So last Monday I took my daughter to performing arts practice where they’re working on their dance/enactment called “Arise” based on the dry bones in Ezekiel 37: 1-14. The performance presents the spiritual aspect of it all. There are demons and angels, kids lay on the floor and begin to lift up to the music and the call to arise. It gives me chills.
One of them is an older teenager, maybe nineteen, and he blows the shofar then shouts, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
When the group broke up to practice a specific portion, the older teenager—we’ll call him Ted—came over to me, which is unusual. I’m normally an in –the- background kind of person. I guess I stood out in the group because I had my iBook propped open on my lap. I rarely take my computer anywhere but decided to give it a try. I did get something accomplished. Still, I was a bit embarrassed to be flashing my cute white box. People were fawning over it.
Ted asked what I was doing and I explained I was working on an interview with Stephen Lawhead. I asked if he knew him. To my surprise he perked up at the name. Our conversation turned to science fiction. Ted is an avid reader of science fiction. In fact, so much so, that he claims he can’t find anything else good to read. His words: “it’s hard to find anything good out there. I’ve read it all and there’s just not any more left.”
It’s not often that I come across someone who loves to read and especially science fiction. For once, I was able to chat away with someone who had many of the same interests. I explained to him that I write Christian SFF and went on to discuss what we’re doing here at Spec Faith and through the Christian SFF blog tour. Ted, though an avid reader of science fiction, has never heard of Christian SFF. Big surprise, huh?
Though Ted found this intriguing, he was still very curious as to why I felt that as a Christian, I had something more or special to offer to the genre. We should be writing for the sake of the story rather than trying to push an agenda, he said.
What left me stunned was when he squinted and looked away in thought, then shook his head and said, “You don’t have to be a Christian to write fantasy.” He gave Susan Cooper as his example. She’s an atheist, but her stories reveal the ultimate and intrinsic battle between good and evil, light and darkness. The same words I heard from Mr. editor/agent at the conference.
I have to admit, I’m still considering all of this. While what he says makes sense, it is still hard to believe that we, the bearers of the greatest truth, can make no difference in writing SFF. Aren’t we to make a difference in everything we do? Isn’t there some magic, inspiration, or annointing that will shine through our work unlike works written by atheists or unbelievers? Can God choose to shine through the work of an unbeliever? Sure he can. But he wants to shine through His children.
Take author Francine Rivers for instance. She originally wrote for the secular romance market but crossed over to the CBA where she has written such novels as Redeeming Love and Mark of the Lion. I’m sure she will tell us that there is an infinite difference between her novels before God and after God. Her work is meaningful, life changing.
I believe Becky Miller stated on one of her posts at Christian Worldview that we should not leave this genre to those who don’t know the truth. I wholeheartedly concur. Some have said that it’s only a matter of time before the Christian market will open up to more SFF. Others have said the doors are about to blow wide open. Perhaps we are simply dry bones and God is calling us to arise to His work of writing great science fiction and fantasy, works that will glorify Him, in it’s due time.