If you know me in real life, you know that I love to read.
Recently I read this article in the Christian Century Saved by fiction. It powerfully brought home to me the role that reading fiction has played in my life.
Quote from the article
But of all the spiritual disciplines I have ever attempted, the habit of steady reading has helped me most and carried me farthest. Of course, reading scripture has been indispensable. But reading fiction—classics of world literature, fairy tales and Greek myths, science fiction and detective novels—has done more to baptize my imagination, inform my faith and strengthen my courage than all the prayer techniques in the world.
Francis Shaeffer (Reformed people's St. Francis :)) said in Art and the Bible "Christian artists do not need to be threatened by fantasy and imagination. . . . The Christian is the really free person . . . whose imagination should fly beyond the stars." What could be better than a "sanctified imagination."? I have sometimes heard non-fiction described as true and fiction described as not-true. I think this is a poor distinction as we find tremendous truth in fiction. Stories teach us about other people, other countries, other experiences. Stories help us to disappear into the lives of others.
It was pleasant to take a hot drink up to her room and have it beside her as she sat in her silent room reading in the empty house in the afternoons. The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village."