Shaping the Mind in the Image of God
As a writer and Christian I want to be like a wise potter who shapes a piece of clay into a thing of beauty. When a clay sculpture is fired the beauty becomes set, and most often, enhanced. My desire as an author is to gently shape the mind of the reader into a thing of beauty. Of course, the shaping of the mind is more complex than simply reading a story. Still, story can be a vital part of that complex process.
I remember when I was a kid asking my dad the “why” question. His stock answers were something like “because,” “because I told you so,” or “you’ll find out someday.” Also, there were some questions I feared asking, like questions about sex.
I must say, much of what accosts the intellect from the written page today would tend to shape the mind in the wrong direction, toward hedonism and moral decadence. When my kids were growing up I felt responsible as their father to answer their questions, even the unspoken ones, and shaping their minds toward beauty and truth, in the image of Christ. That is how I got started as a story writer.
I wrote the Accidental Heroes series of stories back then, read them in serial form to my kids, and let the stories engender discussion. The stories grabbed their interest, brought laughter and tears, while giving them pause to consider the stuff of life. They loved the stories and the discussion.
I continued to write, and the stories—written in longhand—piled up over the years. The Helot and Dark Danger, the first two stories in the Accidental Heroes series, were one story back then under the title of The Helot. That story and Phantom Island Chronicles have been considered by major publishing houses. With both books I was told they were worthy of publication, and that I should pursue getting them published, but that they were not the kind of stories those publishing houses published. Thus, I have gone the self-publishing route. The biggest negative with self-publishing is marketing. Not my purview! But still, loads of fun!
Anyway, my purpose in sharing my stories is not money. The purpose of my stories is to influence toward virtue and beauty, shaping the mind—one’s thought processes—in the image of God.
Some stories are written for entertainment, for escape. Mine are written to entertain while reaching deeper. What are your thoughts about stories shaping the mind? What stories have shaped the way you think?