Saturday, March 7, 2020

A Flicker of Lightning

Hope is in short supply. Some thought that the dramatic growth of knowledge and wealth that marked the dawn of the twenty-first century would give us a new birth of hope, but no. Anxiety and despair are the prevailing attitudes of our day.

Daily news headlines confirm this. We see it in the faces of people we encounter every day. Their conversations describe lives of futility and despair, fatalism and cynicism, in a world overcast with fear.

If you say this is nothing new, you would be right. Generations have longed for hope. The question is, can we help them find it?

The late John Gardner, who taught creative writing at Binghamton University, admitted that most fiction writers don't. “For the most part our artists do not struggle—as artists have traditionally struggled—toward a vision of how things ought to be or what has gone wrong; they do not provide us with the flicker of lightning that shows us where we are,” he wrote. “Either they pointlessly waste our time, saying and doing nothing, or they celebrate ugliness and futility, scoffing at good” (Gardner, On Moral Fiction, 16).

Seldom can we write a story that shines a floodlight of truth upon the human condition; perhaps once in a generation does a master storyteller do that. But even “a flicker of lightning” can help our readers find their way. This is why our world needs faithful Christian fiction writers, more than ever.

Joe Allison writes both fiction and nonfiction, and has been a member of the Indiana chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2010. He lives in Anderson, IN, with his wife Maribeth and daughter Heather.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post. Hope as a flicker of lightning. Yes.