If you are new to Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday, please read this post, it will tell you everything you need to know!
I read this interview at Wrapped up in Books with YA author Sara Zarr (you ought to read the whole interview, it's great!) and it sparked a question for me about the fictional portrayal of clergy. This may be a bit more interesting to me, because I grew up a pastor's kid. And it always felt like there was so much misunderstanding around that! Anyway, here's a bit of what Sarah said,
I expect that the most prodding or critical response will come from inside the Christian community. The father character, a pastor, is flawed (as my characters generally are - especially parents!). I think Christians get tired of negative portrayals of clergy and I can understand that, especially when it's ham-handed and cartoonish. (Like having a preacher character literally thumping a Bible. In my 38 years in the Christian world I have never witnessed anyone, anywhere thump a Bible except in fictional settings.) But I hope that I've treated the father/pastor character with as much compassion as I try to give every character. Like everyone, pastors are human, and limited.
This made me sigh and think...oh boy. LOL. I haven't read any of Zarr's books, but I do have the ARC of this and will try to read it soon. Anyway, it did make me think about the general portrayal of clergy in fiction. What do you think about the portrayal of pastors and ministers in general market fiction? How about Christian fiction? How was the pastor portrayed in the last book you read with a minister? What's your favorite fictional minister? What do you think is an accurate and realistic fictional clergyman?
I really really had to think about this. The last Christian fiction book I read definitely depicted the minister as a wise, patient man which is pretty common in Christian fiction. The pastors generally serve the role of spouting out the appropriate Bible verses, doing marital counseling, or preaching the sermon that causes the protagonist to change. (yawn)
The last general market book I read went to the other stereotype extreme and depicted the minister as a complete hypocrite with no morals whatsoever who abused and abandoned his family and was an alcoholic.
Thinking about the realistic and favorite portrayals is rather hard. I think the portrayal of female clergy Betsy Blessing in Beth Patillo's books was pretty good, even though she had to have that cheesy name. But I can't seem to think of a good portrayal of a pastor's family...which would be interesting to me! For the record, I loathe the TV family in 7th Heaven, the Camdens. I mean, they're fine as a family, but my family was nothing like that! And I always worried that people thought that's what it was like in a pastor's family. Blech! I both loved and didn't love being the pastor's kid. At times, it was great, my church was really and truly like a second family, and I knew their love and concern for me. But just like a family, things could get pretty heated and ugly and when that happened it was easy to feel quite isolated. Anyway, I look forward to reading your answers...maybe you can spark my memory!