A Novel Question…

I wonder . . . what novel deepened your faith?

For me one of the great joys of ministry is being paid to read. And I don’t mean only the scholarly commentaries or theological tomes. With respect to heavyweights like Bultmann or Brueggemann, please, give me a novel!

Some novels rocked my faith. And though I could list many, here’s one: John Irving’s CIDER HOUSE RULES. To this day I can recall reading the section where Dr. Larch reflected on abortion. Part of his pondering included his “belief” that there was really no way to know when life began . . . that some people—fully grown and completely “adult”—were still not yet human, not yet “born.” Maybe they were cruel, selfish, or manipulative. Agree with Dr. Larch or not, Irving’s novel caused me to view abortion, and how people of faith may approach it, as complex . . . and never an “agree” or “disagree” issue.

Fiction. It’s not real . . . but really, isn’t it? Even though I’ve read or heard the “Good Samaritan” parable at least a thousand times, it still jars and jangles me. (But it’s only fiction!) Revelatory fiction is like that. I remember Dr. Larch’s dilemma . . . when is someone truly, really born? When is someone human enough to be selfless and always ready to forgive?

What novel has shaped or reshaped your faith?

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  1. Has to be:
    ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ (John Bunyan)
    ‘The Shack’ (Young)
    And of course the ‘Narnia’ series by CS Lewis. ‘The Last Battle’ can still bring me to tears.

    1. Doug: I have not read MR. IVES, but will put that on my list. You will likely not be surprised that I (along with CIDER HOUSE) enjoyed OWEN MEANY. (And anything by Buechner is fine!) Thanks for your comments.

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