f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Problem in Talking About God: Day 5

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

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Problem in Talking About God: Day 5

“Confess with your mouth.”

This is the easy part of writing a conversion.

“Believe in your heart.”

This is the tough one. Especially for writers trained to “show and not tell.”

Most of us don’t have time to create scene-after-scene of how the indwelling of the Holy Spirit has helped us change our lives. Instead we go for short cuts. Cranky characters are nicer. Desperate characters express hope. Alcohol is turned down. Nookie is, too.

We use the outward “expressions” of faith—expressions which are all secondary to Christian faith—to stand in for belief itself. Which is why it’s not surprising when we’re accused of only standing against things. As if being clean and sober were the measuring stick for being a Christian.

Besides these outward signs, there’s one inward sign that came up a lot in the short stories. I’ll mention it and just warn you that it is not uncommon and therefore to tread lightly when using it.

This inward sign is that a light goes on in someone’s eyes. Where there had been a void, there is now vitality and life.

I think there’s more to discuss about what “instantaneous conversion” means in terms of how we think and approach faith (and there underlying messages of our novels) but I’m running low on time today.