A Christian Worldview of God, Day 1

Someone might think this a strange topic. A Christian worldview of God?

Actually this is my passion. One of the things that is a distinctive of my fiction, in my view, is my determination to show God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. Not that I can ever do that completely. That’s much like trying to catch the wind.

And yet, in the process of writing and reading a story that aims to show God as He is, I think we can come away thinking more deeply about Him, searching the pages of Scripture and spending more time in thought and prayer.

What spurred me to address the topic here is a post I read at J. Mark Bertrand’s site in which he discussed Lisa Samson’s article at the Master’s Artist, A Theology of Comfort, Detrimental to the Christian Artist. Among Lisa’s thought-provoking comments, she said:

What God am I writing about? Walking the gritty edge may be realistic, but am I willing to portray a God who laid down power, allowed Himself to be spat upon and still opened not his mouth?

Lisa points out that much fiction in the CBA portrays God as loving, wanting to bless us, to alleviate pain, to be our Great Physician (my paraphrase of her view). All this is true, but it is not all of who He reveals Himself to be.

Where is the portrayal of the suffering Servant—the image her words evoked in me. Where is the just Judge? Or the Avenger? The Jealous One? It might be uncomfortable to think of God in these terms because they don’t square with the picture of the kind grandfather we usually think of. Or the harried customer-service rep. Or the blank wall we sometimes feel we’re praying to.

Here’s the point. If we let a certain attribute dominate our thinking about God, we will end up having a shallow understanding of who He is.

Good Christian fiction shows multi-dimensional characters, but we have settled for a one-dimensional God. And yet He actually is the most complex person of all. Maybe it’s time our fiction started reflecting this.

Published in: on November 9, 2006 at 1:55 pm  Comments (6)  

6 Comments

  1. Good points, Becky. He’s anything but just one thing, one way, unimaginative, or tied down in the boxes we make for Him.

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  2. This is precisely what we’ve been examining in the Bible study, Believing God, by Beth Moore … that our spiritual strength, so to speak, may be directly in proportion to our vision of God … how does it measure against the whole of Scripture, and not just the parts we like?

    Interesting thoughts, as always.

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  3. Writing complex characters is a great challenge. And if God is “the most complex person of all,” then portraying Him rightly is the supreme challenge. However, stories have word limits and require resolution. How can we portray a God Whose thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than us, without employing mystery and ambiguity? I wonder that this is why Christian fiction contains such simplistic, predictable portrayals of God. The real God is much bigger than any one book can capture and more complex than most editors can tolerate. Great thoughts, Becky!

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  4. Nicole, you said it well. I do think theology is important, but sometimes we let theology (boxes or lists) rein God in. He doesn’t have to act the way we decide He should. But to be honest, I don’t think most fiction gets close to showing God even as the blandest, broadest theology states Him to be.

    I confess, it’s not easy. How do you SHOW God?

    Shannon, I like that—spiritual strength in proportion to our vision of God. Though I’d probably change it to “understanding of God.” My “vision of Him” could be open to the postmodern idea that my vision is a valid one, yours is a valid one, Nicole’s is a valid one, and so on. In truth, my understanding of God is incomplete, but it becomes less so as I learn to know Him better.

    Becky

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  5. Mike,

    You inspired the next couple posts on this subject. Of course, I ranted on about “mystery” when you didn’t suggest that God is mystery but that writers may need to employ mystery and ambiguity.

    You could be right. The thing is, in writing fantasy, you can do so much more. But what about contemporary or historical—anything not speculative, really?

    In many ways I feel in choosing fantasy I have taken the easy way out. I WANT to show God as He is. I feel like this is what my life is about. I am to be a light on a hill, not illuminating the hill. I am to be a spotlight piercing the darkness to reveal the Source of Light itself.

    OK, I’m getting fired up. 😉 Think I just need to go write.

    Becky

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  6. Becky, I was going back to this old post to reference the second one I’m doing in the series for Master’s Artist (I’ll put it up Saturday), and saw your comment, your trackback, and your blog post. Thank you so much!!!

    lisa

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