06 June 2011

Fiction and Faith

I have realized that I am quite drawn to book titles with words like "remnant," "return," "last," and "only." Or phrases like "once and future." I know these words may not seem to have much in common. However, I really think that these words convey a nuance that I always hope to find in a good book--that of a recognition of the author of a broken human nature and a future hope.

One man comes into Jeff. Street nearly every day repeating, "God is good, God is good." You ask him how his day is, and he says, "God is good." This same man was passed out at the shelter's front door yesterday, severely intoxicated. Discrepancy in what we say and what we do...broken human nature.

Jeff. Street is undergoing a renovation in ministry, pushing for the best use of resources for the greatest impact in Louisville and individual lives. Currently, we are in an emergency state due to lack of funding (See our Executive Director's post http://www.jeffersonstreet.org/news/urgent-appeal/) However, there is future hope.

G.K. Chesterton often mentions the value of fairy tales in how they point to the greatest tale of all--that of humanity's fall, our individual guilt and rebellion in the face of a righteous and holy God and Creator, and our subsequent redemption through the slaying of God's own son and his substitution on our behalf. If we forfeit our hold on our lives and claim Christ as our own, if we recognize our guilt and hopelessness...there is restoration in this crazy story of our lives.

Saturdays are outreach days for the Hope team women. A neighbor was invited over for dinner who, in the past, had been very hesitant to participate in life with us. Yet she came, ate, and discussed life. Restoration before God? Not yet...but we pray and press on.

I think that if one were to read a story like the ones whose titles I praise, and not know the reality of genuine redemption, one would fall into despair. There would be human suffering painted in its many-colored tales of sorrow and the fictional promise of healing and hope, yet one's longing for that hope would become stronger than reality could offer. Truth is, I do believe in humanity's sin and rebellion, God's grace, and redemption with restoration. Thus, when I pick up a book, I see a truth that runs more deeply than, perhaps, the author intended. If we don't give praise, the rocks will cry out; maybe too with narrative.