Fiction as a means of grace

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Fri, 7/15/11
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". . . the discipline of reading fiction seriously and openheartedly is a practice that ought to be encouraged in church alongside other means of discipleship." Aslan's Library

paynen's picture
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Tue, 2/19/13
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Wow... and here was I

Wow... and here was I thinking that Christ was the only means of grace in my life... Didn't know I could just read Lord of The Rings and get the same thing...

I enjoy fiction and I would even say it has some positive uses for man in his education and can even teach spiritual truths. But saying its a means of grace and a way of discipleship is too much.

DavidO's picture
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Mon, 5/3/10
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As the phrase historically

As the phrase historically has been used by Protestants, the means of grace are those things God uses first to provide, then to strengthen our faith in Christ--Bible reading, preaching, prayer, and observation of the sacraments/ordinances, etc.  Those would be the "ordinary" means.  Novel reading would be extraordinary, and therefore suspect as a legitimate means.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Means_of_grace#Lutheran_theology

Susan R's picture
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Ditto David

on the definition of 'means of grace'. 

People have different ways of nurturing their souls, so to speak. Hiking, gardening, music, volunteerism - I think quality fiction can serve as a refreshment as well as an exercise. One can develop a better understanding of the world and learn to empathize instead of just sympathize. 

In other words, I may not be able to fully experience my friends' pain or struggle, especially if they are unwilling and unable to share with me - but when I read a story (fiction or memoir/biography) that allows me to 'enter' that character or person, I can at least get a better picture of what it's like for them.