With the state of the world today, escaping into a good read is more tempting than ever. We can set aside our personal and collective troubles by entering another world and discovering how other people handle their personal and collective troubles. Somehow, this is cathartic—at least, it is for me.
Good books have a way of helping us detach from our own reality, thereby giving us much-needed perspective once we return. The stories we explore in books have lessons embedded within. We learn new ways to deal with our own troubles as we observe the characters dealing with their own.
Charles Dickens wrote some of the world’s best-known stories and most-memorable characters. His books explore themes of sin, guilt, repentance, redemption, and restoration—themes pertinent to our own lives and found in the gospel.
Christ and Pop Culture staff writer Gina Dalfonzo has a new book from Plough Publishing House, titled The Gospel in Dickens, that presents dozens of the most memorable scenes from Dickens’s books. These scenes are grouped according to those Christian themes, showing how the truths of the gospel were essential to his thinking. From the villainous to the virtuous, his characters act out those truths. This book demonstrates what he once wrote to a correspondent:
All my strongest illustrations are derived from the New Testament. All my social abuses are shown as departures from its Spirit. All my good people are humble, charitable, faithful, forgiving, over and over again. I claim them in expressed words as disciples of the Founder of our religion, but I must admit that to a man (or woman) they all arise and wash their faces, and do not appear unto men to fast.
Because Dickens worked this way, making these truths implicit rather than explicit, they have sometimes been ignored or glossed over. The Gospel in Dickens brings them to the light, where they can be recognized, studied, and pondered in new and illuminating ways.
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