Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Truth or Fiction?
Matt.10:26 "So have no fear of them; for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known."
Fiction and truth – how can these two opposites possibly co-exist? How can a story with a made up plot and characters be truthful? Is fiction merely a fantasy and means for fleeing the truth, or worse yet, embellishing the truth?
Jesus didn’t think so. He used stories to reveal truths. Matthew 13:3-17 (Message) "What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.
"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"
The disciples came up and asked, "Why do you tell stories?"
He replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it. I don't want Isaiah's forecast repeated all over again:
Your ears are open but you don't hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don't see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
so they won't have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
so they won't have to look,
so they won't have to deal with me face-to-face
and let me heal them.
"But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance."
Who was the farmer? Was he a real person? No. He was a character in Jesus’ story. And the story itself told a truth. Obviously, that truth was not immediately evident to everyone who heard the story. However, did that stop Jesus from telling it? No!
In the same way, we as writers should not hesitate to tell our stories just because some may not understand. We write for different audiences and in different ways. But, we must write in such a way as to tell the truth. And then, our writing will not be in vain. Wouldn’t it be worth the writing if just one soul got saved as a result? Or if one family stayed together? Or one child said “no” to temptation?
I think it is worth it, and so I write.