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Fred’s 2012 Speculations

I’m certainly not a prophet, and I have no desire to add to the predictive glut of the season, but this blog isn’t called Speculative Faith for nothing. So, today I’m offering a list of speculations for the coming year.
| Jan 3, 2012 | No comments |

The turn of a new year is always a time of forecasts and prognostications. Prophets literally come crawling out of the woodwork, on a scale not seen since the Showdown at Mount Carmel. I’m certainly not a prophet, and I have no desire to add to the predictive glut of the season, but this blog isn’t called Speculative Faith for nothing. So, today I’m offering a list of speculations for the coming year.

I claim no divine inspiration or authority for these statements. Don’t rearrange your travel plans or restructure your 401K based on anything I say here. Whatever you do, don’t repeat them at the office, quote them at church, or share them with friends on your social network of choice. People might think you’re as disordered as I am.

I do, however, reserve the right to say, “I told you so,” when they come true.

  1. The world will not end in 2012. I favor 2020, if only because it would be so cool to be able to say for eternity, “In hindsight, it was always 2020.”
  2. Scientists will discover at least three planets capable of supporting life as we know it. The short list of potential names submitted by the public will include Vulcan, Tatooine, Gallifrey, and Pizza Planet.
  3. On March 9, a human being will walk on the surface of Mars, encounter a thriving humanoid civilization, and fall in love with a smokin’ hot alien princess who has the proper number of arms and legs. Mark your calendars.
  4. The writers of Doctor Who will leak a memo confirming that Doctor #12 will be female. The Internet will crash for one week, and screams of horror will be audible on Ganymede.
  5. The Christian Booksellers Association will issue a formal statement apologizing for their years of snubbing speculative fiction writers. They will direct their membership to stock a more balanced proportion of Christian science fiction and fantasy, relative to historical romances.
  6. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien will be mentioned at least once a week at Speculative Faith. As you may note, I’ve already taken care of this week.
  7. Frustrated critics of Rob Bell’s Love Wins will attempt a more nuanced and aesthetically-sensitive strategy, beginning with an essay posted on Facebook, titled, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Hell.”
  8. Oops, I forgot to mention that prediction #5 will come true only on an alternate Earth where pigs can fly and Skittles grow on trees for the nourishment of rainbow-colored unicorns.
  9. The winner of the 2012 United States Presidential election will announce his first official act upon taking office: “Save the cheerleader…save the world.”
  10. Bilbo Baggins’ memoirs will appear on the big screen in November to much rejoicing and the public wearing of pointy ears and hairy feet. Only the first half of the story will be presented. This is another reason the world will not end in 2012.
Fred was born in Tacoma, Washington, but spent most of his formative years in California, where his parents pastored a couple of small churches. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983, and spent 24 years in the Air Force as a bomber navigator, flight-test navigator, and military educator. He retired from the Air Force in 2007, and now works as a government contractor in eastern Kansas, providing computer simulation support for Army training.Fred has been married for 25 years to the girl who should have been his high school sweetheart, and has three kids, three dogs, and a mortgage. When he's not writing or reading, he enjoys running, hiking, birdwatching, stargazing, and playing around with computers.Writing has always been a big part of his life, but he kept it mostly private until a few years ago, when it occurred to him that if he was ever going to get published, he needed to get serious about it. Since then, he's written more than twenty short stories that have been published in a variety of print and online magazines, and a novel, The Muse, that debuted in November 2009 from Splashdown Books, which was a finalist for the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award for book of the year in the speculative genre. Speculative fiction is his first love, but he writes the occasional bit of non-fiction or poetry, just to keep things interesting.

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E. Stephen Burnett
Admin

Excellent and comical predictions. I particularly love the logic for the world ending on 2020. It works for English-speakers familiar with the simile, anyway!

The writers of Doctor Who will leak a memo confirming that Doctor #12 will be female.

This is not entirely implausible. Perhaps you saw that one feature in which actress Helen Mirren said she’d like to be the next Doctor. (The story, true to silly form, erroneously referred in its headline to “Doctor Who” as if that was the character’s complete name. Also, ‘ware British-tabloid nastiness at that link.) However, the suggestion is mostly implausible, and not only for the geek-outrage that would result. Casting the Doctor as a woman, permanently, in canon, not only violates imaginary law, but an even more vital constraint: television series demographics. And that line must not ever be crossed.

Frustrated critics of Rob Bell’s Love Wins will attempt a more nuanced and aesthetically-sensitive strategy, beginning with an essay posted on Facebook, titled, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Hell.”

Uncanny. I had just been considering this review of that situation from doctrine-wonk blogger Trevin Wax, who in one of his most popular posts of 2011 wrote this:

Bell’s book is troublesome, not because it is a thoughtful representation of the optimistic inclusivist position. (See Clark Pinnock’s work if you’re looking for that!) It’s troublesome because it is seeking to make inclusivism beautiful. Bell succeeds at “dressing up” falsehood. Meanwhile, his evangelical critics aren’t even bothering with the wardrobe. We are Nixon, and he is Kennedy. From a purely rhetorical, debating standpoint, we win. But Bell understands the medium.

What is needed is a response that takes into consideration the beauty of Truth. We’ve got the truth portion down when it comes to propositions. What is needed is a beautiful and compelling portrait of Truth – the Person. God is inherently beautiful, but many times, we don’t do well at drawing out the inherent beauty of Truth with a capital T.

God is inherently beautiful, but many times, we don’t do well at drawing out the inherent beauty of Truth with a capital T. (re-quoting for emphasis).

Hmm. Sounds like the realm of the Christ-honoring writer/artist/poet to me, and not just for yet even more mathematical-proof-style nonfiction doctrine-wonkery (though all of us certainly also need that, and I do not mean to disparage it).

Trevin Wax himself seems to think that, and later he specifically mentions storytelling:

The problem with the responses to Love Wins is that, while we are experts at critiquing Bell’s vision of God, we aren’t stepping up with a more compelling portrait of God’s magnificence. We are scribbling down our thoughts under Bell’s chalk drawing instead of taking up the paint brush and creating something that reflects the beauty of biblical truth.

We can write 50-page criticisms of The Shack. Meanwhile, men and women like William Young continue to craft great stories. We grasp the issues, but others grasp the medium.

[…] The gospel shouldn’t shut down our imagination, but rather fuel it and direct it toward the beauty that is inherent to the truth. We need more than analysis; we need artistry.

And now, if I’ve done my job right, Fred, I’ve completely twisted your hilarity into dour seriousness — the very thing I was just lamenting. Ha ha!

Finally, a moment of nitpickiness, brought to you by New Line Cinema and MGM:

Bilbo Baggins’ memoirs will appear on the big screen in November

December, methinks. Also known as: That Month That Is Much Too Far Away.

E. Stephen Burnett
Admin

Peter Jackson recently announced the world premiere will be November in New Zealand. If you mean the U.S. debut, yes, that’s December. Sorry–I keep forgetting we’re the bright center of the universe.

Nitpicked the nitpicker! Success. Yes, I had forgotten about that, and perhaps indeed re-bought the silly Ameri-centric assumption.

I’ll simply remember to avoid spoilers by staying off the internet for about a month.

E. Stephen Burnett
Admin

It may take a bit before I get to that. First, a series that name-drops Tolkien. No, I’m not kidding; that’s what I’ll start this week. However, it will mainly be about the films.

I think Wax sidesteps the issue a bit. We’re dealing with a very specific and unattractive truth here–he’s asking the creative community to somehow portray a beauty in an eternal Hell that is superior to and more compelling than Bell’s vision. How might this be accomplished?

Though I agree that a comment discussion can’t do this deep topic justice (we’d need a whole column to resolve it completely!), here’s a further summary thought. Hell itself is not beautiful. It’s ugly. What is beautiful and should be lauded is God’s justice. In response to all the evil men do, against the world and against their fellow men — but mainly against their Creator — though God is holding back justice, it does exist and “He will repay” (Rom. 13). That’s the beautiful part. That’s also why we love to see bad guys getting their due, such as those Orcs created by Tolkien Tolkien Tolkien.

Kaci Hill
Member

If we wanted to nitpick, Hell is a prison of torment that results from the wrath and justice of God. God is just and altogether good, which means his penalties are also. I don’t think there’s a comfortable way around that. Personally, I don’t find the idea of “Hell is really just Purgatory” compelling, good, or desirable, because it annuls “The righteous live by faith” and “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  All physical actions aside, it’s problematic to strip away even the spirit of the Law – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself – just to placate sensitivities. 

Bob
Guest
Bob

Fred,
It isn’t really speculative to say that an alien princess with the proper number of arms and legs is smokin’ hot. They all are, even if they have a tail.
 
 

Maria Tatham
Guest

Really funny, Fred!

Interesting comments, Stephen!

Happy New Year, Gentlemen!    

 

Esther
Guest

Yay! Barsoom! I don’t know if I’ll watch…I’d need to go back and read the books first so I could compare the films and books. Plus, it looked quite violent and gory. But it’s such a fun story…

Kessie Carroll
Member

AHHHH!! Not a female Doctor! If the companion was a woman, it’d be two chicks out on a girl date, shopping all the best spots.
 
NO. The Doctor cannot EVER be a woman! I would have to stop watching just out of sheer gag-factor.

E. Stephen Burnett
Admin

Amen to that, Kessie. But I must note that you can say this, and not me:

If the companion was a woman, it’d be two chicks out on a girl date, shopping all the best spots.

Or else: the really original story-trick of making — get this! it’s revolutionary — the girl behave like a big tough action hero man. Wow! What a fantastically groundbreaking concept this would be! The action heroine could also, then, do exactly as all the male action heroes do, and do all the action-hero bits, only while also being scantily clad.

I’d best patent this one, before some hack out there goes on and steals the idea.

Very glad to take up this subtopic. It’s so rare that we discuss Doctor Who around here, almost as rare as we happen to cite or discuss J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.

Kaci Hill
Member

If he turned into a woman, they’d need a male companion to keep the balance proper.
 
As for the rest, Stephen, I’d need a separate post to go after that subject. At that point I steal the title “On-coming Storm.”

Kessie Carroll
Member

Half the time, the Doctor runs around with a male and female companion anyway. We just went almost two whole seasons with Amy and Rory and apparently Moffat’s not done with them yet, because they’ll hang around the beginning of season 7, too.

Galadriel
Guest

I can tackle the female Doctor issue in one word. NO.
And for another word: NEVER.

Jenni Noordhoek
Guest

Ditto. 

The only reason I’d ever consider having a female Doctor is if they cast me. 😀 And I don’t act, so we’re safe! 😀 

(That being said, it is rather fun to cosplay girls-versions-of-Doctor-costumes. After all, Romana II started it. :D)  

Kessie Carroll
Member

All you need is a bowtie and a fez!

Jenni Noordhoek
Guest

Actually, I do have a bowtie and a tweed jacket… I just need the fez. 😀 I’ve substituted with a fedora. 

Kaci Hill
Member

I didn’t say I *wanted* a female Doctor. 😛

Jenni Noordhoek
Guest

Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone thought so. XD 

Galadriel
Guest

Scientists will discover at least three planets capable of supporting life as we know it. The short list of potential names submitted by the public will include Vulcan, Tatooine, Gallifrey, and Pizza Planet.

Not so outrageous. There’s already a planet nicknamed after a Star Wars homeworld. I don’t remember the details though.

The writers of Doctor Who will leak a memo confirming that Doctor #12 will be female. The Internet will crash for one week, and screams of horror will be audible on Ganymede.

Only that far away? Come on, give us more credit than that.
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien will be mentioned at least once a week at Speculative Faith. As you may note, I’ve already taken care of this week

Nothing speculative about that.
Bilbo Baggins’ memoirs will appear on the big screen in November to much rejoicing and the public wearing of pointy ears and hairy feet. Only the first half of the story will be presented. This is another reason the world will not end in 2012.

Thank you for that reassurance.

Jeremy McNabb
Guest
Jeremy McNabb

Fred is never going to write another funny post again. 🙁

Kaci Hill
Member

I blame Stephen.

E. Stephen Burnett
Admin

I blame The Doctor.

And Stephen.

E. Stephen Burnett
Admin

No! Please don’t. Though I love the Puritans, sometimes I simply need to get away from them to set a spell, you know?