For the Love of a Good Book
Helping families grow closer to God with wholesome stories and educational resources.
By Jeremy Mead
Roald Dahl’s stories have entertained kids for decades now. James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox (the current favorite in our home), BFG. Each book reads with imaginative ideas and quirky characters. However, each story is missing something: meaning. That isn’t some artistic evaluation or psychological consideration. Roald Dahl himself said “there are very few messages in these books of mine.”
The books are still great for enjoyment, so please don’t throw your copies in the bin (as Roald would have called it). Dahl was only looking for enjoyment. He argued the content of any children’s book is “of no importance other than that it enthralls the child.”
It’s true a good story should be fun (or enthralling), but if that is the chief goal, we have done a disservice to language and the God who gave it to us. Dahl’s comments should give us pause. Why do we read? Is it simply to have a good time? No, rather, it should be to glorify God. But what does that look like? How does that differ from working to the glory of God or sleeping to the glory of God?
C.S. Lewis takes us closer to the answer. “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
Now, we come closer to the truth, which is, itself, truth. A story should tell truth and as a result, benefit the reader. Immorality that goes unpunished. A world where authority is flaunted. Heroes focused on self. Victories won through any means. While it may be true these things exist, and modern realistic stories try to capture that, they do not teach the truth that these lives are hollow. Or, if they do, they offer no hope or solution, and the reader finds no benefit.
Rather, give the reader hope. A character who behaves nobly shows us a glimmer of the Savior. A person who protects life shows the sanctity of life. Not every story has to be a Christian tale but should have the truth of God and his character.
This is why we started the Soteria Resource Center. To bring good books to families. More specifically, the Soteria Resource Center exists to help families grow closer to God with wholesome stories and educational resources.
Jesus taught that what you put in your mind is what comes out in your life. Our books – the fiction, theology, and resources – all are selected to fill you with the knowledge and character of God. That’s why we can encourage people to stop in and look around. We want to fill you with the knowledge of God. Whether it be through a book connected to a Soteria ministry or just a title you want to enjoy, we would love to see you.
We have several titles we would recommend – though we would love to share each book! Popes and Feminists delves deeply into the lies of feminism. Men could enjoy Future Men, a great book about raising sons well. We have a wonderful book, Bible Infographics for Kids, that visualizes different ideas from the Bible. Or, find a great adventure in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. And, if you are looking for Christmas ideas, we’ll have bundles of Christmas titles, pre-selected for you at a discount. We have so many titles we would love to share; we hope to see you soon!
Jeremy Mead has been at Soteria for about 10 years with his wife and three children. He enjoys a good story and a good video game. Most Sundays, you’ll find him puttering about the Soteria Resource Center.