Novelist Elijah David asks the right questions in his post at Speculative Faith, C.S. Lewis Redeemed Myths, and So Should We. Using Tumnus the Faun, Lewis sought to “redeem” what was an historically conniving character, and convert it to something less vulgar. “[F]auns in classical mythology were often far nastier than Lewis’ depiction.” Yet Lewis saw past the mythic veneer and twerked the archetype for his own purposes. Writes David in his post:

I think what Lewis accomplishes with Tumnus is… the redemption of a myth. Lewis does this with mythical creatures and legendary figures throughout his writings, but especially in Narnia. Centaurs, fauns, Father Time, and even pagan deities like Bacchus and Silenus, Eros, Venus, and Mars—all of these find new life under Lewis’ pen. The end of Prince Caspian is an excellent example of Lewis’ myth redemption. Here, Bacchus and Silenus lose none of their wildness, yet they are greater than the patrons of orgies and drunkenness from the Greek pantheon. Under Aslan’s reign, they become patrons of joy and celebration at their purest. It is the same with Tumnus. His role as would-be kidnapper is forgiven and forgotten and he is free to become the true friend he was always meant to be.

To many, the idea of redeeming “patrons of orgies and drunkenness” might seem blasphemous. However, for Lewis it was about illuminating those small shards of Light that are inherent in so many of the ancient myths. David sees this as a method worth employing by other Christian authors.

This mythic redemption is a literary working out of Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Normally, this verse is (rightly) applied to self-control in one’s own thoughts and to discourse and debate in which wrong thinking must be corrected and made “captive” to Christ. But when it comes to fiction, it is possible for us to take a different tack on the subject, as Lewis does.

This redemption does not mean that every myth must be sterilized or made impotent. Indeed, removing the power of a myth would make it worse than worthless. And Lewis is far from the only author to take myths beyond their pagan roots and (rather than simply Christianizing them) give them new life under Christ.

This idea of taking myths “beyond their pagan roots” and giving them “new life under Christ” is fraught with danger. Nearly a decade ago (my, how time flies!) I conjectured a similar “redemption with the vampire archetype. In The Good Vampire I wrote,

Much as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis sought to reclaim mythology and unearth the underlying sediment of biblical truth inherent in folklore and fable, perhaps the same could be done with vampire lore. Current notions of the nocturnal nemeses are shaped largely by superstition, gothic literature and pop culture. Therefore, it remains in flux, unmoored, largely freed from factual constraints and rife for further tweaking. But, as Christian authors, do we dare?

The answer given by most mainstream Christian writers and publishers is a resounding no! Apparently, while the fictional redemption of “[c]entaurs, fauns, Father Time, and even pagan deities like Bacchus and Silenus, Eros, Venus, and Mars” appears tolerable, the reclamation of vampires does not.

In his book, God Against the gods: Storytelling, Imagination and Apologetics in the Bible, screenwriter Brian Godawa suggests that employing storytelling to subvert cultural narratives is a powerful tool for culture makers and apologists.

“…subversion of narrative is not a special technique used only by activists and intellectuals. It is the very nature of most storytelling through history. We are all creatures of our times seeking to control the narrative of our times, just as the ancients did. And those who control the cultural narrative control the culture.”

In fact, there are many examples of pagan cultural narratives which biblical figures challenged and upended. Jewish cosmology directly subverted the pagan cosmologies. Babylon, “gateway to the gods,” was crudely renamed Babel. Elijah publicly ridiculed the prophets of Baal. And Jezebel was mocked as the “queen of dung.” And when biblical figures weren’t poking their eye in contemporary narratives, they were flipped them on their heads to serve a larger purpose.

But this idea of flipping cultural narratives and redeeming myths requires getting our hands dirty. David is right to recognize Lewis’ attempt to take “beyond their pagan roots.” Too bad more religious writers don’t employ such an approach. Nevertheless, one wonders whether all myths can be redeemed. Perhaps some cultural narratives, some archetypes, are so tragically flawed as to be un-salvagable. Unlike fauns and other pagan deities, when it comes to vampires, apparently some suggest they remain “unsaved.”

 

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In the Book of Daniel chapter 10, the prophet Daniel encounters an angelic superpower who arrives in answer to his prayers. However, the angel says he was “detained” for 21 days and had to be assisted by another angel, Michael, “one of the chief princes” (vs. 13). The reason for needing assistance has to do with battling “the king of Persia” (vs. 13). Apparently, this was a very bad dude. Many scholars believe it’s in reference to some type of powerful demonic entity, a “territorial” spirit of some sort that held tremendous spiritual sway. So great was this entity’s power that it required tactical readjustments and forced delays.

Unless you believe this story is purely allegorical or apocalyptic, it poses some interesting possibilities for the physics of Angelology. Namely, it implies that angels are subject to time and space.

In physics, time is considered the fourth dimension. However, according to M-Theory, there are possibly 6 additional dimensions (10 total plus supergravity). It’s difficult for us to conceptualize these additional dimensions because we are bound within our four. Nevertheless, Scripture affirms the presence of a multi-dimensional universe when it speaks of God operating outside of the constraints of time (the Creation event; “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years” II Pet. 3:8), knowing us before we were born (Jer. 1:5), and predestining us “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). Angels are often viewed as having similar qualities and are sometimes portrayed as being able to traverse time and space in an instant and materialize in our plane without difficulty. This scene in the Book of Daniel challenges that understanding. Not only does it suggest that physical space is being traversed (the angel is attempting to get from Persia to Babylon), but that it takes actual time to do so. Unlike Dr. Who, angels aren’t afforded a time machine that can zap them instantly from one historical event or locale to another. They must actually move and be subject to flight times.

In this case, the angel was 21 days late! This is interesting in itself because believers like to say that God’s timing is perfect. Well, unless God intended Daniel’s answer to be 21 days late, this incident seems to upend that notion. In fact, it could imply that one of the reasons for unanswered prayer is that the answer got lost in the mail (i.e., intercepted by bad guys). Think about that for a moment. You might be blaming God for ignoring your prayer when instead you should be appealing for help for the delivery boy. “God, send Michael!” Whatever the case, this seems to suggest that angels are subject to the fourth dimension. Of course, this doesn’t mean they don’t have access to others that we might not. The fact that they can or cannot be visible on our plane suggests properties and clearances we don’t have. But it does imply other things; like maybe heaven is actually a place that exists in proximity to other places and takes a given amount of time to traverse. (Just thinking out loud here.) Which, if so, would be dependent upon angelic flight times. Travel to Babylon from heaven would involve a lot more than a simple snap of the fingers. Especially if the Prince of Persia stood in the way.

Either way, the Daniel account potentially stretches our understanding of the physics of angelology.

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In Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide, author Brett McCracken analyzes a growing sub-culture within the Western Church — Millennial postmodern believers seeking to mesh trendiness with spirituality. McCracken concludes that while aspiring to be culturally relevant, Christians need not compromise Truth for being “cool.” In fact, “coolness” and/or “hipness” exist on a sliding scale. Meshing eternal truths with ever-changing contemporary valuations is quite sticky. Thus, the “Christian hipster” straddles the line between legitimate engagement of culture and superficial pop cultural appropriation.

I was thinking about this phenomenon while recently reading about another, similarly odd, subculture — the Christian Geek.

Before we can get to the Christian geek, we must acknowledge the ascension of geekdom in the broader culture. Somewhere along the way, nerds and geeks went from being dorky outsiders to cool kids. This transformation has as much to do with the proliferation of popular culture and exponential technological advance than almost anything. At one time, the geek was the kid who constructed the short wave radio in his garage and chatted with a caribou hunter in Alaska. Today, practically any cell phone owner can Facetime the same caribou hunter in between micro-waving lunch and streaming anime on their HD 4K thinscreen. Now that immediate geek cred is at our fingertips, we can proudly display our bona fides with any number of purchases or references. Just mention ComicCon, much less namedrop panelists you were pictured with, and your geek points accumulate at warp factor.

As a result, a glut of “geek” outlets have been born — Den of Geek, ThinkGeek, Geek Girls, Gadgets for Geeks, Geek Street Clothing, GeekFuel, Geek squads, make-up for geeks, and even a site for Geeks Who Drink. Eventually the most eligible bachelors weren’t just stud muffins, they were geeks, and the quickest career arc to affluence was through the use or development of cutting edge geekery. Now geek is the new sexy. And non-geeks are straight-up muggles.

As with many pop-cultural trends, it didn’t take long for Christians to follow suit.

I’m not sure when it started, but as with the Christian hipster, the Christian geek piggy-backed off an existing cultural trend, appropriating the label for their own purposes and sanctifying the pursuit in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. So now we have outlets like the Geeky Christian, Christian Geek Central, Geeks Under Grace, The Christian Geeks, and Geeks and God; there’s Geekually Yoked, a podcast for “married Christian geeks,” a Geek’s Guide to Christianity, an Apostle to the Geeks, and even a Gay Christian Geek. With this has come a spate of reflections on Why geeks make great Christ followers, what Christians can learn about God from geek culture, how to Geek-Proof Your Faith, and numerous principles of spiritual growth and evangelism via geek prescripts. Now you can apply Dark Knight Discipleship, and learn how to live in community (because geeks do Acts 2 better than most churches) and geeks don’t crucify each other, but know how to disagree respectfully (of course, don’t tell that to Gamergaters and the Hugo Award flamewarriors).

But while there has been much effort to baptize the new demographic, pushback has been minimal. Research the subject and you’ll inevitably be directed to articles like What the Church Can Learn from Geek Culture and 10 Things Church Can Learn from Geeks. You see, geeks are now the new demographic that the church should be crafting outreach to. Yet while Christians appear to be rushing to embrace the label of “geek,” at least usher them into the fold, few have appeared to offer criticism. Which is what I’d like to offer here.

Affirming Christian geek culture poses two potential problems. One is the continued fragmentation and commodification of Christian culture, the other is interpretative over-reach regarding Christian themes in pop culture. In other words, validating the demographic and sanctioning its many cultural forms.

People will always sub-divide according to their likes and dislikes. Whether it’s music, film, food, politics, hobbies, or clothing, we inevitably migrate toward those with similar interests. So it shouldn’t be a surprise if gamers, anime artists, or Star Wars fans do the same. Even if they do it in the church. The problem arises when we slap the label “geek” on these niche dwellers and frame them as some sort of outcasts who need to be shepherded into the fold.

In their article The Overlooked: Geeks in the Church, Geeks Under Grace suggests that “geeks are particularly too often overlooked in the church” and offers this example:

“A young Christian woman I know creates beautiful anime-style art, but hesitates to share it in a realm of faith because ‘no one wants anime Jesus.’ Well, who says? Hasn’t God equipped her with a love and grace to be shared with others who might respond best to such an outlet?

The fact is, Jesus loves gamers, otakus, and comic book nerds – and he lives in the hearts of many such people. Isn’t it a mistake to overlook them just because it’s hard to understand what God has called them to do?”

While this is true, it’s not not unique to “gamers, otakus, and comic book nerds.” The same argument could be made for creatives in general. Churches don’t do a great job of recognizing horror writers, sushi chefs, and chainsaw sculptors either. So why should “geeks” suddenly become the new outreach demographic? In fact, it could be said that with the embrace of technologies by the church (podcasts, digital overheads, professional stage lighting, etc.) that computer geeks are MORE in demand for churches than, say, oil painters or screenwriters. Other than musicians, the church does not do a great job engaging creatives in general.

Furthermore, do we really need another sub-culture within the church? At some point, we are in danger of fracturing the Body into an infinite number of subcultures – Christian geeks, Christian singles, Christian homeschoolers, Christian athletes, Christian business owners, etc., etc. Heck, even within the geek community there exists numerous sub-divisions — Firefly fans, Marvel enthusiasts, Halo buffs, Tech toy aficionados, etc., etc. Shouldn’t we be more reluctant to embrace another label (“Christian geek”) which potentially fragments the community into another specialty niche? And with technologically-based pop-culture exponentially growing, people who enjoy gaming, gadgets, computers, comics, and CGI comprise, like, half of our Western world. Christian geeks are not the lonely misunderstood outsiders they are often made out to be.

A second possible issue concerning Christian geek culture is its embrace, assimilation, and sanctioning of numerous pop cultural commodities. Now don’t get me wrong here, Christians DO need to be more culturally savvy. And in the broader sense, Christians should be adept at identifying echoes of the Gospel anywhere we hear them. God has fused us with His image (Gen. 1:27), placed “eternity in [our] hearts” (Eccl. 3:11), and written His Law in our consciences (Rom. 2:14-15). It’s no wonder that even the most seemingly innocuous pop cultural artifacts can contain glimpses of Truth. So riffing on these “Gospel glimpses” seems like a smart thing to do, apologetically speaking. In this sense, identifying and affirming spiritual themes in popular culture, from X-Men to XBox,  seems a reasonable thing to do.

The problem is that Christian geeks can simply become celebrants of niche elements of pop culture who attempt to spiritualize their specific fandom. With the rise of Christian geekdom, it is now not uncommon to find those highlighting the numerous “Christian” elements of their specific fandom. Thus, Christian geeks seem to find Bible truth just about anywhere — Harry Potter, Star Trek, Dr. Who, The Walking Dead, or Dragon Ball Z. To say that some of these are a bit of a stretch is an understatement. Take Star Wars Redeemed: Your Life-Transforming Journey with Jesus and the Jedi, wherein the author uses the Star Wars series as a template for expounding upon “some of the most difficult-to-understand subjects in the Bible.” From the synop:

Star Wars Redeemed teaches the powerful truths of God’s Word using the backdrop of Star Wars. Have fun exploring some of the themes, metaphors, motifs, scenes, characters, and dialogue from the first six Star Wars films while learning some of the most difficult-to-understand subjects in the Bible.

In Star Wars Redeemed, you will find answers to the following questions:

• Is it possible to find God’s will for my life?
• Does God’s control have limits?
• How can I know if I’m saved?
• What’s the purpose of the Church?
• How can I arm myself for spiritual warfare?
• Is speaking in tongues possible?
• Does God care how I vote?
• What about the “End Times”?

Look, I’m a Star Wars fan. Are there hints of the Gospel in Star Wars. Absolutely! But does the series really answer questions about the End Times or whether speaking in tongues is possible? This kind of interpretative overreach is symptomatic of much of today’s Christian geek culture. I mean are Batman and Robin really templates for biblical discipleship? Is there really a Gospel According to Spiderman? Only if you squint. Let me suggest that this is another potential problematic element of Christian geek culture. I mean, what is the “Christian geek” but someone who seeks to superimpose his or her spiritual values over a specific fandom? Often this involves over-reach, the sanctification of our own amusements. It is pop cultural appropriation at its worst.

But perhaps the potentially most troubling aspect of Christian geekdom is its appeal to cultural hipness. The term “geek” used to be synonymous with “outsider.” And though many professing geeks still like to gloss themselves as misunderstood outsiders, the truth is that geeks now exists in the tens of freakin’ millions. Yes, at one time the guy with the short wave radio in his garage WAS an outsider. Trouble is, anime fans, Star War cosplayers, and tech lovers are now everywhere!  Face it, the term “geek” is now brandished as a badge of honor. It is cool. Wearing a Superman shirt is hardly unfashionable. Quoting Batman in a sermon garners you props. And knowing how to write code for video games can make you a pretty penny. So this idea that geeks are somehow still some misunderstood group of outsiders is just inaccurate. Frankly, one reason Christians are anxious to embrace the “geek” label is because it carries cultural cache. Geeks are now the cool kids. And God knows that we Christians need to appear more cool.

Wherever you fall on the geek spectrum, might I suggest that we not rush to baptize “Christian geeks” as the next unreached people group. Every Christian, geek or not, is measured by their relationship to Christ and to His Body. Knowing all the characters in Full Metal Alchemist or owning a Nanoleaf Aurora will not improve your standing with either. Building a TARDIS might earn you a side-eye from the choir ladies. But methinks Jesus could care less.

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Winterland: A Dark Fairy Tale is my most personal story, as well as one of my personal favorites. Yes, it’s really bizarre. Which is why I describe in terms of “surreal,” “fairy tale,” and ‘dark fantasy.” However, while Winterland is a journey through a bleak landscape with strange, often disgusting, characters, it is also a journey of hope. Here’s the brief summary,

Summoned into her dying mother’s coma, recovering addict Eunice Ames must traverse a surreal, apocalyptic dreamscape in search of three generational spirits who have imprisoned her mother’s soul.

Together with Joseph, a crippled drifter who serves as her guide, Eunice treks an abandoned highway strewn with debris from her mother’s “emotional” wars. Along the way, she encounters Mister Mordant, a perpetually whiny grub, Reverend Ash a fragile, supremely self-righteous minister, and Sybil, a beautiful sylph with a knack for deception. Eunice and Joseph endeavor to lead this peculiar brigade into the hell of her mother’s making, through the swamp of Mlaise and the volcanic plains of Cinder, to the Dark Throne where they were forged. Along the way, Eunice experiences, in awful living color, the forces that have shaped her mother’s descent into madness and disease.

Yet a more malevolent power conspires against Eunice. For not only is she forced to relive the psychological terrain of her own upbringing, she must now confront the darkness it has spawned… the one inside her. It seems Eunice has harbored horrors of her own; years of abuse, rejection, and generational sin have taken root. And no amount of psycho-babble and positive thinking can withstand the literal monster that is waiting at the end of this highway. Can Eunice destroy the spirits that have cursed her family and rescue her mother, or will the sun set on their hell forever?

The Wizard of Oz meets Dante’s Inferno in this novella (27,000 words), a dark adult fairy tale about finding faith, redemption, and confronting the monsters of our psyche.

Back in 2011 when it released, Winterland was included by the Horror Writers Association in their Bram Stoker Award Reading List. The story didn’t make the cut, but is was neat being included along with so many great writers. The novella continues to be the story I recommend most often to new readers.

Without giving away too much, there is a character in this story patterned after a very good friend of ours who committed suicide. He jumped off an overpass on the 210 freeway, just several miles away from where we live. Winterland opens on the the 210 freeway and employs the imagery of travel as a metaphor for our own spiritual and emotional journeys toward recovery. Like Virgil, who guides Dante through the Nine Circles of Hell, our friend is patterned as Eunice’s guide, leading her to confront her foul Generational Tree and follow the rotten stream produced by its fruit. See? I told you it was weird. Each character and locale represents a “season of the soul,” one which eventually culminates in a monstrous Regret. It is what we do with this beast that’s the difference between casting ourselves off an overpass (literally or figuratively) and rewriting our Destiny.

Anyway, not everyone who reads this story “gets it.” Which is fine. However, I’ve received several letters from readers who have deeply connected with this broken woman’s journey towards redemption. This, my friends, make the writing worthwhile. Winterland is available free on Kindle through December 26. I really hope you download a copy and, perhaps, share it with your friends. Thanks!

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Storytelling is an ancient custom, existing long before recorded history. While the mediums and methods have changed, stories continue to fascinate mankind. It’s a thread that traces as far back as the dawn of human history. Perhaps even more interesting are the thematic elements that humans consistently return to. Mythicist Joseph Campbell gathered these threads into a template, a thematic pattern that reoccurs, independently, in nearly every culture. He describes it as The Hero’s Journey, a journey of redemption which draws one individual into a supernatural quest, transformation, and returns them to their world empowered.

But where did this impulse and the corresponding need for stories and myths, come from? And why would universal stories all contain similar thematic elements?

Some attempt to answer the historical prevalence of,  and attraction to, stories through purely biological processes. In other words, storytelling and our need for it is nothing more than an evolutionary mechanism. In their article, How Stories Configure Human Nature, the science site Big Think explores the phenomenon from just that angle. Here’s the first four points in their argument:

1. It is in our nature to need stories. We arrive “biologically prepared” for them. They were evolutionarily crucial. We feel and think in story-logic (story-causality configures our reaction-biology).

2. Like our language instinct, a story drive—inborn hunger to hear and make stories—emerges untutored (=“biologically prepared”).

3. “Every culture bathes its children in stories” (to explain how the world works, to educate their emotions).

4. Story patterns are like another layer of grammar—language patterning the character types, plots, and norms important in our culture.

While it’s impossible to deny that stories are used to reinforce norms important to culture, the bigger questions are a.) Where did these “norms” arise (inside or outside us) and b.) Why the heck did they infuse our DNA in the first place (what compelling need required stories for survival)?  So we arrive “biologically prepared” with an “inborn hunger to hear and make stories,” a hunger that “emerges untutored.” But how are stories “evolutionarily crucial”?  Of course, one could see how the Story of the Wayward Boy could serve as warning to the youth of the tribe about the dangers of disobeying one’s elders. However, if man is evolved pond scum, it’s worth asking how parables and fables came to matter to those aquatic, multi-limbed ancestors. I mean, what use is a limerick to a creature a million mutations away from walking upright? You could maybe grant something like a wing might possibly sprout if a lizard jumped from a tree for a hundred thousand generations. (Where the impulse came to jump from trees is another story.) But how does storytelling — both the need for transmission of stories and a willing reception of stories — actually evolve in a species? What compelling gap caused stories and storytelling to become necessary for the survival of fittest? The absence of ethics? If so, then stories are little more than a rock or a spear — a tool to accomplish some bigger purpose, to configure our biology. However, if stories configure our biology, the next question should be Then what configures our stories?

While “Story patterns transmit, often tacitly, social rules and norms,” is it not odd that humans are “biologically prepared” with an “inborn hunger” to require those “norms”? For the secularist, these social norms are little more than useful moral codes, entirely subjective, rooted in pragmatics and survival. In other words, a particular culture’s appeal to ethics or morality is simply an appeal to its own utilitarian laws. It is unrelated to a Transcendant Law in the least. For in a materialistic universe, Transcendant Laws have no place.

But if The Hero’s Journey rightly identifies thematic elements that cut across multiple cultures — cultures seperated by geography and genetics — could it not speak to something Transcendant?

And here’s where secular and religious worldviews diverge regarding the essence of story. In Scripture, story is not simply a mechanism for social/moral inculcation. Indeed, it is that. The Jews were commanded to tell and retell the history of their lineage, the heroes (and rascals) of the faith, and the Laws of the Tribe. However, the Jewish story was part of a much bigger story. Some have described it as the Story of God. But whatever you call it, it is an epic tale that can be broken into three specific movements. Many of those movements (much like The Hero’s Journey) can be found in contemporary tales. Those movements look something like this:

  • Creation. Fall. Redemption.
  • Creation. Desecration. Recreation.
  • Generation. Degeneration. Regeneration.
  • Home. Homelessness. Homecoming.
  • Eden. The Wilderness. The Promised Land.
  • The Shire. Mordor. The Shire / Grey Havens.

Notice that the story of the Jews was just part of a much bigger story, a story about the redemption of humanity; it, like all of our lives, involves a macro-narrative (meta-narrative?) and a micro-narrative. It is a larger story made up of countless smaller stories. Or… an individual tale joined to something Grand. In fact, the very essence of the Gospel is not just the re-telling of a Story — that Christ came, died for our sins, and rose again for our justification — but it is also an invitation to become part of that Story. The evangel is one who not only shares the Story, but invites others into the Story.

And this is the huge divide between story as an evolutionary mechanism and story as a vehicle to the Transcendent.

Our individual stories, and the individual stories in any culture, take place within a much bigger story. It is a story about the history of the Universe, the Fall of Man, his Redemption, and the Culmination of human history. It’s a story that speaks to something above and outside us, a Call to Adventure, a moral battle, a transformation, and a return to the tribe with… gifts, insight, and power (The Hero’s Journey). It is a story with clear moral boundaries and consequences. It’s a story with high stakes. Not only does Scripture teach that God impregnates every human being with an awareness of the Story, placing His Law within our hearts and minds, but that God strives with us, forever wooing us to join our micro-narrative to His epic.

This is what separates men from animals. As Chesterton put it, “the more we really look at man as an animal, the less he will look like one.” We are “biologically prepared” for stories, not because they serve us like an eye or a pancreas does, but because they speak to something Transcendent. This is what makes us human. Our story is part of a much bigger Story. We look up at the stars and in it we find Something, no–Someone, looking back at us. Drawing us to Himself. And we hunger to join that narrative.

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“Wickers Bog: A Tale of Southern Gothic Horror” is Now Available for Kindle!

My novelette, Wickers Bog: A Tale of Southern Gothic Horror, is now available on Kindle for just 99 cents. I’m a huge fan of the craft of short story writing. It’s how I cut my literary teeth. After writing several novels, this year I’d hoped to take a break in order to concoct a tale […]

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5 Ways to Help Your Readers Suspend Disbelief

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Pushing the fictional envelope typically ends when reaching the brick wall of a reader’s credulity. Thing is, reader credulity varies. I have a friend who refuses to watch films like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings because “it’s not real.” He will, however, watch Tom Cruise or Bruce Willis defeat legions of bad guys, infiltrate […]

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The Ghost Box Audiobook Now Available!

Thrilled to announce that The Ghost Box, first book in my urban fantasy, paranoir series, is now available in audiobook. At the production wheel is audio dramatist and podcaster Randy Streu. (You can hear an audio sample of the production HERE.) I’m equally excited about the fact that Randy is currently producing the second in the […]

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Dr. Strange — Invitation to the Occult or Gateway to a Biblical Worldview?

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In a recent Unbelievable podcast, pastor Tim Keller debated atheist Jeremy Rodell about whether humans “make sense without God.” At one point in the show the host reads from Keller’s latest book in which the author makes the claim that “Christianity is the only truly cross-cultural religion” and that unlike Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, which largely exist […]

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The Real Horror of Lovecraft’s Cosmicism

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Cosmic horror is a growing subgenre in the ranks of horror fiction. Cosmicism is “the literary philosophy developed and used by the American writer H. P. Lovecraft in his weird fiction.” The Wikipedia definition follows: The philosophy of cosmicism states that there is no recognizable divine presence, such as a god, in the universe, and that humans […]

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Should Novelists Avoid Expressing Their Political Opinions?

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Literary agent Wendy Lawton, who’s a member of the team I’m agented by, recently cautioned authors about publicly voicing their political opinions. In a Facebook post, she wrote: Guess what? You can’t win if you discuss politics on Facebook. No matter how passionately you feel about an upcoming election it is potentially damaging to open the […]

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3 “Theologies” That Inform the Christian Novelist

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Pastor John Piper, in this podcast, proffers a brief “Theology of Art.” His conclusion is that “Christians have deeper and better foundations for serious art than anybody.” While I agree with Piper, most of the evangelical artists (musicians, novelists, poets, craftspeople, etc.) I run into do not appear to have a well-developed “Theology of Art.” For […]

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