I love fictional worlds. Whether they are historical, fantastic, or dystopian, there is something about escaping to a fictional world that is soothing to my soul. Movies get us there, but they tend to tell us how and what we see, with little room left for the imagination. Books engage a part of the brain that enhances imagination and allows us to see the world through the characters' eyes in a way that movies can never do.
I look back on some of my favorite books; I realize that the author is teaching effectively. Most of the time, the reader does not know he or she is learning. When I was a kid, I would dive into the magical world of Narnia or relive a historical moment through the eyes of engaging characters. Words have power.
I am afraid we are losing something in today's world where there are endless forms of entertainment. We do not have to work for it. It's right at our fingertips. However, there are still far more books sold today than when I was growing up.
I read recently that the Christian Fiction segment is a shrinking market. This really breaks my heart. Are we so entertained by the filth that there is no room for good Christian Fiction, or are there not enough authors who are entering the Christian fiction space? I think a bigger question is, are there authors who are willing to put as much creative energy into creating great Christian fiction that it traverses the genre into the marketplace and reaches lost people?
I am afraid that as Christians, we have forgotten that people are lost. We have forgotten that we were once lost too. Can fiction bridge the gap? Maybe not, but it can be a useful tool to get someone to the door. Many readers are looking for meaning and purpose. A story might be just the catalyst needed to help point people in the right direction. Looking at history, God has used many stories to point people to God. Pilgrims Progress, Lord of the Rings, and Paradise Lost, to name a few.
Today there are many incredible Christian novelists. Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, Jerry Jenkins, and many more. You don't have to be the next big thing in fiction to make a difference.
So here is my challenge. Find someone who is a reader who is not a believer and give them a book. You might be surprised if they like it. You never know what kind of impact you can have.