The Great Commission? – Redeeming Mankind through Fiction
>Scientists, engineers and technological inventors and business entrepreneurs say that humanity is on the cusp of a new wave of human creativity like never before.
Instant communications are now possible via the web bringing literally thousands of minds together from all over the planet at one moment in time discarding the limitations of geographical locations. Embryonic concepts and ideas when shared on the global net can result in brave new inventions with mind-blowing rapidity. Human thought can coalesce in a way that mimics the micro-world of biology by using chip technology. These synaptic pulses occurring ever second of the day and night in the global-brain, produces millions of new ideas and fresh concepts that have never before been thought of.
This is truly the age of human wonder and the birthing of completely fresh subjects of thought and intellectual imagination.
Laying the disciplines of science and technology aside the same suppositions can be transferred to literature and writing. The impact of words via the global village has never been more fertile or dynamic in its capability to influence individuals, cultures and nations.
The power of the word is here and now.
When we have a headache it isn’t long before we reach for aspirin. If we are overweight and want to shed pounds or really want to be successful in our chosen field we can reach for a book or a manual that will guide us through 10 easy steps to improve our lives. There is a Dummies book for every situation every condition of life. There is probably a ‘Dummies Guide to Death’
As imagination and creativity crosses boundaries and mixes disciplines, collaborating in previously unknown ways, incredible results occur. Previously thought unsolvable problems are figured out in hours by creative minds working in unison
Human endeavour is forging new boundaries, breaking out of the box of tradition and orthodoxy. We are thinking in ways now, not just laterally, that’s old hat, but thinking in a way that resembles six dimensions. The equivalence of string theory and quantum mechanics is being applied to the arts and humanities, not just to science.
New thinkers are ditching personal labels. I am not just a scientist, not just a physician, not just an explorer of space but much, much more. Exclusive thinking is out and inclusivity is in.
My own fields are blurred sufficiently enough to give me a big start in this arena. As an engineer with an academic university degree I thought differently to all my colleagues. I was a renaissance man. I brought my philosophic and artistic mind to solve engineering problems and conversely I used my engineer’s mind to help with the practical aspects of my own chosen art; writing.
My background was unimpressive to start with. Leaving school at barely fifteen from a poor neighbourhood school in London’s East End I was not equipped for anything but breathing. That is until I walked into a library in East Ham to get out of the rain one Saturday afternoon.
I was thunderstruck. I had never ever seen so many books, shelves and shelves of books, rows upon rows and books of every size, colour and type, literally thousands of them. I stood dumbfounded by this awesome sight. A kind librarian told me that I could take these books away, for weeks at a time, and all for free. Since that day I have never stopped reading books.
That was a long time ago. Times change, I now read electronic books on my Kindle. Change or die. But the books and stories I read daily in paperbacks, in hardbacks and now on Kindle are still the same sort of stories and novels that I read over fifty years ago. Systems change but we still stay the same.
Maybe the time is ripe for a change in writing and in reading.
Cross fertilization in biology often brings strange hybrids that are not fit to live but sometimes a miracle happens and a new species is born that adds value to human kind.
How about this idea, what if we take the whole driving force behind DIY books, get-fit, lose weight, become a better person, and take the form that is so familiar sitting on the non-fiction shelf and create a ‘fiction’ corollary that produces better, more effective results than the one-dimensional ‘Help-Yourself in 10 Easy Steps’ books.
We reach for the aspirin because we are too impatient to take the natural cure. We know that the answer to getting rid of a headache is to sit quietly, rest and patiently let the body heal itself. Physicians know that the human body is a fantastic healer when allowed to do its work unaided. The placebo is simply a means of proving this fact.
The trouble with ‘Help-Yourself’ manuals is that our approach to these books is fundamentally wrong. We actually believe the advertising hype that made us buy the book. Yet our expectations are totally unrealistic. We get halfway into the book, knowing deep down it’s never going to work for us. We quit, reinforcing the enshrined idea that once again we have failed.
If we had stopped beforehand and thought about the book before we handed over the money we would have realized that no one person could write a book that would be able to universally help millions of uniquely different people.
Works of fiction are importantly and essentially different to non-fiction in a very special way.
This is my main point.
When you read good fiction there is a vital empathy between writer and reader. The reason it works for only one writer and millions of readers, is that the empathy is uniquely strong. It’s like a romance. Hands touch, eyes meet and hearts converge as one beating heart.
The reader’s intimacy with the tale, with the characters, with the drama, is both private and public. The reader becomes part of the plot. His or her mind is inextricably linked at a very deep level of consciousness. Whether the action is serious or comical, solemn or trivial, life or death, in all conditions, it is the precious human interaction occurring at the core of the exchange process of reading and being read.
The ideas expressed in the book, the emotions felt by the characters and the reader, the human landscapes travelled through are powerful persuaders, albeit subliminal or obvious.
My brand phrase is ‘Redeeming mankind through fiction’ now makes important sense.
My faith mission as a Christian writer is carry out the great commission that Jesus gave his disciples to take His message, the Gospel to every corners of the world.
I was recently given a ‘word’ from the Lord. It was simple yet profound.
“As the Holy Spirit is intimately involved in the writing of your books so the Holy Spirit will be profoundly involved when someone reads your book. The Holy Spirit will speak to the reader’s heart and truth will be imparted.”
I have already received testimonies from people who have read ‘Light of the Wicked’ who have been deeply affected by the story and have gone on, to search for God and salvation. For them it has been more than just entertainment it has been a way of coming to know a God they thought did not exist.
Christian writers have an awesome responsibility not to just create entertaining books but to share the gospel, not by preaching at the reader but by allowing the quality of the story to bring the reader into the presence of the living God. The exchange process is one of respect. God does not ever force himself on anyone. The reader by coming into contact with a story that reflects God’s truth and life is entering into a heart to heart conversation the Lord of Heaven.
The Bible is the bestselling book of all time chiefly because it is about people, about God and Christ and shows us the way to eternal life. Let those who read truly understand.