Stephen King and The Gospel

I’ve said before that I started reading Stephen King in seventh grade. What I didn’t say is that I stopped reading his books later in high school because my own spiritual transformation changed my reading tastes. That and the fact that my private Christian school wouldn’t grant class credit for Stephen King or any other secular authors writing about the darker side of spirituality. After testing the limits for a while (like using an e.e. cummings poem for a school project), I finally put down the dark stuff. Then I discovered Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness (more about that here), which dramatically shaped my view of the Kingdom.

But Stephen King’s words still motivate me. Over the past few weeks, I’ve tweeted quotes from his book “On Writing” and it occurred to me that many of these quotes inspire me because of truth inherent in them. So to satisfy my own spiritual bent, I’ve taken some Stephen King quotes from my Twitter page, and pasted them here along with the corresponding Bible verses. Maybe this counts as a form of delayed rebellion against high school rules. But I’d like to think it goes a bit deeper than that.

MONEY. “Do you do it for the money, honey? The answer is no. Don’t now and never did” Stephen King; “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” Hebrews 13:5.

INTERRUPTIONS. “I’ve found that any day’s routine interruptions and distractions don’t much hurt a work in progress and may actually help it in some ways” Stephen King; “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2.

POWER. “You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you” Stephen King; “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5.

WRITTEN WORD. “Books are uniquely portable magic” Stephen King; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1.

DILIGENCE. “Only God gets it right the first time, and only a slob says ‘oh well… That’s what copyeditors are for’” Stephen King; “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Colossians 3:23.

CREATIVE PROCESS. “We are talking about tools and carpentry, words and style… but you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic” Stephen King; “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” 2 Corinthians 5:1.

PUBLIC LIFE. “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open” Stephen King; “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” Matthew 10:27.

I’ve chosen to focus solely on the writing process here. But for those so inclined, a Christian study of Stephen King’s writings about good, evil, and humanity might fill multiple volumes.  After all, we authors and readers alike reach out for something that nails it, something that resonates with the struggle around and within us. Sometimes we find it in the strangest of places…

(For the literalists out there, please know that I’m not equating Stephen King to God. I’m merely pointing out that this successful author, while known for horror and, at times, profanity, is still a creation of God and therefore his writings often reflect the truth found in Scripture. We could do this exercise with any number of authors, including C.S. Lewis, Tolkein, Rowling, Suzanne Collins, etc.)

16 thoughts on “Stephen King and The Gospel

  1. Excellent post! Who says God only speaks through those who claim to believe in Him. Besides, if you have the Truth in you, you should not fear being persuaded to believe false teachings.

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    1. linneann, thanks for the comment. At my Christian high school, it was often taught that if I went to a public college, then I would lose my faith by the second year. Well, I went on scholarship to a state school, backslid for a time, and God found me again. I questioned Him, took secular philosophy courses, cried a lot, and ultimately came away from it a stronger Christian than before. All Truth is God’s truth.. we shouldn’t fear the questions. Questions get us closer to God. He can handle it! (okay, will get off my soapbox now, lol)

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  2. Sister Basilea Schlink (1904 – 2001) wrote numerous profound books and prayed about 8 – 10 hours per day. In one of her books, she talked how she went to the Louvre and did not enjoy herself because so many of the great artworks were done by pagans. She felt, at the time, that unless the works were done by Christians, the works should not be appreciated.

    She went on to say that unless she was in prayer or studying the Bible, she had no joy at all and could not enjoy art, music, opera, or whatever because of her legalistic beliefs. She was miserable.

    Then, the Lord showed her that He created the world and everything in it for His glory. The “everything” lit a spark within her and she realized she could enjoy beauty wherever it was, whether it was created by believers or pagans.

    I agree with Schlink.

    So, when I read Stephen King’s book on writing, I thought it was awesome. His message had nothing to do with my relationship with God, but instead, he helped me write better.

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    1. Great comment Larry. I get inspired when I think about your journey, how you felt called to write fiction and went to “study up” by reading dozens (hundreds, possibly?) of popular novels. Reading is the best prep for writing… another point Stephen King makes. I’m grateful for my years spent reading numerous authors of all genres, both inside and outside the Christian circle.

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    1. Thanks Ken! No need to apologize for the link, I like your collection of quotes. Especially this one “Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.”
      Stephen King writing about paragraphs that quicken and begin to breathe… I get chills thinking about it.

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