We live in a really violent world. Or haven't you noticed? Sometimes it seems as if the type of fiction known as "inspirational" or "Christian" fiction really hasn't noticed. So much of it seems to want to talk about an idyllic world of polite Amish people, or people who lived in some past era where everyone was a good neighbor.
The Christian fiction which does acknowledge the violence of the world wants to picture it as part of some envisioned end-times scenario where Christians need to join in a violent battle where God's people sport automatic weapons against the "bad guys." But what of the Jesus who was born into a violent world, where he was chased out of the country by a violent king when he was but an infant, and then whipped and crucified as an adult? What of the Jesus who talked about how blessed are the peacemakers, and the one who takes the sword will perish by the sword, and that we should meet violence and hate with forgiveness and love?
Does that Jesus have a chance in today's violent world?
Martin Luther King Jr. took the teachings of Jesus and made them powerful in his non-violent campaign to change how African-Americans were treated in the United States. Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela also relied on such teaching in the turning around of South African apartheid. And although Gandhi was not Christian, he was influenced by Christ's teaching when he used non-violence to change things in India.
Where is the inspirational fiction that calls people of faith to use the non-violence of Jesus Christ to challenge today's violent world?
All we see is books like the Left Behind series which imply or outright state that persons who work for peace are part of some kind of end-times satanic plot. In such books, true Christian (macho) men take up arms to join the fight. Where has the biblical Christ been lost along the way?
In one of my recently published e-books, The Shard Fence, I seek to deal with the violence of a poor Brazilian favela. A church uses non-violence, faith and prayer to fight brutal drug-lords. Crazy, Quixotic idealists! Right? The central characters are a young, dark-skinned, Africa-descended Brazilian woman, and a young North American man (and, yes you romance lovers, they do fall in love!) Responding to violence with their own violence is a temptation, no doubt about it. Can they learn to fight brutal violence through faith and a strengthened community of the faithful? That is a question for our time which more inspirational fiction needs to wrestle with.
My other work of inspirational fiction also deals with the violence of this world. However, Searching for Eden, deals with the wider-scale violence of war. Specifically, the book focuses on the violence and hate between cultures in the Middle East, the locale which most biblical evidence points to for the Garden of Eden. Why is it that the place where civilization started, which the Bible pictures as having been an ideal place of love and harmony, is now some of the most fought-over territory on earth?
Searching for Eden is ultimately about searching for the goodness God originally put into this world and the harmony God desires for all of creation.
Join me in taking off the rose-colored glasses, and looking at the violence and ugliness that sometimes invades our world, with eyes of faith and hope!