Eric’s Links: Stories for the Soul

While traveling through seminary, I found that fiction was not often read by most of my fellow pastors-to-be. Understandably, all the lists of their favorite books are full of Christian living guides, Puritan classics, or theological tomes.

Still, fiction holds a special place in my heart. And while I enjoy The Hunger Games and probably would like Percy Jackson as much as the next person, some books can entertain and edify at the same time. Below are some fantasy/science fiction type books and related links which have not just kept me up late at night, but have helped me to think about life and God in beneficial ways.

Use wisdom and remember that all books must come below the Bible in establishing our thoughts and ideas about God, ourselves, and this world. Nonetheless, sometimes reading things in a new light can be a wonderful experience.

C. S. Lewis (wikipedia page)

The Chronicles of Narnia

Not all books in this series are as good as others. My personal favorites are The Magician’s Nephew, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair.

This is how the Pevensies traveled to/from Narnia. I always thought it would be terrible to turn from an adult back into a kid…until I became an adult.

As you might already know, these books were written for young readers, and the Christian themes in these books are expertly simplified that any child could understand them. However, reading them as an adult just makes them better.

The Space Trilogy

I haven’t read the last book in this series because the second book took the wind out of my sails, but I plan on finishing it some day. Much more adult than the Chronicles of Narnia, don’t expect them to be “page turners” in the normal sense. However, after you get through the first few chapters you’ll find an exploration of the themes of perfection, innocence, humanity, free-will and the like explored in a spiritual solar system.

J. R. R. Tolkien (wikipedia page)

The Lord of the Rings

I have given up asking people to read this as most just say it is too long and boring, just watch the movies if you haven’t already, they are also long but not boring!

The Silmarillion

My favorite book of all time! But honestly, this book should be a must read for all Christian leaders in my opinion. J. R. R. Tolkien was not an evangelical Christian by any means, but he treats the themes of pride, sin, evil, love, and divine sovereignty in epic ways in this book.

Here’s a link to a quick review of this book, but honestly if you’re interested just go get it from the Library and read it!

Family Tree of Elves in LOTR

Check out the above link to find out how Elrond (Agent Smith) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) are related. All this information and more can be yours if you read the Silmarillion!

Assorted Stuff

The Sword and the Staff series by Patrick W. Carr

Patrick Carr is a new Christian fiction writer. I decided to read his “Sword and Staff” trilogy on a plane ride a few months back, and enjoyed it a lot! This series is your standard “farm-boy saves the kingdom” deal, and there is nothing really innovative about it. But the unique aspect of this series is that it is written in a world with a view of God that is thoroughly Christian but not ridiculously allegorical or predictable. I’d recommend it for young readers as well as adults since the reading level is probably teen. There’s some romance, lots of brotherly love, some evil, nothing PG-13.

Left Behind

I read these books as a Jr. Higher/High Schooler/College Student and I don’t remember all that much, but I do remember that they were exciting! I would buy them when the new ones were released at Costco. Of course, these books are fiction and should not be read as fact about how the end times will be like. However, I can honestly say that they helped make Biblical ideas seem more real and vibrant to me as a young man.

Frank Peretti

The only thing I can say about these books is that my parents let me read them because he was a Christian author, and they scared me with a lot of poor theology that I thought was biblical! I’d personally steer clear and as a parent it’s a reminder to know what’s in that Christian book your child is reading. I’ve read lots of Christian books but they don’t always seem to be based on a solid understanding of God and the Bible.

Finally, for those of you who love reading fiction, I’d want to encourage you with this thought: Fiction represents the greatest heights of human imagination. The worlds we create are incredible, sometimes seeming more interesting than the world we live in. But God is the source of all creativity. His thoughts far exceed the imagination of human minds.

So even those who love reading about the make-believe can rest assured that God has something better in store for us in eternity than we could ever think or imagine. Let your love for fiction drive you to long more deeply and powerfully for eternity with the author and perfector of our faith, Jesus Christ.

Eph 3:20-21  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  (21)  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Let me know about any good books you are reading!

Eric Lau serves as an Associate Pastor in Lighthouse’s young adult group, Pathlights and Administration. Some of Eric’s favorite activities include spending time with his wife Tritia, drinking tea, reading fiction, and perusing Wikipedia. Eric appreciates the humble and joyful spirit of the people he serves and is served by at Lighthouse.