The Non

The non in nonfiction informs us that what we are about to read is true – at least from the book author’s perspective.  The lack of non however does not necessarily tell the reader the whole story. There is much truth in fiction.  Think of the truths that you learned from nursery rhymes (no, not the one about cradles falling safely from a tree!). Recall the moral truths that Frog taught Toad.  I’m still not sure why Jack and Jill tumbled down and I’m sure that jumping over a candlestick is not the wisest course of action; nevertheless, I am prepared, if I ever see a grandmother with big ears, eyes, and teeth, to run for the hills. 

Jesus understood the power of fiction.  He made up stories to teach life (and after-life) lessons.  I learn from them.

  • I learn that if I were cast as a character in the Prodigal story, the director might suggest the role of the older brother (I’m more likely to take gifts for granted than wallow with pigs.)
  • I learn that God loves sheep – the two-legged human kind.  Even those who keep getting lost.
  • I learn that using God’s gifts wisely comes with the Father’s blessing (enjoying His happiness), while burying them leads to the Father’s rebuke.
  • I learn that those who chose Christ while young and those who finally surrender when gray receive the same “pay.”  Grace!

Jesus also used fictional images (metaphors and simile) to describe Himself.

  • He is the Light.
  • He is the Door.
  • He is the Lamb.
  • He is the Vine.
  • He is the Water.
  • He is like a longing hen.
Do you hear the non in that fiction?  He speaks truth with such intriguing and beautiful images.

In chapter twelve of Augustine’s Confessions, the author grants his readers a peak into his personal story.  During a deeply personal time of contemplation, prayer, and tears, Augustine heard God saying (through the voice of a child next door) “Take up and read; Take up and read.”  Augustine heeded the words and opened the Bible and read. 

I am not God nor a child, but allow me to say to you “Take up and read.” Turn to one of the four Gospels and read the parables of Jesus.  Enjoy the fiction.  You’ll be amazed at the non you find there.  


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