Saturday, August 8, 2009

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday:

This week, My Friend Amy, asks:

What do you think about the portrayal of pastors and ministers in general market fiction? How about Christian fiction? How was the pastor portrayed in the last book you read with a minister? What's your favorite fictional minister? What do you think is an accurate and realistic fictional clergyman?

I think there are various categories: the good, the bad, the ugly. I think sometimes the bad and ugly are more memorable to the reader. Who can really forget Mr. Collins or Mr. Slope? Would I want to listen to Mr. Collins or Mr. Slope week after week? Would I want to have to be in church meetings with them on Sunday afternoons? No. And no! For the record, Mr. Collins is found in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; Mr. Slope is found in Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. Both books are ones I'd recommend. And if you've got a phobia of reading classics, there are GREAT movies of both of these.

As far as Christian fiction, I think the vicar in Lawana Blackwell's Gresham Chronicles was a nice portrayal. He wasn't perfect--he had flaws--but it was those flaws and the lack of self-righteousness that made him a good character. He definitely wasn't stereotypically wise and all-knowing. (Book one is The Widow of Larkspur Inn and book two is The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter. There are others in the series. But I haven't read them yet.)

The problem I have with portrayals of Christianity--of pastors--in mainstream, contemporary fiction is that they often miss the mark completely. Sometimes the theology is just out-and-out wrong. Offensively and abrasively wrong.

One of the fictional characters that I think most people would love to see die a horrible, terrible death is the pastor in Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Lepidoptera said...

I found Jan Karon's Father Tim in the Mitford series very likeable. He has his flaws, but the townspeople love him. He has a realness to him.