There is a little section in the introduction to Fred Baue‘s new book subtitled Toward a Theology of Fiction. Ladies and gentlemen, couldn’t we put together a book of essays, Toward a Theology of Fiction?! What should we include?
Call me old-fashioned, but theology has to consider in a central way Jesus and the Word of God. So, maybe we could start with an essay about the Word of God and the Words of Man with a second essay on Jesus, the Storyteller.
I wonder who would read such a book: writers, readers, curious arm-chair theologians? I suspect we could include a wide variety of subjects, including:
- Sacramental Imagery
- Fiction and Evangelism
- Church Language and Widening Audiences
- Means of Grace Explained for Secular Audiences
- Morality, Immorality, and Immortality in fiction
- Parables, Divine and Fictitious
- Vocations, Reading, and Writing
- Vocation and the Arts or Creative Vocations
- Sin, Self, and Setting: Sin as a factor for characters and settings
- Imagination and Images God Gives Us
- Writing Temptations and Temptations in Writing
I suspect Fred Baue would be interested in writing something about Fiction Revealing what is Real. Gene Veith has a book on imagination.
The sky may be the limit for subject material. We could include sections on patience, process, creative work, inner and out critics; however, I would hope the book could be helpful without being a self-help book. Theology studies the Word of God. Theology pertaining to fiction is not putty in our hands.
The introduction would need to answer whether we are moving toward or away from a theology of fiction. And, are the writers advocating a new formulation or examining the existing teachings in light of our own attempts to use the gifts and imagination God has given us to serve our neighbor?
I don’t know whether a book of essays, like a theology of fiction, would be open for submissions or by invitation only. How do people figure this stuff out? Would we try to get a Lutheran publishing house to put something together, hopefully keeping our suggestions in mind, or would we try to do this ourselves to keep creative control?
I’ll slot this blog-wise as a shared writing idea, admittedly originating in large part from Baue, but this is what I recommend. If this interests you, spread the idea to others who might be interested: theologians or otherwise. If you come up with a plan, I’m happy to help implement it. I can help write up a proposal, touch base with a few of my own contacts, work up a list of potential subjects, brainstorm, and help coordinate, but something like this needs to be a team project.