Saturday, September 2, 2017

'I Wanted to Get Away'

This summer I served an Indianapolis congregation whose young pastor was on sabbatical leave. When he met me to debrief what had happened, he arrived with a stack of books, so I asked what they were. “A few books of theology I’d intended to read,” he said as he put them back on his shelf. “But I didn’t. I read four novels instead.”

When he decided to make a clean break with his workaday routine, the novels provided a way of escape. He chose a couple of suspense novels and a couple of historical pieces. Somewhat sheepishly, he admitted that he read them without any thought of gathering sermon material. “They were just plain fun,” he said.

A strict work ethic makes it difficult for many of us to admit we do anything that’s “just plain fun,” but we do. And I believe it’s altogether fitting to write books for the same purpose. If we can provide even a few hours’ escape from this world of tasks and appointments, we have served the Kingdom well. Without teaching a lesson or propagating a moral, we can provide a sanctuary for readers who just want to get away.

Who knows? They may gain insights on our narrative retreats they would receive in no other way.

Joe Allison has been a member of the Indiana Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2010. He lives in Anderson, IN. His non-fiction books include Setting Goals That Count and Swords and Whetstones.


  1. I like your last statement. The best stories often do offer good insights and lessons on life, but they don't seem to work hard at driving home a point.

  2. I love this! So glad he took a real sabbatical. I adore the idea of our fiction being one.