Looking on the Bright Side, part II
Recently I blogged about the boundaries of my fiction writing. A fellow author, Rebecca Florence Miller, has penned a thoughtful post that has helped me clarify and refine my thinking on the matter. She writes, “Redemptive art is that which clearly shows the reality of our broken world and doesn’t try to clean it up to make people comfortable. But redemptive art does not stay there in the brokenness. Rather, this art takes us through a journey through darkness to the light of hope.” (Read her whole post here.)
That definition casts a vision of the Christian writer’s role that is broader and more nuanced just “writing clean.” There’s real pain and suffering in the world that needs attention. I write clean stories, not necessarily to make readers comfortable, but to give them hope that there’s another way to live, another way to see things. Rather than just seeking to be inoffensive, I hope my stories help illuminate truth, beauty, and goodness as worthy ideals in a cynical world that calls them outmoded and irrelevant. That’s why, in my earlier post, I disagreed with the author I quoted who wrote, “Everyone has a dark side, and mine truly came out in this book,” as if that alone was a good thing. I understand that the dark side exists, and there are many skilled authors who can explore it redemptively. I just don’t think it’s sensitive to take readers there and leave them there, or to encourage them to celebrate the darkness. As the Psalmist says, “Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” I choose to keep my eyes fixed on the dawn.
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