Thursday, April 26, 2012

This week's column

Ironically, sometimes faith and a love of science fiction can go hand and hand.
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, two giants of literature and faith, express their faith well in the form of fiction.
Lewis is a noted apologist for the Christian faith and author of one of the most loved fantasy book series of all time, “The Chronicles of Narnia.” The series has fans outside of Christianity but Lewis’ faith is evident as Aslan the lion takes on the sin of Edward by dying in his place to spare him, coming to life again because the evil of the queen cannot defeat him.
J.R.R. Tolkien has another widely read series now famous in film, “The Lord of the Rings.” Tolkien and Lewis were friends and while Tolkien’s Christian themes are not as obvious as he critiqued Lewis’ to be, they are still there. His letters and other writings explain how his faith is embedded into the series.
The two authors began this journey of writing epic adventures in discussions of what they liked to read, fairy stories as they called them. They felt a void in the literature of their time and decided to take it upon themselves to write something they’d like to read.
Then faith kicked in. They were both enthralled with the stories in the Bible, which they both held to be true and the core of their lives. They wanted to create modern imaginative stories that had Christian themes embedded in them that may spark an interest in the Bible for someone.
What they created were two of the most imaginative and creative works of our time. Many who attend Comic Con dressed as hobbits might miss the author’s point. But readers like me, who see all the themes and allegories to faith, get excited.
The sci-fi genre explores the height of imagination. I believe if God created those crazy fish on the bottom of the ocean that light up in funky colors, he has an amazing and perfect imagination.
Admittedly, much of the realm of science fiction drifts away from faith. But the crazy thing is even some of the other sci-fi works are all seeking some sort of higher power or truth. Often they find these things in something alien or a mystical force, but they are always left searching.
In writings by Christians in this genre, the search ends with God and no further searching is necessary. They are stories of sacrifice, conviction and triumph.
If you’ve read many of my columns you may have already guessed I’m a Christian — a Bible-believing, church-going, theology-loving Christian.
Now, as a follower of Jesus, I am also a major fan of the science fiction and fantasy genre.
I’m a fan of “Star Wars,” LOTR, comic book movies and much of the sci-fi genre. In a strange way, the creative adventure of exploring a large and vast universe beyond myself always points me back to God.
Just like with Lewis and Tolkien, the creative journey gives me a fanciful allegory pointing toward the truth of God.
While writing a bit of Christian sci-fi on the side, I will never profess to be as good as the genius of Lewis and Tolkien, but I understand how their writings profess and strengthen their faith. Sometimes their works even bring me to tears.
So, I’m a nerd. And as a nerd I enjoy expressing my faith through writings about such things. If my book is ever published, it will reveal the main character coming to a faith in Christ while wheedling a sword and leading a band of secret warriors who fight evil beings in the dark nights in the streets of London. That all makes since in my head, hopefully it will in print as well.
Walk through the wardrobe or take a step into Middle Earth and see if you can find the message two giants of literature tried to express through their writings. If you haven’t noticed it before, you might be surprised.