Fantasy and a Christian Worldview, Part 5

In case you’re wondering how we got to Part 5 in this discussion, I’m adding in the last three days of the blog tour because I shared pertinent thoughts about magic.

But before returning to that subject, I want to highlight a couple people. First is Jeff Gerke, fiction acquisitions editor at NavPress and founder of Realms, the brief fantasy imprint for Strang. Jeff is probably the most fantasy-friendly editor in the CBA. I thought belatedly that I should invite him to join the blog tour, though his blog posts are … sporadic, at best. 🙂 (Averaging once every three months, as near as I could figure).

I did contact him Friday, and he seemed supportive of our endeavors. He reminded me, in fact, that he also is a fantasy writer. You can check out an excerpt of his work at his blog.

In his e-mail, Jeff put in a plug for one of his authors at Realms, Miles Owens. Tim Frankovich reviewed Owens’s novel Daughter of Prophecy, something I hope to do, too. I think Miles is one of the best, up-and-coming Christian fantasy authors I’ve read. I’d buy more of his work whenever possible.

On to magic. Let me wrap up the serious side of the issue with this conclusion: if Christians shy away from writing and publishing fantasy because it deals with magic, or supernatural power, we are, in essense, yielding the megaphone to those without a Christian worldview who wish to speak to the topic. Writers who want to say stuff such as man has power—the true magic—within himself.

Let’s face it, in stories dealing overtly with a good/evil conflict, we need writers who define “good” as “of God” and “evil” as “anything opposed to God.”

Doesn’t that pretty much wipe out all secular fantasy, and a good number of other genres as well, if we were to look deeply? Yes … and no.

Yes, because stories that are not “God-centric” are false. No, because we need to look at what is not “God-centric” and identify it for what it is. Which might be garbage or good art as far as it goes. In other words, we need to bring our critical thinking to bear on the subject and not give an unreasoned view because the word “witch” is in the title, or a dragon appears on the cover.

And this brings me to the lighter side of magic. When I was growing up, there was a great world of pretend out there, things and places and people that were made up, that existed in our imagination. Santa Claus and the North Pole. The Little Engine that could. Brer Rabbit and his briar patch. Cinderella’s fairy godmother.

In this day and age, it seems we have lost an understanding of pretend. To pretend means to play, to suspend belief and accept new parameters. Casper the Friendly Ghost, then, ceases to be a symbol of evil. Gandolf the wizard is not an agent of the devil. And magic doesn’t have to represent power opposed to God.

Which brings me back to critical thinking. Somewhere we have lost the ability to identify what is a real spiritual threat.

We’ll pick up the discussion there next time.

Published in: on May 20, 2006 at 9:52 am  Comments (9)  
%d bloggers like this: