Many of you know that the reason I began writing [other than a compelling and incurable itch to do so] was because I was perusing the local Christian bookstores and could not find the sort of books I like to read amongst the choking zombie horde of Amish and romance fiction. Well, Mike Duran commented on a post by a fellow author who’d actually bothered to count the number of Amish/romance versus everything else fiction in a local bookstore. In his post, Why “Supernatural Fiction” Is Underrepresented In Christian Bookstores, Mike writes:
“Could the preponderance of romance and Amish lit be indicative of a dangerous worldview shift amongst Christian readers?
Take for instance this comment from Linda:
“My two cents worth: I love suspense more than romance. However, the suspense/thriller needs to stay Biblical with some romance thrown in. If suspense/thrillers turn paranormal, I’m out of here. And that’s where I see a fair share turning to. I want a suspense novel that teaches me some good spiritual truths, not just page turners. Cut the paranormal and get back to a Scriptural basisthat speaks to the heart.” (emphasis Mike’s)”
“So how can a Christian claim to dislike supernatural / paranormal story elements when the Bible contains so many of those elements?
“Which brings me back to my initial observation: Could the preponderance of romance and Amish lit be indicative of a dangerous worldview shift amongst Christian readers — a shift away from a biblical worldview to something sanitized, stripped of mystery, and utterly predictable?
“A biblical worldview IS a “supernatural” worldview. And Christians are called to live there. We believe in angels and devils. We believe in signs and wonders. We believe in life after the grave. We speak to God and are spoken to by Him. We believe that one day Jesus Christ will return to earth and set everything right. In short, We believe in a universe that is anything but “natural.””
That got the creationist side of me thinking. I think Mike’s hit the nail on the head here. I think we are looking at a USAmerican Christian market that prefers something down-to-earth, romanticized and inspirational. A good many of the folks in our pews don’t want the “thinking man’s fiction” as I define sci-fi specifically and all spec-fic in general. They want something warm and rosy that teaches some spiritual truth but ultimately reflects a romanticized view of reality.
Our characters cannot cuss [we can only say they cussed] or have a drinking problem [unless they’re unsaved] or do anything Jesus wouldn’t do – and not that controversial Jesus in the Bible who came eating and drinking and hanging out with sinners and prostitutes and even making weapons and driving people out of temples! No they need to act like stained-glass Sunday School Jesus, the guy who appears on our nursery walls with a flock of sheep, the bearded Caucasian fellow whose picture sits right next to the bathtub toy version of Noah’s Ark. Homogenized Christianity has finally caught up with us!
Christian rapper LaCrae has a line where he speaks of the unsaved:
“They talking breakfast; what you ‘specting from the walking dead/ You try to give ‘em life. They want that death instead.”
Talking breakfast is exactly what the USAmerican Church does best. I’m not saying their unsaved. I’m saying they prefer day-to-day trivial things over the supernatural things of God and what they consume reflects that.
I think we need to go further than Mike Duran and admit that the reason we prefer such sanitized, non-supernatural fare as historical Amish and romance novels is because the Church has begun to progressively rejected the supernatural origins account of Genesis for the all-natural account of life, the universe and everything else we were indoctrinated with in school. Our rejection of supernatural fiction is merely indicative of our rejection of the supernatural foundation of our Christian worldview and of the Gospel itself. The Naturalistic mindset has begun invading the Church – and some of us love to have it so.
Now more than ever we need what author JC Lamont calls “literary apologists.” Apologists have always given a reasoned defense of our faith to unbelievers while edifying and informing the faith of believers. Through apologetics fiction, a special branch of speculative faith that addresses matters of the faith, we can help the folks in the pews start thinking about their faith. We can help them see that a supernatural worldview does not require them to check their brains at the door. Nor does it make them flakes on par with those who live their lives by horoscopes.
We need to support these authors’ efforts and get their books into people’s hands.
Help me suggest a few good literary apologists and their works below in the comments and I’ll list them in my next post.