William Boekestein, pastor of Immanuel Fellowship Church in Kalamazoo, MI, was recently appointed as the social media coordinator for Reformed Fellowship, publisher of the The Outlook. In his continuing task to help Reformed Fellowship build an online presence and engage meaningful internet discussion, he posted yesterday (October 20, 2016) a link to my article on Fiction’s Delight and Truth.
I wrote the article over a year ago, and it appeared in 2015’s November issue. At the risk of sounding like a presidential candidate, I felt then and I still feel it is one of the best things I’ve ever written. In my defense, I submit what Leland Ryken (longtime professor of English at Wheaton College) wrote after I shared it with him:
Your essay is what I call a moon shot in my classes. It is absolutely perfect as a complete coverage of the material in a small compass. Congratulations on work well done. You did it better than I could have.
Considering Leland’s prolific writings on the subject and his astounding output as an author, I take this as the highest compliment. And I give all praise and glory to God, the I AM who writes all our stories as part of His great and never-ending story.
An article I wrote about why Christians should read fiction appears in the November issue of The Outlook. You can page through this online preview to read that article as well as a lovely review of my Matthew books.
Letters & Life: on being a writer, on being a Christian by Bret Lott
Crossway; hard cover; 192 pages; © 2013
Book review by Glenda Mathes
You have to admire a writer who admits to having received over 600 rejections. And who repeatedly confesses that he knows nothing about writing.
Bret Lott’s work always strikes me as humble and honest. In Letters & Life, those characteristics emanate from his faith and fuse reflections on writing and living into one cohesive book.
In the first five essays, Lott explores literary fiction, the public square, precision, the workshop model, and the humility of Flannery O’Conner. The second half of the book is an extended reflection on the death of his father, “At Some Point in the Future, What Has Not Happened Will Be in the Past.” In both parts of the book, Lott looks at his subject with the keen eye of faith as well as the observant eye of the writer.
One of my favorite quotes comes from his first essay, in which Lott offers what may be the best published definition of that most-difficult-to-label genre, literary fiction. This is what he tells students:
“I tell them that literary fiction is fiction that examines the character of the people involved in the story, and that popular fiction is driven by plot. Whereas popular fiction, I tell them, is meant primarily as a means of escape, one way or another, from this present life, a kind of book equivalent of comfort food, literary fiction confronts us with who we are and makes us look deeply at the human condition” (p. 14).
By humbly and honestly sharing his faith-based explorations, Lott leads readers and writers to more authentic living and writing.