While I have had opportunity to review Christian fiction in the past, I haven’t until now. I have my reasons. I don’t think that all Christian fiction is bad, I sort of put it in the category of ‘church coffee.’ You might get a decent cup of coffee after a church service, but you can’t expect it and the odds are your next couple will be god-awful (that is the technical term). I also am just not that into Amish Romance or whatever the kids are reading these days.
Why I am I so biased against religious fiction? Well I think the problem is that the genre category means that it is usually written with either didactic or apologetic intent (to teach you something or to stylistically vomit the gospel on you). This sometimes means that there is a compromise in the artistic integrity of Christian novels (but yes there are also good ones).
But despite my biases and suspicions I liked Hometown Prophet a lot. The premise behind the story is this: Thirty-something Peter Quill moves back home to Nashville to live with his mom. He begins receiving prophetic dreams where he correctly predicts the future. Soon the visions he has put him at enmity with the Christian community in Nashville, especially when he calls into question people’s economic and ecological commitments and challenges them to regard Muslims as their neighbors.
Author Jeff Fulmer describes how he grew up in a conservative, charismatic household but became increasingly ill-at-ease with how Christianity was misrepresented ‘for personal and political gain.’ He wrote Hometown Prophet out of that frustration. But while this book is a book with a message, it doesn’t strike me as overly preachy. The main character, Peter Quill becomes increasingly confrontational in his prophecies and says a lot of things really strongly. Fulmer balances this by describing Peter’s inadequacies and shortcomings. He is a complex character, and the story is well crafted.
In this book Fulmer challenges us to pay attention to those around us, to love our neighbors as ourselves and to look for creative ways for God to use us (even if we never hear a prophetic word). People on the far right may be challenged and offended by elements of this story, but I think challenge is good. This is a fun read which I recommend. Now if I could just get some decent church coffee.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.