Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Heroin, Molasses, & Mirrors

This morning Ellerie and I listened to the radio while we waited for the school bus to come to the end of our road. In between songs, Air 1’s Scott and Kelly took a call from a Dad whose daughter is a heroin addict now serving time in a local jail.

I expected to hear the usual story about a “lost” daughter who needed Jesus; instead, a grateful father told how God used an awful, destructive addiction in one of His kids to bring about change in the life of someone else.

This man’s daughter—the heroin addict-- was a born again Christian—before heroin (and during and even now); yes, she is SAVED, but “got caught up in the ways of the world” to the point of drug abuse, theft, and incarceration. After getting clean, this man’s daughter read her Bible everyday in jail and ended up witnessing to and sharing Christ with her cellmate. When her father visited her in jail recently, she shared a letter she’d received from her former cellmate who had been transferred to a state prison. In the letter, the woman thanked this man’s daughter for reading her Bible every day and for sharing the love of Christ with her; the cellmate is now a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

We are so quick to judge, aren’t we? So quick to assume that God could never use something so hideous and awful as heroin addiction to further His purpose. Would that cellmate have come to Christ without the benefit of having that man's daughter's witness? Maybe--but probably much later. Who would have guessed when she heated up her first spoon or opened her first vein that that act would lead to a moment where the angels of heaven rejoiced? It's truly awful and truly awesome. It makes me want to jump up and joyfully scream out the word "HOPE" as if it were one of the names of God. Maybe it is.

When I hear stories like this—true stories—I hold them up against the Christian fiction that is out there; stories of such perfection in the saved; stories of messed up lives which miraculously align when Christ is added to the picture; and I wonder if the mirror of truth is cracked in the CBA arena of the publishing industry—or just blurred by layers of molasses.

Lately I’ve been a three-five chapter puker over most of the Christian titles I’ve checked out from my local library. What I mean by that is: after 3-5 chapters of the book, I take it to the “returns” slot, disgusted; no, appalled that the “church” end of the publishing empire is pandering such syrupy sludge off as relevant fiction. And these aren’t obscure titles from little-old-lady authors, either; these are new releases from bestselling Christian authors; authors writing stories which are so coated with saccharin that I need an MRI after reading them.

That being said, I have read a couple of good ones, too. See my Shelfari shelf for more info on those.

No wonder more and more Christian readers are turning to secular fiction. Fiction mirrors truth, but honestly: who wants to have to scrape molasses off a mirror when it’s this cold outside?

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