That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight.
I love stories. I grew from Dr. Seuss’s silly rhymes to Nancy Drew and on to the greats such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy in high school. By far my favorite books were the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. In college, I discovered C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and books by other authors from their Inklings group. In them, I discovered the gospel retold in compelling fiction.
In fact, in seminary, I wrote a paper about “eucatastrophy,” a term coined by Tolkien. He argued against calling something “just a fairy tale,” stating “it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.”
I find that same ping in many works of fiction, some more than others. I felt it when I read The Chamber by John Grisham; Bone Crack by Dick Francis; Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs.
As I write, I pray that my books will be mediums of that same eucatastrophe. That over and above the problems my characters face, they will run to the joy and peace of faith.
Pray with us writers of faith, that our words will nudge our readers to “receptive listening.”