f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 2 of <i>From the Corner of His Eye</i> – Christian Without Christ?

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Day 2 of From the Corner of His Eye – Christian Without Christ?

If you didn’t read yesterday’s post today’s title gives away the farm. But I know you’re all dutiful at checking in daily and never miss a post. Right?

The end of yesterday’s post implied that I would have pursued From the Corner of His Eye had it arrived on my desk. There’s some language, a fair amount of violence (but American’s love their violence if network television is any indicator) and no skin/sensuality (which Americans are far feistier about). The book’s heart though addresses the notion that our actions resonate through time. That each choice—for good or evil—not only affects the immediate present but echoes into the future. (It’s actually based as much in quantum mechanics as Scripture, which I’ll try to deal with tomorrow.)

There is a pastor and a sermon that affects the lives of the entire cast. There is a devoted woman of faith whose small good deed is delivering pies to a enormous network of friends and acquaintances. People pray. There’s a priest-turned-cop who seeks justice fueled by righteous anger. The villain is a self-deluded, self-absorbed nut-job who constantly spouts off rhetoric learned from a series of self-help tapes that are deeply new-agey and sound rife with the language of Scientology.

Jesus does not appear.

Bartholomew, his disciple, does. He becomes a symbol, in fact, of the notion mentioned above that (in the words of Maximus Crowe) “What we do in life echoes in eternity!”

Jesus does not appear.

So what about a book that talks about “eternity” and “God” and disciples and fallen sparrows and King Obadiah and yet does not mention the Son, the Lamb, the Beginning and End? Are we in nebulous “deist” territory or are we on a path that points to Christ? Is pointing enough or are we called to name our Savior?

What is the duty of our fiction—to not stand in the way of Jesus or to actively take readers to his feet?

Says his priest-turned-cop: “I can’t explain it to you without sounding like a holy fool, but even as a boy, I wanted to serve the God who had created so much wonder, regardless of how strange and perhaps even beyond all understanding He might be.”

This would fit well in a CBA novel. It would fit well in an episode of Highway to Heaven or Joan of Arcadia or 7th Heaven or Touched By an Angel or whatever other nebulous religion show is playing on Fridays. This is “acceptable spirituality.”

I’m still wondering where Jesus fits in. Because I think when you add him to the mix, spirituality becomes a lot less acceptable. He seems to be the line in the sand, the stumbling block. His name divides.

And I don’t know that he fits into our novels. Even when we try and force him in. Especially when we try to force him in. But to leave him out all together...?
::
Go to Day 3 of our discussion of From the Corner of His Eye.