Guest Blogger Laura Lentz on Epic Fiction and the Christian Life

My esteemed Guest Blogger today is Laura Lentz, Executive Editorial Assistant at Moody Publishers. Laura is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute, with a degree in Sacred Music, and “a voracious reader with a penchant for the melancholy.”  She also teaches private voice lessons in the Chicago area and volunteers with Campus Crusade’s Military Ministry at the Naval Station Great Lakes.

Feel free to show some love by leaving a comment, question, or observation.

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The Greatest Adventure

Reading fiction, be it epic, escapist, or run-of-the-mill, is an indulgence happily repeated. But what happens when the book is closed and the reader returns to his comparatively mundane existence?

In a great work of fiction, the reader immerses himself in a story in which an often unlikely hero encounters a meaningful and daunting task. The protagonist is faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles which are overcome in pursuit of a virtuous end. The reader feels for him, fights with him, cries with him, and ultimately rejoices when justice, peace, or even vengeance, is achieved. Then what? The story is over, but what happens to the reader at the end of an adventurous and exciting tale?

This reader has often found herself on the verge of tears as she realizes that, at the end of the story, she must put down her book and return to the normal world, complete with dirty dishes, laundry, bills and the same old routine day after day. Reality, it seems, is simply ordinary compared to the excitement and intrigue available in the pages of a good book—a world in which man’s actions matter, where there are battles to be fought, heroes to be made, and hearts to be won. Is this disappointment with reality a legitimate reaction? Certainly the desire for “epic life” is legitimate. But more important is the fact that those desires may be legitimately fulfilled in the real world, a truth oft forgotten by the fiction reader.

Christians are in the unique position to capitalize on this desire. A good work of fiction ought not prompt a reader to wish for a different and yet unattainable life. A good work of fiction ought to reveal to a reader the opportunity they have for adventure and epic living in their own world. While anyone can write enjoyable, even epic works of fiction, only the Christian can encourage the reader to continue living the adventure once the book has finished.

Christian authors have the obligation to point readers to true reality – the reality of a fallen world, desperate for a real savior. There truly is a hero who sacrifices everything for His people and an on-going battle between the forces of good and evil in which every creature, physical and spiritual, takes part. Souls are lost or found, lives are sacrificed. And every man plays a vital role. There ought to be no need for disappointment when the last page of a book is turned. Instead, readers ought to be encouraged to embark on the greatest adventure: knowing and living for God.

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