Why Read Fiction? A Perspective

So, what's this lady in a boat got to do with anything?

When was the last time you read a book for fun? For education? For spiritual enlightenment?

When was the last time it was all the same book?

If you’ve been studying here under the Hogwarts Professor, I’m guessing that might be pretty recently. But I think for many readers—including myself, in fact—the association between basking in a good story, didactic reception of knowledge, and the spiritual apotheosis of great art isn’t immediate or easy. It’s an old trope but it’s a true trope: we of the West have learned how to compartmentalise.*

The problem with implicit assumptions about the world, of course, is that they’re implicit. It takes a lot of self-scrutiny and a willingness to succumb to an outside critique from art and truth to expose them.

So what do you do when you’re too busy to read those sorts of books, watch those sorts of films, visit those sorts of galleries? What do you do when you’ve been trained to operate within rigid compartments and methods of scrutiny that ignore the silent power of Story? What do you do when you’re supposed to be the one with all the answers?

Mike Duran of deCOMPOSE, author of The Resurrection (Realms/Strang, 2011), asks similar questions in a recent blog post: ‘5 Reasons Why Your Pastor Should Read Fiction.’ [Read more…]