Saturday, July 4, 2009

Writing Novels for the Kingdom

Fellow blogger Nathan Hobby has given a paper on
'Writing Novels for the Kingdom'. He starts with a quote from N.T Wright-

It might be much more appropriate to go off and write a novel (and not a ‘Christian’ novel where half the characters are Christians and all the other half become Christians on the last page) but a novel which grips people with the structure of Christian thought, and with Christian motivation set deep into the heart and structure of the narrative, so that people would read that and resonate with it and realize that that story can be my story.
- N.T. Wright, “How can the Bible be authoritative?”
Nathan is an author so it is interesting his thoughts on how to seriously write a Christian novel. It is something that I probably will never grapple with. Yet it is interesting that the bulk of the paper was closely aligned with N.T. Wrights thoughts.

Been a Tim Winton fan I enjoyed some of the papers reference to him. I'm totally fascinated with Tim Winton, so any insight is good. I would have to agree that there is a 'mystical and implicate' Christian reference to the characters to the books. There are strange redemptive qualities to the characters, which I think draws me to the books. A redemption which we as readers may not like.

A good contrast was the Christian Novel. I couldn't help agree in with his view of Brian Mclarens novels.

Some theologians have used the novel form to get their message across, and we do at least get better theology from them. Brian McLaren wrote A New Kind of Christian and its two sequels; the theology is good, or at least I generally like it, but as a novel it’s appalling. It is dominated by slabs of dialogue which put ideas in characters’ mouths; the descriptive interruptions feel like filler. The plot, characterisation and prose are all uncompelling.

I could also think of a few other Christian authors which fit into the same category. Eg the 'Shack'


Mandy Bruder said...

I so agree. Some of the dialogue, particularly noted in the "novels" you mentioned, makes me uneasy. The scary thing is that some people may read these words and think that they are "gospel".

I prefer the other type of novel, where my mind is actually asked to engage, rather than disengage.

David Murdoch said...

Sometimes people criticize christian fiction that presents too much christian thought and message as 'preachy', which I suppose is one of the hindrances towards writing that kind of novel. I don't think that should stop us though, because the christian message contains a great depth and meaning to it which is not only amiable to literature but presents something that surpasses ordinary literature.

God Bless,

steven hamilton said...

i think the tolkien-model for this sort of thing is the best, more than the c.s. lewis-model; although i enjoy both and they are all classics.

i'll have to check out the link to nathan...

thanks scott

Scott said...

I Steve,

Got to agree with you regarding Tolkin. Yep Nathan paper is well worth reading, though a lot is very Australian

Christina said...

Tolkien is great, but CS Lewis has done some wonderful stuff that is not as obvious as the Screwtape Letters etc. The Cosmic Trilogy has some wonderful theological thoughts in it, but it reads as a set of fantasy novels, with some crazy trippy imagery.