when I gave my writing to the Lord and then wrote would I would.

In this case, it's a Fantasy / Noir about a golem detective which wrestles with the struggles and stresses of normal life.
 

 

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