Today I am pleased to introduce my very own pastor Rev. Will Hesterberg. He is commenting in regard to my earlier article “Staying Relevant (while keeping violence under control in YA fiction) in which I discuss the challenges of writing Christian fiction.
I think one of the most important things a good writer does is to show the conflict between good and evil, whether at the cosmic level, social/political level, or personal level. For I believe, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn says, the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.
Good writers waken us to the reality of this dramatic conflict, not just to entertain us, but to help us better understand ourselves and our world. They make us aware of the brokenness around us, and even inside us.
Because humans are masters of self-deception and because evil often masquerades as good, one of the tasks of writers is to clarify the contrast between good and evil. Skillful writers expose greed, pride, lust, hated, etc., for the destructive forces that they really are. Conscientious writers do this, neither because they are “connoisseurs of human folly” nor because they “delight in evil.” Rather, they seek to show the truth about the human condition. We are not what we should be. Paradise has been lost!
Why did God allow the evil serpent to enter the perfect Garden Paradise He had created? Why did God allow Adam and Eve the freedom to choose between Him and the serpent, between good and evil? I believe one reason was to help highlight the contrast between good and evil. Otherwise we would not understand that they are polar opposites. We would not understand who God really is unless He is contrasted with His antithesis. I believe God continues to allow evil to exist in the world so that we continually are repulsed by evil and drawn to the ultimate good – God Himself.
Christian writers understand that God, as the ultimate good, has opened the way for our return to Paradise. So, even though Christian writers may present the ugliness of sin and its consequences, they do so against a backdrop of hope, redemption, and restoration.
The Bible, “the greatest story ever told,” contains brief narratives of rape, suicide, incest, murder, lust, bribery, etc., but these are described with restraint and are juxtaposed with stories of faith, love, courage, and self-sacrifice. Evil exists; it is powerful, pervasive, and ugly. Writers in the Biblical tradition present it as such. But they also point us to what is good. And they offer hope, hints of the eventual triumph of good over evil..”
Will Hesterberg has served as Senior Pastor at Concord Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, Illinois, since 1993. He and his wife Lori have two grown children, Anna and Barton. Will graduated with a BA in Economics from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, a Masters of Divinity, and a Masters of Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Will periodically teaches in several foreign countries, works with International Theological Education Ministries, a foreign missions agency, and recently had his first book, a study on Genesis, published. He enjoys working outdoors, woodworking, tennis, chess, and baseball.