So roughly half of the available stories for MindFlights are worthwhile, in my opinion, but only one or two are noticeably Christian. That's fairly common these days, which is a solid-gold clue that something's wrong.
Historically, we have been the counter-culture. Even Balaam figured that out concerning Israel: "From the rocky peaks I see them, from the heights I view them. I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations." (Num 23:9).
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Cor 6:14-7:1)
That doesn't mean abandoning the field entirely, but we should stop playing catch-up with the world. We should innovate and let them copy if they can. And one of our standards should be Php 4:8--"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (That would probably clear out even a Christian bookstore pretty fast.) I should mention that the Greek does not refer to thinking about such things from time to time but constantly--these are the things we are to dwell on. You are what you read.
Does that mean we should read only Christian work? No; there is worthwhile material even in pagan sources. Paul quoted pagan writers on various occasions.
Does it mean that we should only write tracts on getting saved? Again, no. Read the New Testament carefully: how many "Steps to Salvation" pieces do you find?
And the Christian nature of a spec fic story is far more important than for any other type. Why? Because even if a mystery or romance is filled with atheists and Satanists, it still takes place (more or less) in the real world, so whatever the characters' opinions, we know that God is there.
But in spec fic, we are dealing with another world, perhaps one without God. Many writers turn to spec fic precisely so they can have a godless universe. And while it was possible in Lewis' day and Tolkien's to let the writer's mindset do the work, that was a different world too. Back then people were more likely to get a biblical reference or take a hint. At this point we are so muddled with soundbites about cultures and religions we have no deep knowledge of any of them--not even our own. Indirection and subtlety no longer work.
So what's the alternative? Some publishers think that if you pursue unabashed Christianity, people will tune you out. Some will. But I think you'll find that most people are curious about what we believe, and our spin-sick world longs for someone who is candid about his beliefs. If you can mention those beliefs naturally in the course of a story--not forcing them in for no good reason, but letting them occur naturally--I doubt most people will object.
But neutrality is impossible. One of the things that bothered me about Wayfarer's Journal was a remark on the site about the desirability of writing fiction where one's faith was no more central than the color of one's eyes. In other words, it shouldn't matter at all. This is an increasingly common view: the attempt to sink to the lowest common denominator, to put the lamp under the basket. Jesus said, "So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Rev 3:16)
Pick a side!
Other CSFF Blogs on the tour:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Kameron M. Franklin
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Mirtika or Mir's Here
1 year ago