An Appeal for Christians to Rediscover the Power of Imagination

Yes, it has been quite a long time since I posted. As many of you know, I have been in school, and that takes much of my time. I have also studied for some certification exams, and so far I have passed CompTIA A+ and Security+.

On top of studying, I have spent time attending job fairs and other networking events, and I have started a job at a call center. Needless to say, I have been busy, but that is not the only reason I have not posted. I have also felt uninspired, and I have struggled to find the drive to write. I must say, it is nice to be back at it. I do not know how often I can write while I am in school, but I enjoy it when I can.

This post was unexpected. Last Monday night after I finished all of the school work for the night, I was relaxing with an old issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine that I never finished. After reading a few pages, I thought that it would be nice to have a Christian equivalent of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Some of the stories in this periodical are entertaining, and some deal with interesting ideas. Often, however, I see sexual immorality, intentional jabs at religion, and profanity.

Now, do not read me wrong. I understand that this is not a Christian publication, and so I do not expect the authors to write as Christians. They are free to write as they choose. I also have no problem reading stories written by non-Christians if they are well-written, entertaining, and deal with interesting ideas. I can recommend many that I have enjoyed greatly (Isaac Asimov, who was an atheist, is one of my favorite writers).

Nonetheless, I do think Christians would benefit from an outlet through which they could use the power of speculative fiction within a Christian context, a place where they could bring their stories together in a shared medium. I made some inquiries online to see whether there is such a place, and I was told of a few. I do not want to recommend any of them here without first evaluating them myself, but you can ask The Rabbit Room Chinwag on Facebook.

Whether in one of these forums or in another, maybe more Christian writers of fiction should consider what they can contribute. C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien showed how powerful the fantasy genre can be, and their works have become true classics. Science fiction is another genre which has proven numerous times to have immense potential to explore the cultural, political, and technological trends we see today. What would we see if Christian authors today combined the cultural and political foresight and Christian convictions of Francis Schaeffer with the captivating storytelling skills of Lewis and Tolkien? That would be something worth reading.

Writers must, however, keep in mind the quality of their contributions. I have no problem saying that many Christian movies . . ., well, they just stink. I appreciate the Christian worldview that they present (when it is not incredibly shallow), but the storytelling is often painfully inferior to many secular movies. It should not be that way (remember Lewis and Tolkien). Christians should strive for quality in all creative endeavors, whether on film, or on paper, or on a canvas.

In Art and the Bible, Francis Schaeffer encouraged Christians to be more involved in the arts in service to the glory of God. Because Christ is the lord of a person’s entire life, that life can produce both truth and beauty through art. The same can be applied to literature. Schaeffer also argued that legitimate Christian art does not always need to have specifically religious content. A Christian can paint a picture of a beautiful landscape simply because it is a beautiful landscape which he knows was created by God. In the same way, a Christian can write an entertaining story simply to write an entertaining story, and he can also write a story with a biblical purpose and message. Both are valid.

Fantasy and science fiction both have power to capture the imagination, and they are limited only by the imagination of the author. This makes them great vehicles with which explore ideas and to address the real world in which we live. Let us see what Christians can do with that.

(My previous posts on fantasy and science fiction)

About henrywm

I am a graduate from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology. I am interested in Christian theology and church history. I also enjoy science fiction and stories which wrestle with deep questions.
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1 Response to An Appeal for Christians to Rediscover the Power of Imagination

  1. Hi there! I thought this was an interesting post. I am not Christian, but I agree that there is room and an audience for writers who want to cater to the interests of this large and diverse group, within the scope of fantasy and science fiction writing.

    By the way, I found your site through a comment on Jeff Goins’ website.

    Keep it up!

    Like

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