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Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Nonfiction in Fiction

I've not been much of a fiction reader. I read some as a kid, and have enjoyed fiction in 2-hour formats, but when weighing the amount of effort required in the form of hours reading a book, nonfiction easily wins over hours reading something that feels like a fabrication.

I've been reading Chapters from Mark Twain's autobiography, and there have been more than a few references to the people in real life whom he was representing as characters in his fiction books. Based on the colorful characters in his life, Twain felt comfortable writing the sometimes outlandish tales of people he actually knew, just with a different name.

I think the truth in nonfiction is why some Christians are rightfully concerned about books like Harry Potter. There are plenty who would excuse or dismiss it all as make believe, but when the practices in the fiction bear a strong resemblance to practices in real life, then the fiction isn't so entirely fictional anymore.

Further, once fiction enters the nonfiction world (released in various forms such as publishing), then it's no longer exclusively fiction. Those words are now in the real world and have a real impact on the real world. One of the deepest ways fiction can become embedded into real life is when its vocabulary becomes a part of the language people use in their every day lives. Considering how fundamental words are to this world and our lives, that is something over which to be very cautious, not dismissive.

Jesus said, “I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).

Are you ready for that Day? There's one good answer for any word you've ever said.

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