Finding Myself in Fiction: The Good, the Ugly, and the Divine

I believe in modern parables.

In the Gospels, two things stand out to me about the Parables of Jesus.

One is that they were relevant to the culture He was addressing. Take the parable of the Good Samaritan, for example. Within this tale, a Pharisee and a Sadducee, two respected religious leaders of the day, bypass a man mugged on the side of the road. The one man who stops to help is a Samaritan, which was an ethnic/racial group marginalized by the broader culture in which Jesus lived.

If told in America today, the tale might be called The Good Black Man with the titular character starring opposite a police officer and a judge. Or The Good Trans Man, starring an evangelical pastor and a catholic priest. Point is, Jesus crafted His stories to speak in a way the people would understand.

Second is that Jesus’ parables opened doors of discovery.

Jesus Himself rewarded exploration through parables. To those who came to Him and asked after their meanings, He explained in-depth, revealing more truth about the Kingdom of God. In fact, every story worth its salt encourages exploration… (“Star Wars Episode I: Age of Exploration,” Christ and Pop Culture)

These two qualities – cultural relevance and encouragement of exploration – and the fact that our very creative nature, as human beings, comes from being created in the image of a creative Creator are the basis for my claim that any story can be a parable. What transforms a story into a parable is when God uses it to speak truth into someone’s life. As such, parables can be very broad reaching, or very narrow and personal.

These are my modern parables.

The Good

Fiction that shows me hope and joy in its reflections of me. 

The Ugly

Fiction that challenges my flaws, revealing some that I didn’t even know I had.

The Divine

Fiction that helps me contextualize my relationship with God. 

Honorable Mentions

Essays about the personal impact or connection of stories that are not directly apart of the Finding Myself in Fiction series.