Updated: Nov 1, 2019
Do novels written about men and women in the Bible damage our faith? Are they trying to replace scripture in our modern world? Is Bible Fiction offensive to God?
Confessions of a Fangirl
I love the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I do not believe in magic, but I love the immersive world that Rowling creates for us. Like many Potter fans, I can answer trivia questions, debate subtle hints within the intricate plots, and wonder what prompted JK Rowling to write a particular person a certain way. There are entire websites set up to feed the fans of Harry Potter with new content, plus video games, theme parks, and merchandise. And of course, any true Potter-head knows their house. (I alternate between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff if you're curious.)
If classics are more your thing, you can join Jane Austen clubs where you defend Colin Firth as the “real” Mr. Darcy, never speak of the “other” Pride and Prejudice, champion your favorite heroine, and learn more about the clothes, customs, mannerisms, and households of the Georgian period. Super-fans dress up in Regency clothing and go to balls with their ever-patient, long-suffering husbands. (I have a costume tucked away myself!) The language of Jane Austen permeates a true Austen lover's daily speech. One time, when I worked in retail, a customer asked me where something was. Without pause, I replied, “I confess, I do not know.” (Blushes awkwardly)
So what is it about these books, one a modern fantasy series, and one a classic set of clever romance, that sets our imaginations on fire and makes us cry out for more and drives us to congregate with other fans to hash over every little detail? Considering the splendor of our Holy Scripture, shouldn't we have at least the same for the Bible?
We have conferences where believers gather. We have online Bible study groups, “fan” pages (blogs and faith posts), and forums. We have movies, music, merchandise, and in some ways, theme parks. (Nazareth in Israel is set up with people in costumes so you can interact with "history".) Immersive History is a start-up bringing the Bible to life in Virtual Reality! Every Christmas we do re-enactments, and die-hard fans meet weekly to discuss the latest fan-theories and go over the old ground to see what they might have missed.
So I guess you can say I am a fangirl of the Bible!
Of course, there is a big difference between our Bible fandoms and our fiction fandoms.
While there are a few who cry because they can't go to Hogwarts, most know that it is just a story. While the Regency era was real history, we know Pride and Prejudice is not something by which we guide every aspect of our lives.
The Bible is both true and can impact our personal lives and our eternity—if we let it. This type of fangirling doesn't change with trends or time. This isn't like being a Facebook follower, or an admirer, this is the ardent desire to be a part of the world and words of Jesus. It means chasing Jesus wherever He goes, trying to be like Him, letting God's likes and dislikes change our own. Of course, I'm just having fun with a modern word. In the Bible, this was called being a disciple.
Enter fan fiction. Some readers love a fiction series so much, that when the author sets down their pen, the fans pick it up and run with it. Everybody knows that this isn't canon, but they enjoy it anyway.
This is where my own definition of being a fangirl comes into play with Bible Fiction.
The very name “Bible Fiction” sets some people's teeth on edge. Go scroll any comments on Bible Fiction on Goodreads, or explore the sites of a Bible Fiction author, and you are very likely to find someone who says something like this:
“The Bible is perfect the way it is. Why are you trying to add to it? Making the Scriptures into a story takes away from the truth and waters it down. No thanks. I'm going to stick to real gospel truth and I think you should do the same!”
I get the emotion behind statements like this, but this isn't the point of Bible Fiction at all!