Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Does God Need to Audition?

I had a mind to throw it against the wall. What held me back was the nice paint-job my wife had done, which I didn't want to nick or scar. I settled for closing the novel without putting the book-mark back in.

My wife asked what was wrong.

"This book is crap," I said. "I can't believe this stuff gets published. Did an editor even read this? Did the author do the least bit of research on the human race and how one might respond during a crisis? Is this actually meant to be a satire and I'm just missing the point?"

The book was a well-known novel, and, to its credit, well-loved by tens of thousands of book-buyers. So, it is very possible I was in the vast minority in my critique of the book. Or, perhaps, I'm just more ticked by having to stretch my suspension of disbelieve to sci-fi when I'm reading a standard thriller. Give me a heads-up if you're going to make people behave like androids!

And here's where it got me thinking. We all read books where we say, WTH, would anyone really do that? I think I'd just go to the police. Full disclosure: someone said the EXACT SAME thing about my novel The Next Chapter. Of course, they liked romance novels, primarily, so I took that criticism with a whole salt mine. 

Then there are those eye-rolling novels where people begin praying aloud to God. Or, worse, where God becomes a character in their book. I mean, does God have to audition for the role? And how do we humans, who can't seem to portray each other in consistently believable ways, hope to depict God in his awesome, unfathomable ways? And if a fictional character is praying, does that prayer represent true conversation with God, or is it taking God's name in vain?

Let me know what you think about this issue in the comments below. Check out my books, if you like, and let me know if you think I portray faith respectfully in a fictional context.

As a parting thought, Cecil B. DeMille, director of The Ten Commandments, said once that there were two things that couldn't be properly portrayed in film due to their highly personal nature: sex and prayer.

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