Saturday, April 19, 2008

Five Sacred Crossings: Truly Novel

Fred Sanders reviews and recommends Craig Hazen's Five Sacred Crossings: A Novel Approach to a Reasonable Faith, a book of apologetics in the fiction genre.

An excerpt from Sanders's post:

Hazen gets everything right in this book: it’s a short book that’s a quick read. He doesn’t try to hide the fact that it’s a piece of Christian apologetics, but he also doesn’t force it out of the world of fiction by including study questions or an evangelistic appeal. I could even say that the hero is a smoker and nobody gets saved, but that would make it sound as if the book is going out of its way to transgress boundaries (like one of those youth leaders who can’t stop cussing).

A lot of art made by Christians is spoiled by didacticism, or “teachyness”: it breaks out in overt teaching when it shouldn’t. But Hazen’s out to teach, and he’s honest about it. As a result, Five Sacred Crossings is perfectly didactic: a character who is a college professor leads a class of students in fascinating discussions. It’s a good reminder that didactic isn’t a bad word in itself; it was always mis-placed didacticism that was the problem.

Five Sacred Crossings is a fine piece of work; I genuinely enjoyed reading it and have already considered giving copies to people who need to be eased into serious conversations on spiritual matters.