f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Problem of Talking About God: Day 4

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

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Problem of Talking About God: Day 4

So busy. So very, very busy. And I gave blood yesterday so I’m getting less oxygen. It’s just a mess here.

Anyway, so last time we talked about the “converter/convertee” pairing that occurs, quite often, in evangelical portions of stories/novels.

There is one corollary to this rule: and for lack of a better word we’ll call it the God corollary.

Because sometimes we don’t have a converter. There is nobody involved in sharing the word of God. Instead we let Him talk for himself, almost always through the Bible.

Two things:

1. This can become a contrivance--a literal deus ex machine--very easily. Avoid letting the Bible fall open to a particularly meaningful passage. Make their be rhyme and reason to the convertee’s search and their response to His word.

2. This is extremely hard to make come alive in fiction. God’s word is a sword that cuts deep but rendering that on the page is difficult.

So that’s the corollary. Now back to one final concern for the “converter/convertee” pairing.

Whose POV are you telling this through? The short stories were fascinating to me because I think both sides were equally represented. Both obviously they’re very different tales. If I wanted to be cruel the next contest would be two 750 word stories—relating each side of a conversion conversation. But that’s not going to happen.

In taking the POV of the “convertee” it very much becomes a scene about the power of God…and this “moment” when that makes all the difference in the world. We’re often seeing need and desperation and hopelessness.

Seeing through the “converter’s” eyes, the scene becomes almost an apologetic, a creed to support our faith. It’s can be a comfort, quite often, and an inspiration.

The next time I write (I’ll stop saying tomorrow, because sometimes that doesn’t happen) we’re going to linger a bit on the “moment” of salvation. And the troubles that arise therein.

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Go to Day 5 of the Problem of Talking About God.