The uneasy genre of biblical fiction often includes what Flannery O’Connor called the “shoddy religious novel,” filled with shallow characters and plot structures as clichéd and melodramatic as 1950s biblical films.
Before my children were able to read they knew several stories by heart. The stories were picture book favorites that we read to them again and again. When I dared to skip a page or change a word, they would protest, “Mom! That’s not what it says. Read it right.”
An old insurance company term for natural disasters is “acts of God,” which unfortunately links the Holy One with everything awful and unforeseen that can befall humanity, as if God were not just capricious but wrathful and cruel.