I loved this article by Caryn Rivadeneira I found on Think Christian. I hope you get a chance to read it (it’s not very long), but basically, it is about the importance for Christians to read fiction as well as non-fiction books.
I confess that I am deeply concerned when I hear Christians say they ‘could care less’ about reading, or that they only read non-fiction. I have made two observations about these sorts of people. If they don’t read at all, they are usually a person I have a hard time connecting with because I find them narrow minded. The observation about the people who only read factual books is that they are usually men. As if ‘real men don’t read fiction’ the way they also don’t eat quiche. Or quinoa. (And if they don’t read at all, they probably don’t know how to pronounce them either.)
I don’t care if the Christian reader or care-less non-reader is male or female. There is an important spot in their intellectual, emotional, mental diet for fiction. They are probably not generally against watching movies, but the difference is that fiction requires more application and imagination. Yes, it is something to be developed. It is not a passive activity. There are different reading levels and one will probably start at the bottom and work their way up if their mind is not used to reading. But I have known deeply well-read people (even men) who have well-developed minds and emotions. This must be evidence that not all fiction is fluff.
I don’t believe any book is better than God’s holy Word, the Bible, and I am currently reading a marvelous non-fiction book on the spiritual life by Brennan Manning. But even so I often find that God can use fiction to speak to me in different ways. Not all books all the time, but recently there have been a few good reads that I believe God has used to draw some things to my attention, that have bothered me until I was forced to think about why. These books weren’t necessarily Christian or literary. But when I read fiction, I am put into the place of the characters and their feelings and I experience their lives in a way. And it reminds me of things in my life past or present, and it brings things to the surface. Is this scary? It can be sometimes. But God is there with me, holding my hand through it. What a friend we have in Jesus! He’s even my reading buddy. 🙂