Do Christians underestimate fiction?

Caryn Rivadeneira

Caryn Rivadeneira
November 4, 2015

A Barna study highlights a preference for non-fiction over fiction among Christian readers. Is that a bad thing?

November 5, 2015

Love this piece, Caryn. I've fretted over that perennial statistic before, too...because I find myself in that Christian majority who prefers a work on nonfiction to fiction. I have to actually discipline myself to take a break from reading works of theology and spirituality in order to delve into a good sci-fi or fantasy novel, or even the occasional saccharine romance. I have to fight a latent feeling that my time spent reading fiction like this is "wasted," especially when I'm doing good most days to read more than ten pages at a time.

But you're right; I would be a much smaller Christian if it weren't for my fiction reading. Some of the profoundest spiritual insights and biblical resonances I've ever discovered were hiding within the fanciful stories of fictional characters.

Thanks for your reminder. I think my next book will definitely be something from the fiction section.

November 6, 2015

Thank you for this, Caryn. This has been a big year for me wrestling with the place of fiction in my life. I have always preferred reading fiction, but have landed up writing non-fiction. When a friend and mentor suggested this year that I try writing fiction, I internally revolted against the notion: wouldn't that be less useful? less true? Wasn't non-fiction better suited for the Kingdom? (I wrote about it here: http://shelovesmagazine.com/2015/a-cathedral-of-words/)

I have since realized how much more open I am (vulnerable I am!) to truth-in-story than I am truth-in-propositional-statement. I learned more from John Ames in Gilead than I think I ever could have in a textbook for reformed ministers, and more about advocacy and privilege from Scout Finch's perspective than a thousand essays on the topic.

So yes! Three cheers for fiction. You going to try your hand there sometime?

Caryn Rivadeneira
November 9, 2015

In Reply to Bronwyn_Lea (comment #27593)
I have! Anita Lustrea and I co-wrote Shades of Mercy, a novel. Came out with Moody two years ago. Fiction is harder to write than non, but wonderful.

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