For as long as I can remember, Stephen King has been a part of my fictional world.
Not literally, of course; I do not personally know the man, nor have I spoken to him. I’ve never been to a book signing of his. The closest I’ve gotten to meeting him is a rather twitchy woman in an auto repair shop in Dixielad claiming to have known him once. Intimately. (Like I said…she was twitchy.)
Despite this, I feel like I might as well have known him personally, for as much as his fiction has been a part of my family’s library since long before I was born. So, when I say I was somewhat raised around SK, I want you to understand my full meaning.
For a long time, SK’s material freaked me out, partially due to reactions from family, and partially because the man’s stories are often quite freaky. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I decided to give his novels a real go, starting with The Dark Tower.
So. Much. Wasted. Time. I could have been reading him all along! I could have started realizing that the craziest novel ideas are often the best, no matter how crappy I may think they are.
I could have realized, too, that just because a book has foul language in it occasionally doesn’t mean it should be avoided at all costs. As a young Christian, this is what I believed: Avoid it all, because it may cause you yourself to slip up, to say a word that may be displeasing to the Lord.
Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t think God likes foul language any more than I do, but I *do* think there’s such a thing as taking things too far. What SK’s books did for me, I couldn’t have found in a Christian book store. And trust me, I tried. Hard.
But the same rawness, the same delving into the darkest part of humanity to find that the light still exists, the same assurance that mere humans can still conquer evil….I couldn’t find that in Lifeway.
Is there foul language? Of course! But if I’m going to try and completely avoid foul language, I’d have to actively avoid all my family members. And that’s simply not what Christ has called me to do.
Is there disturbing imagery? Ohh, man, like you wouldn’t believe! But, let’s be honest with ourselves: The Bible itself has disturbing imagery. (If you’ve never sat down and really visualized some of the more violent, disturbing things in the Bible, I highly recommend it. Sit down, and really think about what happened during the ten plagues of Egypt. Look up pictures of boils, or think about what a swarm of locusts would look and feel like. It will completely change your perspective.)
But, along with all of that, there’s also the story of Good vs. Evil. Of overcoming fear with courage. Of standing up to that bully. So on and so forth.
Will these books help you in your walk with Christ? I honestly can’t answer that. I *can* say that they haven’t turned me into a demon-worshiping Satanist yet…but they’ve definitely put the fear of evil in me, as well as a healthy appreciation for all things of the Light.
And, in the end, isn’t that what a good book is supposed to do for Christians?
Question For The Reader: What Stephen King books/movies have you read/seen? Did you enjoy them? Did they scare you? Analyze that fear!