2014 — The Year We Prove Them All Wrong! (About Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy)

If you want to write sci-fi or fantasy, but came after this guy, don't even try, because it won't be good. According to some. (Art by Tim Baron.)

If you want to write sci-fi or fantasy, but came after this guy, don’t even try, because it won’t be good. According to some. (Art by Tim Baron.)

It’s 2014. And this is the year we’re going to Prove Them All Wrong!

About what, exactly?

About Christian fiction.

And we’re going to Prove Them All Wrong . . . or . . . well, we won’t! (Yeah, I’m not going to put “or die trying.” That’s just crazy talk!)

The problem…

You see it and hear it everywhere:

People complaining about Christian music being subpar on Facebook . . . and they have the link to a Christian musician who agrees to prove it!

People complaining about how “there’s no good Christian sci-fi or fantasy . . . at least, since C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien!”

People saying “Christian art is always [insert choice of adjective here].” Adjectives to choose from are: A. cheesy or B. crappy. The people saying this, of course, are free to consult a thesaurus and use it to find a different word other than those two choices. But to be relevant, you have to agree with this and make the statement as broad as possible. Ideally, if a word that means something more all encompassing than “always” can be found, use it. You may get an extra jewel in your crown!

People complaining that Christian art preaches too much . . . or is too watered down to actually be Christian art.

And this is not coming from secular reviewers. This is coming from Christians.

My problem with that problem…

They’re wrong.

Let’s take the “there’s no good Christian sci-fi or fantasy since C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien.”

Sometimes those people will be kind enough to include, say, Chesterton or Dorothy Sayers. But never to retroactively include George MacDonald or John Bunyan. But the truth is, there has been some very fine speculative fiction to come from Christian authors. Stephen Lawhead springs immediately to mind. A few others, too, and we’ll get to them I hope as we embark on this quest.

The solution…

Prove Them All Wrong.

How? By proving that it’s all GOOD?

Of course not! I know there’s cheesy and crappy Christian art out there!

But the point is not that Bad Stuff exists.

The point is that it’s not ALL that exists.

It frustrates me to no end to hear so many Christians dismiss, broadly and automatically, any material written by Christians. Unless it’s from a friend or family member or their favorite teacher.

One day, I was listening to podcasts while performing my ministerial duties at church (I clean toilets). Three different Christian podcasts, all in my queue on the same day, unrelated to each other, each of them making off handed comments about how terrible Christian art is. These are three podcasts, by Christians who love sci-fi and fantasy. And what is the message they are giving to their listeners? It’s not worth looking, because it’s not good.

Do I understand the point they are making? Sure! As Christians we are called to do our best, especially when it is something we have consecrated in service to the Lord! So why are bad products being produced?

And that is a question we will be exploring on the podcast and on the blog. It is a valid question, but it has some nuanced answers. Far more nuanced than this off handed generalization. There is some very, very good material being produced, even today! By Christians! Thoughtful stuff! Exciting stuff! Deep stuff! Interesting stuff!

So what is the solution?

We’re not going to complain about these statements. We’re simply going to Prove Them All Wrong.

We’re going to do it by introducing Good Stuff to you. Because it’s very, very possible the generalization comes from ignorance. People who think this way may not be aware of what’s really out there!

We’re going to do it by interviewing people producing Good Stuff. Because it’s good for us to hear from people who are in the trenches, working on this stuff!

We’re going to do it by talking about how to make Good Stuff. Because  frankly, part of the problem comes from the people who are making the art that gets judged so harshly don’t get a chance to really delve into how to make their art better!

2014 is the year we’re going to prove them all wrong.

Oh, and here’s a start from 2013. Here’s some interviews of people who have created Good Stuff. These are people who, simply by creating the work they have created, have started Proving Them All Wrong. I mean, these are people who are Christians and who have produced some fantastic art, music, novels, and movies! In other words, Good Stuff!

Tim Baron — artist

Paeter Frandson — audio storyteller, musician

Heath McNease — musician

Aaron and Alan Reini — authors

Ryan Dunlap — author and filmmaker

Greg and Dallas Lammiman — filmmakers

And MORE will be coming in 2014!!!

~ Ben

 

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