10/26/2006

Where are we?


I believe a person's faith should be between themselves and whatever god they serve. They can discuss it with others, but there is no other person on the face of the planet who has the right to inform another person that they're not good enough. That's up to the god they serve, and no one else. I think that's a big reason that so many get raised in the Christian faith, yet limp away with a shattered heart. The fault's not with God, but rather too many of the followers.And I'm proud to be a Christian Witch and exploring the full range of my abilities to His glory.
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I grew up in a very Christian neighborhood, though my parents weren't really religious. We went to church when I was very young, but that was pretty much it for the family stuff. I have bad memories associated with Christianity, and later in life I met one too many religious zealots who were only my "friends" because they wanted to convert me. I'm certainly not bashing Christianity; it is part of me, too. But I have to admit that those bad experiences did influence my beliefs.
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I believe that if "God" as christians understand him can be ALL KNOWING, and ALL POWERFULL he can also be all encompassing, and that means that he can be buddha, and christ, and mohamed, and some guy in a bar that starts speaking on something personal to you.I believe God can be found in a poem written by an Athiest, or a christian hymn, or the painting of a Wicca. God is all around us and we have only scraped the surface of what he/she/it/they is/are
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I'm a Christian Taoist. I haven't been to church in weeks. I believe in God and the Holy Spirit, but I don't accept all the hypocrites and generally annoying people at my church and my youth group who don't accept me.
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I copied these statements from a writing forum that I belong to. When I read them, I felt a several things.
Let me be clear. I was not offended in the least. I was fascinated because I could relate to these individuals; I had walked the same spiritual road.
My parents kept me in church for a long time. I went to a parochial school where I learned doctrine, bible verses and memorized the books of the bible. On Sunday I went to church and tried to listen to sermons that were meant for adults. Usually I sat in back with the kids my age giggling through communion. Our choir sat in the back of the church so our choir director had to stand by the back row pews and direct. Once, a friend got smacked in the head; we laughed so hard we spilled our grape juice in our tiny communion cups.
In high school my half brother sent me a subscription to a Christian magazine and I did the bible studies. During the week. And drank / imbibed on the weekend.
Christianity became very boring as I graduated from high school. I was sold into the whole Star Wars "the Force is all around you" theology and began to look into the New Age. It was not organized; I went to the public library to look up numerology and palm reading. There were no covens. There were no shops that sold crystal. The only thing even close to that were head shops.
Now you all know approximately how old I am.
As my life unravelled, I continued to turn to the New Age for help and guidance and found a god who was like electricity. All around me but didn't care a thing about a young woman with troubles.
However, God with a capital G is real. He lives. He cares. He loves. I could not fathom a great Being who would want to waste their time and energy on an individual who had no prospects, connections or power.
I did not understand that God could be so vast and so close. He sought me out, using a pastor's daughter as my co-worker, to bring me to a little church. That little church loved me into His kingdom. My life crashed but after years, it was given back to me in ways I could have never imagined.
What does this have to do with Christian speculative fiction?
It has everything to do with Christian speculative fiction.
I would have been one of those lost souls who would have loved to read that type of book, especially if it didn't preach at me.
I've been told by one of the blog members that those who write in the secular world find our work "too religious" or "too Christian."
We've also been told by our brothers in Christ that all fiction is a lie and that fiction and Christianity do not mix ever. This sentiment also came from the pastor who brought me to Christ.
I understand the position of the secular world. I also understand the position of some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. So, where are we?
We stand in the middle of two sides who have their arms folded and their heels dug in. On one side stand our brothers and sisters: disapproving, skeptical. On the other, a world trying to write its own religion. A world that condemns God, who looks for Him at the same time and who has been hurt by us.
My heart goes out to the young woman who was me. Who was searching and deceived by false light and an empty promise of peace and fulfillment.
As I told a friend, the fields are ripe but they are heavily guarded.

8 comments:

Frank Creed said...

Chris D.--
Your article has the style and voice of Ravi Zacharias. For example:

"As my life unravelled, I continued to turn to the New Age for help and guidance and found a god who was like electricity. All around me but didn't care a thing about a young woman with troubles."

This strikes me. This is the best blue-collar understandable definition of "Pantheism" I've ever read.

More on-topic, all His scribes have different gifts and purposes. There's an audience of readers for the allegorical as well as the the overt. Even the secular, where readers of a literary master only discover an admired authors faith through the respected thinker's bio, then need to know more. Our gifts, passions, knowledge, and sojourn, pureed in life's blender, are our recipe. Every individual scribe is meant for a different audience of hearts in need of His healing.

You let Him worry about the heavily-guarded part. This is a spiritual battle. No single fallen human is suited to reach everyone--that's why, collectively, we're His Body.

We writers have an annoying tendency to prattle-on about our motivation and craft. We sometimes argue our passions because the row we hoe is so fruitful. But in ripe fields, we all have different rows to pick.

Great article, Chris.

Faith,
f

Andrea Graham said...

True, true, F. One sows, another waters, but God gives the increase.

(BTW, our brother Paul from Tarsus said that first, and much better than I did)

Mirtika said...

"Preachy" is so relative. I've read novels in the secular SF circle that were very preachy--about feminism, about sexual liberation, about conservation, etc. Whatever issue is the one you want to push on people is the issue that becomes your sermon bugaboo. Of course, when one is IN those milieu (one is an activist feminist, one is a sexual libertine, one is a devout eco-minder) it doesn't SEEM preachy to read a book on "your side."

A book that is saturated with a Christian view will seem preachy to a non-Christian, even if to another Christian, it may seem kinda subtle. ::shrug:::

Of course, I like the cluelessness of this:

"They can discuss it with others, but there is no other person on the face of the planet who has the right to inform another person that they're not good enough."

And who died and made this person king of queen? What is this "right" or "lack of right" that someone needs to shaddup? Funny how authoritarian they get when it's their peeve. So, by saying this, aren't they saying that the people who do this aren't good enough? :)

The so-called tolerant are tyrants in a whole new way.

Mir

Carol Collett said...

Many of us have traveled very similar paths. But the joy in the surrender as He reveals Himself is worth all the pain and struggle.

Frank Creed said...

Theme matters not. Preachy fiction, regardless of the sermon, is preachy fiction. Every author-of-depth must write for a very specific audience. In our own case, Biblical fiction has purpose. If a work's purpose is post-evangelical, intended for the already-saved, we can speak Christianese and still be subtle. An unbeliever picking up the same book is likely to put it down at chapter-one. If evangelism or pre-evangelism is one's intent, theological vocabulary, comes across as preachy. For environmentalist fiction, scientific vocab and lecturing about the effect of automobile exhaust on our habitat is no less preachy. PC doesn't enter into fiction criticism. Any fiction author's first job is to entertain--that's why our audience picks up our books. Can we write substantive fiction? Of course. I'm personally bored with writing any other. But if skilful storytelling isn't first priority, we're not writing good fiction; the gift with which a fiction author glorifies Him.

Regarding the "good-enough" issue, Gospel means "good news". I can't find the chapter & verse of which I'm thinking, but James 4:11-12 carries the same idea. Judging is His job, and He's already done this with the Old-Testament law. We can all judge people for judging people for judging people, but that's neither New-Testament grace, nor loving our enemy. I'm thankful for His blood painting me white, cause I've fallen way short.

Preachiness over.
Faith,
f

Mirtika said...

Yeah, but the good news is this: You're a sinner. You're damned. Come to Jesus, get washed. You're saved.

Well, in the most simplistic terms. The Gospel demands you admit you're a sinner and repent (the Word and the Spirit's job to convict, but our job to tell it as it is), then grace of God through faith does its work on us to make us His.

Whenever you say to someone, "Your sin causes a breach between you and a Holy God" they will see it as judgment. It is. We're all under the same judgment for our sin. Thank God for grace, yes. But we can't slack off and neglec to call sin sin, and sinners sinners. Including ourselves.

Mir

chrisd said...

Hi--I'm not sure what happened here, but I agree with both of you. Frank, we need to write excellent fiction and Mir, yes, we are obliged by the Lord to "preach." We don't have to "preach" to preach, but we have to preach. LOL I think it comes up organically. (there's a $20 word)

I feel a strong pulling to try to "befriend" these non-believing authors.Not to preach to them but to befriend them and to pray for them. Isolation is not a good thing--hmmm, anyone want to write about that?

chrisd said...
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