Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up


When I was a kid, there was a game show on TV called “What’s My Line.” Three contestants would each claim to be a person with a particular job, often quirky. A group of panelists would ask them questions, then select who they thought was the real state champion Frisbee distance thrower, or whatever. At the end of each segment came the reveal — the person who was what he claimed to be, stood up.

In many ways, Jesus’s public ministry was a grueling inquiry into His line. Who are you, Jesus? Are you the Christ? I Am. Are you the King of the Jews? I Am. Are you the Son of God? I Am.

The questioning came from friend and foe alike. Jesus’s cousin, John (known best by his full name, John the Baptist πŸ˜‰ ), was the first to identify Jesus as someone special, and yet he too asked the question, Are you the one we’re waiting for or is there to be someone else?

Jesus answered these questions in a variety of ways. Sometimes He elicited the answer from His disciples. Sometimes He referred to other witnesses, an especially effective approach in Jewish culture since two or more witnesses were required in a decision of law.

John (the gospel writer this time) records several of these exchanges. Here’s one:

You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplishβ€”the very works that I doβ€”testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. … You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; … For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.” (John 5:33-46, emphasis added)

Pretty impressive group of witnesses, and this without Jesus adding His own voice.

Of course, whenever He did stand up and say who He was, the Pharisees accused Him of blaspheme and tried to kill Him. And whenever He worked miracles — the signs the Pharisees asked for from time to time — they apparently missed them or disbelieved them.

Take Lazarus, for example. A dead man coming out of the grave four days after he’d been put there was a little hard to ignore, or disbelieve. Yet the Pharisees managed to pull it off and even determined to kill Lazarus because so many people were flocking around him and as a result believing in Jesus.

It seems apparent to me that evidence and witnesses were not lacking. The seeing blind man, the walking lame man, the living dead boy, the clean leper, the demon-free demonic — these all pointed to Jesus. Yet the onlookers thought He might be a prophet or, no, maybe Elijah, or wilder still, John the Baptist come back to life.

The wild explanations would stretch anyone’s imagination. Why not accept the truth? Why not take Him at His Word? “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” Or, “I and the Father are one.”

In the end, the real Jesus has been standing up all along.

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Published in: on June 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm  Comments (3)  
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Jesus As Lord


The Bible reveals Jesus as many things — the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, but it seems that the one thing God will make clear to all people at some point is that He is Lord.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11)

When I think of “Lord” I think of authority. Interestingly, it was Jesus’s authority that caught people’s attention early on. The gospels record that people questioned the authority with which He taught, they wondered about (and some doubted) His authority over unclean spirits. And His disciples were especially amazed at His authority over elements in nature.

I’m also curious about the way that Satan interacted with Jesus in the three temptations recorded in the book of Matthew. One was a concession that Jesus was master over physical elements, acknowledging that He could turn stones into bread if He wanted. Another was a concession that He, or at least His Father, was master over the angelic host.

The third is the one that seems different. In the temptation involving who would rule the kingdoms of the world, Satan seems to be saying, in his offer to trade, that he had the power but God had the authority.

Jesus being God would then have that same authority.

Sadly, people in today’s western culture seem eager to bring Jesus down. For some time, other religions have acknowledged Jesus as a prophet, and it seems that view of Him is flooding into our Christianized societies. Hence, to many He is little more than a guru.

Even professing Christians belittle Him by limiting His work on earth to a “this is how it’s done” example for us to emulate. Given that Jesus lived a sinless life, we can undoubtedly learn by studying what He did and said. But Jesus as example should not supplant Jesus as Lord.

What Jesus said wasn’t just good thinking, wise advice, logical, helpful, and moral. It was right. It was true.

He spoke as the one person who knew the Father and who could reveal Him. He spoke from a position of omniscience, without any misconceptions or delusions. No one else could speak this way. Only Jesus. Only the One who is over all.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Col 2:9-10, emphasis added)

I find it especially interesting that Jesus’s half brother James started his letter “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ …” Here’s a man who could have claimed a special relationship with Jesus on a human level but chose instead to identify himself as a servant for life to the Lord. Essentially he took his right to say what he was about to say from his relationship with Jesus as Lord.

When I think about the fact that those words were inspired by the Holy Spirit, I get a picture of how God wants us to view Jesus.

Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm  Comments (2)  
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Of Masters And Lords


Having rebelled against a king, the United States, at its founding, did away with royalty. No more dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies. Instead, the concept of egalitarianism reigned. For a segment of society, at least.

Over the years, that concept spread, until today most people in the US would say, No one can order me around. No one. I’m free to do as I please, and if you force me to do what you want, you’re being abusive, either emotionally or physically.

Of course there’s a great problem with this idea. My freedom may impinge on yours, so we have government regulations that serve as a referee over us.

Sadly, we still cling to the notion that we are free. I’m reminded of the Jews telling Jesus that they’d never been enslaved by anyone. This would be the Jews that were at that very time under Rome’s thumb. The same Jews who had been exiled in Babylon and before the exodus, enslaved by Egypt.

So here’s the majority of US citizens, feeling free and in control. Empowered. We are captains of our own fate, after all, masters of our own souls.

But of course we aren’t.

If we were, we’d be free from sin and death and taxes.

Yet it seems we’ve lost the understanding of what it means to be subservient. Hence we don’t recognize what it is that masters us. We talk as if each person is his own boss, and many, if not most, believe it.

Sinful little tyrants, we set up the kingdom of self. We will rule, even if we must be slaves to our own passions.

Others are beholden to their jobs or spouses or drug of choice or sin habit or stuff they own.

Yet through it all, Jesus gently calls us. He’s the one master who will never abuse us, who has only our good at heart, who promises a light burden and a constant provision of unending strength.

But we’ve thrown off the shackles of servitude, we think. We will have no other lord before us but ourselves. To yield my will to another? Unthinkable. To turn over the reins of my life to someone else? Frightening.

After all, we are all doing such a good job of running our little worlds, aren’t we.

Published in: on June 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm  Comments (5)  
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Jesus And The Dirty Dozen


During Jesus’s early ministry, He took a lot of criticism from the Pharisees, particularly about the company He kept — sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors. Today those who like to criticize the church seem to relish this accusation, repeating it as if this is a blueprint for how Christians are to live.

Go out and find some sinners to eat with, the critics seem to say. If Jesus were here today, you wouldn’t find him hanging out in some stuffy old church. He’d be in the gay bars, in brothels, maybe in porn studios — wherever he could find sinners to hang with.

Except, when you read the gospels, it’s clear that Jesus wasn’t hanging out with sinners the way today’s church-critics think. The sinners were actually hanging out with Him.

Jesus’s normal modus operandi was to show up in the tabernacle on the Sabbath and teach or heal. In fact, when the Pharisees came to arrest Him, He said, “Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me” (Matt. 26:55b).

Of course, there were days He taught in houses or on hills or even from a boat. He healed in a variety of places too — on streets, near the city gate, in houses.

Interestingly, He got invited to a lot of places by “unsavory characters.” Right before His final Passover meal, for example, He ate at the home of Simon the leper (Matt. 26:6). But, you see, Simon couldn’t still be a leper or no one eating with him would have been clean and therefore qualified to eat the Passover.

And was Mary Magdalene still a prostitute or still demon possessed? Was Simon the Zealot still a terrorist? Was Matthew still a tax collector, for that matter?

Seems in the Bible, a person’s sinful reputation stayed with them. James, for example, refers to “Rahab the harlot” in chapter five of his letter, when he could just as easily have called her King David’s great-grandmother, or the converted Canaanite, or the messenger-hider.

So these sinners that Jesus was eating with — were they still living the lifestyle of sinners? Or were they people who came to Him to find cleansing and healing and forgiveness? People like Nicodemus and Mark and Barnabas and Timothy?

Matthew the tax-collector-turned-disciple invited his friends over to eat with Jesus. In context it seems unlikely that they were hatching devious money-thieving plots over their meal while they cracked jokes about sticking it to the Pharisees. Matthew was a different man now, one of the dirty dozen who had experienced Jesus’s cleansing grace.

Demon-free Mary was different, too. Now she wanted only to sit at Jesus’s feet. Leprosy-free Simon was most definitely different — he was hosting a party!

The image the gospels paint of Jesus is not the one the church-critics try to conjure up. Sinners came to Him in droves. They’d come to John the Baptist, too, and repented of their sins. The cleansing they received from Jesus wasn’t a momentary thing, though. They became new creatures. Old things passed away, replaced by the new.

Sure we still call them sinners because that’s what they were, in the same way that “sinner” identifies me. The Pharisees used the term differently, however. They put themselves in opposition to the sinners. So in the blue corner, Pharisees. In the red corner, sinners. And how dare Jesus side with the sinners!

The sinners He sided with were those who stood before God beating their breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13b).

They were broken, humbled, redeemed. A lot like the people in churches today who know Jesus.

Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 6:14 pm  Comments (5)  
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Fantasy Friday – Visit The Library


Well, I think it’s great to visit the library, be it a city or county library or even a church library such as I enjoy. I cut my reading teeth on my school library when I was in seventh grade and have loved libraries ever since.

However, in this instance, I’m actually thinking of a virtual library, browsing only — one that is just coming together over at Speculative Faith.

Yes, it’s just coming together, but rather than wait until we have all five hundred or so titles loaded, I suggest readers find a time to visit regularly. For one thing, you can start leaving comments about the books you’ve read.

You see, one of the goals for our browse-only library is to let fans of speculative fiction know what titles are worthy of their dollars and days. As we build up reader responses — not long reviews but simple reaction statements — others will know what books or authors they should consider.

Another reason to visit regularly is that the landscape changes. We add more titles and find ways to make your visiting experience more satisfying. You can help by commenting here — tell us what you like and what you wish you could find in a browse-only library.

By the way, while you’re over at Spec Faith, be sure to read today’s guest post by CSFF member Chawna Schroeder. Her article “Of Distant Places & Daring Sword Fights” is one of the best explanations of what Christians can find in speculative fiction. It’s a well-written piece and worth reading.

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm  Comments (3)  
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Tour Wrap – Darkness Follows


We had a somewhat smaller tour than usual for Darkness Follows — 20 participants and 40 posts. But the conversation was spirited and our author, Mike Dellosso, was gracious enough to visit and comment frequently. Among the posts you won’t want to miss:

* The chance to win a copy of Darkness Follows from either Noah Aresenault or Nikole Hahn

*A terrific interview with Mike Dellosso – also at Noah’s site

*An excellent two day review by Jessica Thomas (Part 1 and Part 2)

*A look at the growth of Christian horror by Sarah Sawyer

*A review of an earlier Dellosso novel by Steve Trower

Those are just the highlights. There’s plenty of fresh and interesting content from these terrific bloggers (see the complete list of links).

Now we come down to the all important Best CSFF June Blogger Award, to be decided from the participants who posted all three days. And they are:

Now that you know who’s in the running, please vote! Poll closes midnight Pacific time, July 7, or 7/7/11 — cool date! πŸ˜€

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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CSFF Blog Tour – Darkness Follows, Day 3


Some books aren’t destined to be loved, I don’t think, whereas their authors might be. Stephen King comes to mind as an example. I suspect Mike Dellosso, author of the CSFF Blog Tour June feature, Darkness Follows, might also fall into this category.

Of course, this idea that authors can be loved even if their books aren’t, can be argued, depending on why a particular reader loves a book. For me, being appalled pretty much eliminates a novel from the “I love it” category. Others may well disagree.

All this to say, I am happy I read a Mike Dellosso novel. I’d happily recommend him to anyone who wants to read horror. At the same time, I won’t be reading another one of his.

I’ve said from time to time that I enjoy reading most genres, but not suspense or horror. And yet I’ve read some suspense and liked it, some Christian supernatural suspense and liked it. However, in reading reviews of those books, I discovered that readers who genuinely enjoy the suspense or horror genres thought the books I liked were too tame.

I don’t think any horror fan would find Darkness Follows tame.

Which is why I won’t read any more Dellosso novels. He’s too good. By that I mean, the story was the kind that comes alive. The characters seemed like real people, the growing darkness a real threat, the danger a tragedy waiting to happen. I hated it — in the same way that I hate roller coasters. Other people find the adrenaline rush thrilling, I find it horrific.

All that by way of introduction to my review. πŸ˜‰

The Story.
Sam Travis is recovering from a brain injury — except he feels as if he’s not. He has begun to hear things, like sounds of battle, the kind that would have come from the Battle of Gettysberg that took place not far from his home. He’s also started seeing things, or more accurately, a person — his dead brother. The capper is, he’s starting to do things he doesn’t remember, specifically journaling as if he is Captain Samuel Whiting, a member of the US military during the Civil War.

Fearing for his sanity, Sam does not reveal what he’s experiencing to his wife or his little girl, Eva, though both are concerned for him and the changes they see. A gulf begins to grow between them, and Sam finds himself more and more drawn into what he perceives to be an inevitable darkness that propels him toward unspeakable actions.

Strengths.
The story is well-written and compelling. The prose is not lyrical but it is certainly above average. Scenes are vivid, action properly motivated, characters painted as individuals, each with his or her own unique story. The interaction between Sam and his daughter and between Sam and his wife was so natural which made the progression toward estrangement more and more painful.

The tension was palpable, and the suspense proved to be that “compelling” element.

The theme of love as the redeeming factor in a person’s life was clear — not not just love in a generic way, but Jesus’s love.

Weaknesses.
I had one minor issue that proved to be major for me. At one point the antagonist stalks his target, described to have brown hair. Because the character the reader would assume to be the target of a kidnapping had blond hair, I surmised that someone else was the actual target. Not so. Apparently it was an editing glitch. I admit I was disappointed because I thought that could have taken the story in an interesting direction.

The larger issue, however, was that some of the end didn’t seem earned. The explanation of brainwashing and neo-Nazi involvement was from out of the blue. The subconscious journal writing and the appearance of a message written in grass (when Sam was fully conscious and absent from the location) was never adequately explained. Nor was the inciting incident — the Civil War sounds and the shattered window that started him on his journey toward darkness.

Surprisingly, the puzzle pieces not quite fitting didn’t deter from the story. Only as I thought about it after finishing was I aware of the questions the story left a little scrambled.

Recommendation.
This one is no yawner. The pages flew by, and if I enjoyed horror, I have no doubt that I would have discovered a new favorite author. Mike writes well!

That being said, this is horror. Actual ugly horror with horrific things happening. This is a book that earns the word Darkness in the title, and anyone picking it up should realize they are not getting a sanitized version of horror.

I highly recommend Darkness Follows to anyone interested in horror and particular to anyone who wants to see what Christian horror looks like. To anyone who doesn’t care for horror, stay away from this one.

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

CSFF Blog Tour – Darkness Follows, Day 2


I find it interesting that this month’s CSFF feature, Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso (Realms), brought to my mind a tough question, one that is sensitive by nature and often isn’t discussed. Interesting because the last two Realms books, The Strange Man by Greg Mitchell and The Resurrection by Mike Duran had similar effects.

In Darkness Follows, the issue is a little convoluted. I’m referring to mental disorders/demon oppression or possession. I separated the two with a slash simply because those who believe in demon oppression and possession struggle knowing where mental disorders leave off and demon activity takes over.

Of course there was a period of time when the common understanding of all mental disorders related to demonic spiritual forces. Today, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction: in western culture few people give credence to demon possession, and mental disorders are understood as biological issues or perhaps psychological ones, but never spiritual.

In Darkness Follows Mike Dellosso seems to be exploring both mental disorders and spiritual activity simultaneously. In his story it is nearly impossible to know where one stops and the other starts.

For clarification, there is also clear, tangible angelic spiritual activity. It’s the dark that is left more murky and tangled with the physical.

* * * Spoiler Alert Warning: of necessity some spoilers may be included in this discussion. * * *

First the clear physical exploration of mental disorder. One of the minor characters was experiencing early signs of Alzheimer’s. The protagonist was recovering from a closed brain injury due to a twenty-foot fall. His brother had suffered from an undiagnosed mental disorder manifesting as escalating violence. The antagonist suffered the effects of brain altering experimentation. The protagonist’s father, also a minor character, exhibited signs of confusion and memory loss — perhaps the result of an earlier injury.

Coupled with these physical or “explained” mental disorders was the “darkness” that inhabited the original journal writer, Samuel Whiting (a 19th century Civil War officer who seemed to be “channeling” his thoughts to the protagonist who wrote them down), and also the protagonist, Sam Travis (who at one point tries to commit suicide).

Several actions sprang from this darkness — actions paralleled by demon possession recorded in Scripture: violence against others, violence against self, isolation from other people.

      * * * End Spoiler Alert * * *

So the questions are these: where does mental illness end and demon activity begin? and can a Christian be demon possessed?

The second question is actually something that I think has a Biblical answer. No, Christians cannot be demon possessed. Second Cor. 6:14, in a different context, indicates there is no partnership between light and dark. First John 1:6 says we’re lying if we say we have fellowship with God and “yet walk in darkness.” First John 5:18 says of one born of God, “the evil one does not touch him.”

Jesus, of course, made a case for the impossibility of someone casting out demons by the power of the devil. By implication, I conclude that God has power over demons, not the reverse. The logical conclusion, then, is that the Holy Spirit in a person’s life does not “share,” nor will He be cowered into a corner while a legion takes over.

But can darkness influence a Christian — demonic darkness? I don’t know how far Satan or his forces can go. I do know I Peter 5:8-9 says, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” Because this passage ties in with brethren suffering in the world, it seems to me that Satan may have power over our circumstances, much the way Joseph’s brothers had power over his circumstances. In the end, what they meant for evil, God meant for good.

Nevertheless, we are to resist. This action, I take to be spiritual, in which we utilize the armor of God — the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shield of faith, the shoes of the gospel of peace.

As to the first question — where does a mental disorder stop and demon activity begin … well, that’s one I’d like someone else to answer for me.

I know there will be lots (maybe most) taking the humanistic view that there are only biological causes for mental disorders. I just don’t see why a spiritual force, if it has any power at all, couldn’t have an effect on someone’s brain. In other words, scientists are perfectly right to say this chemical imbalance has that affect on a person. But why couldn’t the root of the chemical imbalance be in the spiritual activity of a demon?

I suppose in the end, we can’t know. One thing is clear, however: we are to resist the devil and when we do, he will flee. We are to draw near to God, and He will draw near to us.

Christ resisted all the temptations Satan threw at Him over a period of forty days — right after His baptism. Interesting how a spiritual high point can be followed by such an intense spiritual attack. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Christ Jesus our Lord.

CSFF Blog Tour – Darkness Follows


Author Mike Dellosso

There’s just something about starting a book that lets you know almost at once whether or not you’re in the hands of a competent storyteller or not. When I discover that I am, I immediately relax and let the story take over.

Without a doubt, Mike Dellosso, author of this month’s CSFF Blog Tour feature Darkness Follows is the kind of storyteller that lets me know I’m in good hands. His command of the scene, his visual imagery created through action, his use of similes that not only describe but set the mood — all this and more helps me trust that the author knows what he’s doing.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Two, and you’ll see what I mean:

Molly was down the steps in no time, slippered feet scuffing the hardwood like fine-grit sandpaper. Her hair was wildly out of place, pushed to one side and matted like steel wool, and pillow crease lines marked her left cheek. Her eyes were wide and bleary, her jaw slack.

“Wha-what happened?” The panic in her voice sent spidery legs down Sam’s back.

She stood at the bottom of the steps in her blue flannel pajamas, palms turned up, expecting an answer. But Sam didn’t have one. He had no idea what had happened. He knew the window had exploded — the glass on the living room floor, glimmering like diamonds in the light, testified to that — but the gunshot …

Was it real? Was it his mind playing war games with him?

He looked at Molly. “I, uh, I’m …” He glanced at the floor then back at her. His damaged brain wouldn’t shift into gear.

She took three steps forward, cautiously, as though creeping through a haunted house and expecting a mischievous teenager in a monster mask to jump from he next corner. She looked into the living room, and her hand went to her mouth. “Sam, what happened? The window.”

“Mommy?”

It was Eva, standing at the top of the stairs.

Sam was still frozen, his mind a block of ice, unable to make sense of anything hat had transpired in the last fifteen minutes.

Molly spun around. “Eva, stay there, baby. Don’t come down.”

“What happened? Did something break?” She was barefoot in her Dora jammies, clutching her worn-out stuffed dog in her arms. Max. There was no fear in her eyes, only questions.

“Yes, baby,” Molly said. She was in take-charge mode, and Sam knew when she had that look it was best to let her do her thing. “The window broke, that’s all. Nothing to worry about. Just stay there, OK? There’s glass all over the floor.”

Molly looked at Sam again. “What happened? Why’s the front door open? How did the window break?”

Too many questions.

Take some time now to read the buzz around the blog tour about Darkness Follows and Mike Dellosso.

Fantasy Friday: Imaginative Is Not Weird


Grendel, the monster Beowulf faced

Over and over I’ve heard the description: speculative fiction is that weird niche of fiction that appeals to a small group of people who see things differently from almost everyone else. Some notable people working with Christian speculative fiction promote that perspective.

I’m calling a halt to this line of thinking. Weird does not describe good speculative literature — either that, or the whole world is weird.

Exhibit A — Harry Potter. Not only did millions buy the seven hefty tomes, millions more have been flocking to see the movies.

Exhibit B — The Lord of the Rings. Not only did the movies earn renown, they also brought a resurgence to the popularity of the books, which had already won over a generation in the mid-twentieth century.

Exhibit C — Speculative movies. The titles featuring speculative elements dominate the list of highest grossing movies. Of the top thirty, only Titanic is without some form of speculative elements. If you look at the numbers adjusted for inflation, nineteen of the top thirty are still speculative (and that’s if you count The Ten Commandments as not speculative).

Exhibit D — Television. From Topper in the 50s, I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched in the 60s to Star Trek, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Lost, V, and the flood of speculative shows out today, clearly the fascination with the speculative is part of the culture at large.

"Double, double toil and trouble" - Macbeth

Exhibit E — Classic literature. Starting with works like Beowulf, The Iliad and The Odyssey, and moving to Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Hamlet, on to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Edgar Allen Poe’s various short stories and even poetry, and many others, speculative elements are a part of the fabric of the stories that literature students continue to study.

What’s my point? Imagination carries all of us beyond the confines of contemporary reality. It is not weird to imagine. Those who write imaginative fiction are not weird. Those who read or watch imaginative stories are not weird. Speculative fiction that is done well has a broad appeal and has had that appeal since the beginning of literature.

Why some today think they are doing the genre a service to call it weird and to define it as a narrow niche that only a few not-normals will like, is beyond me.

Certainly some speculative fiction is more “hard core” than others. The harder the core, I suppose, the smaller the audience.

And yet books like The Hunger Games and movies like The Matrix which some might consider hard core were widely popular.

I believe we can account for the popularity of speculative fiction simply because it is imaginative. God made us with an imagination. As a result readers and viewers love to be transported to new places they’ve never seen. Stories of a place or time that is different from the here and now create wonder and intrigue and spark a sense of adventure.

Is speculative fiction a “‘weird’ kind of fiction” as one professional says? Are writers and readers of speculative fiction “not normal” as a speculative writer says? I counter that the evidence shows speculative fiction is in the mainstream and has been for a very, very long time.

The problem, as I see it, is that we Christians have yet to write a “break out” story that will catch the eye of all those speculative fans. Rather than settling for a niche market of hard core speculative readers who will devour anything in the genre regardless of quality, I think we should commit ourselves to learning what makes imaginative stories work. And stop calling what we do and what we like weird!

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