9/18/2006

Fantasy in Ministry...

Well, as I kick off this structured Blog schedule, I of course have the daunting task of creating a super enticing post to kick things off. Well... We'll see.

Light at the Edge of Darkness, the anthology you will hear frequently mentioned by bloggers here, is a collection of fantasy, horror, science fiction, end times fiction, etc. Well, as with many folks who write Speculative Fiction nowadays, two particular works had a profound impact on my writing aspirations. Anyone want to take a stab here? Congratulations! C.S. Lewis and Tokein it is! Pat yourself on the back and indulge in that can of pop you've been debating about all morning.

Oddly enough, the first three things I ever wrote were all science fiction. But unlike many other writers, I actually discovered the joy of writing BEFORE the joy of reading. I hated reading before I started to love writing (we're talking like 10-12 years old here). So, when I first picked up a fantasy story, let me tell you, it blew my mind. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Wow. To a child, wow.

So, many years later, after pouring through Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, Tokein, King, and a dozen other authors full of fantastical stories, I decided to get serious about writing. And what was the first thing I decided to pour myself into? Yup, Fantasy. And not just Fantasy, Epic Fantasy. We're talking the next Wheel of Time or Lord of the Rings or Dune realm of Epic Fantasy. Did I publish it? Heh heh... no. It's sitting in my saved files awaiting a major overhaul now that I've shaken off the writing rust and honed my skills a bit.

So, Fantasy in Ministry. How does any of my rambling tie into the title? Well, even though I've written horror and suspense of late, my heart lies with fantasy. And many of the elements in horror, especially, tie into fantasy. So, when faced with critics of Christian Speculative Fiction, the argument often arises that there can't be such a thing. Now, I'll completely ignore various aspects of many arguments for the sake of not consuming an entire day posting and giving you all something to actually respond to, and I'll focus on one thing that I think is essential to what we're trying to do here.

Putting Christ in Fantasy.

There are about a dozen different ways to do this (and I'm not going to get into discussions on them all today), but I don't believe you can have Biblical or Christian Spec Fiction without Christ. Now, that doesn't mean you bludgeon your readers over the head with the Bible, but it does mean that everything you publish should serve a purpose. Could that purpose just be to entertain? Well, sure... but should it?

What I would throw out there for consideration is this: As Christians, we believe in the Bible. We accept that it is the word of God, that it IS God. And as such, we believe that if we bring up our children in His ways, that his word will never depart from them as they grow. In essence, we plant the seeds of faith in them as children so those seeds will grow into faith as they mature. Then, even if they stray away (those blasted college years, right?) those seeds will stay with them.

So, when we write for Him, regardless of how we're approaching it, shouldn't we plant some seeds? With fantasy, we have such a golden opportunity to plant those seeds. In essence, we can minister to the unsuspecting through our imaginations. Drop an unreferenced scripture. Show a character living a Godly life. Retell a Bible story like David and Goliath or Samson and Delilah with modern language or a fantasy/future setting. Plant some seeds. While entertaining, you can also minister even if your reader doesn't know they're being fed.

And for your Christian readers, what better way to feel good about Biblical/Christian Spec Fic, than to walk away feeling that their seeds have been watered a little more?

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. There are so many sub topics within this topic that your comments may likely lead to a future post. Share away.

God Bless,
Dan
www.danieliweaver.com

3 comments:

Andrea Graham said...

good, thought provoking stuff here, Weaver. One little suggestion: maybe we should aim our posts towards those we want to read the blog rather than those who actually are. I mean, if we just wanted to talk amongst ourselves, couldn't we have done that on our internal mailing list?

Anonymous said...

Dan:

You've hit on the heart of why I write speculative fiction: to reach those who might never pick up a Christian book. I hope to entice them in with the story, while giving them a picture of how a Christian would deal with the issues in the story. Like you, I don't believe in hitting them over the head with Christianity, just show them there are alternatives to those offered by secular stories.

Good job.

Virginia

Steve Rice said...

I agree in general, but one thing bothers me:

"As Christians, we believe in the Bible. We accept that it is the word of God, that it IS God."

No. The Bible is NOT God. John was talking about God the Son in the opening of his Gospel and first epistle, not the book they would become part of.

That point aside, a good post.

Steve