Friday, March 26, 2004

Someday I’d like to write a novel. I have absolutely no training in creative writing, but who has that ever stopped? I don’t want to write some trashy detective novel (which I personally enjoy reading), but rather something with substance. I’d really like to write something dealing with faith and religion that it is thoughtful and intelligent. You read a lot of what passes for “Christian fiction” and it’s pretty vapid stuff. I’d like to write a work of fiction that speaks truthfully and compellingly about leading a Christian life, but is also interesting. Can I do this? Probably not. It is a nice goal though.

Today I was thinking about the themes that if I ever write this book, I would want to talk about. Right now I’m thinking about a book about someone my age. The general theme is trying to understand how us Gen-x’ers find meaning in the world. So I was trying to make a list of things that are different for our generation. Here’s what I thought of:

• Rapid, unprecedented changes in science & technology
• Growing up during the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Berlin Wall
• First generation where probably more than 50% of our parents divorced at some point during our life
• First generation that grew up with the expectation that our standard of living was likely to be lower than that of our parents
• Discovery of HIV/AIDS
• Dramatic changes in sexual mores

There’s more, but that’s enough for now. What struck me is that one of the over-arching themes of our lives is impermanence. Our reality is constantly changing. In many ways, we’re living through a very chaotic period in history. We constantly have to adapt to new realities. I think that one of the consequences of that is that our generation is rejecting social and cultural institutions that reflect permanence. One excellent example is probably traditional churches. How do mainline protestant churches (for example) reflect a reality for Gen-x that is characterized by constant change? The answer is that they don’t. Mainline denominations are institutions that have endured/existed for hundreds of years in spite of any number of cultural and social revolutions.

I’m not necessarily saying that churches need to change. What I wonder is how do institutions that have existed for hundreds of years speak to a generation that is accustomed to constant change? How is our generation finding meaning in the world and how can organized religion help?

So I want to write a story that deals with this question. I want to help people understand what’s going on in my head, and hopefully it will resonate with others. Of course, I probably can’t write fiction well enough (or at all) to do this, but it’s a nice idea.



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