Tomorrow, new Lorehaven writer Josiah DeGraaf explores how Din Djarin of The Mandalorian is actually a religious fundamentalist, and why that’s awesome.
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since. He loves writing novels that explore what it means to make the right choices in difficult (and fantastic!) situations. In addition to writing at Lorehaven, he also serves as the editor-in-chief of Story Embers and publishes short stories on his website.
1. Josiah, how did you first discover biblical faith and fantastic stories?
I’m blessed to be able to say that I don’t remember a time when I haven’t known Christ as my Lord and Savior. My parents first introduced me to the vibrant fantasies of George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis when I was quite young, and I grew up on a regular diet of fantasy novels by J. R. R. Tolkien, Brian Jacques, Bryan Davis, Wayne Thomas Batson, and Stephen Lawhead.
I’ve always been attracted to the heroism that is most vividly shown in fantasy where heroes resolve to do the right thing despite the odds just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the Captain Americas of the world who stick their shield in the ground, plant themselves fast, and say to the world “No, you move” that have always made fantastical stories stand out the most to me. When you can match vibrant worldbuilding and characters with thematic moments of awesomeness, you have a story that’s bound to grip me.
2. What stories are you enjoying presently, non-fiction, and fiction?
Over the holidays I enjoyed reading a variety of different works including Rhythm of War, Brandon Sanderson’s door-stopping fourth book in the Stormlight Archive; How to Be Unlucky, a perspective-altering book by Joshua Gibbs; Booker T. Washington’s classic autobiography Up From Slavery; and Steven James’ pulse-pounding conclusion to the Bowers Files, Checkmate.
My immediate reading list includes Death’s End by Cixin Liu, The Night Trilogy by Elie Wiesel, and The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe.
3. What are your fantastic goals for the future?
As a classic Presbyterian, the first answer that comes to mind is simply to glorify God and enjoy him forever. More specifically, however, I’ve sought to center a lot of my life around doing so through stories. Whether I’m guiding high school students through great works of literature at my day job, exploring what it means to act virtuously even in dark situations through my storytelling, or unpacking the truths we can find in fantastic stories here at Lorehaven, I love finding meaning through the tales we enjoy.
It isn’t a coincidence that when God chose to give us a collection of books showing us who he is, he did so most frequently through stories—true stories, but ones that showed his character and his truth in vivid ways unique to the genre of narrative.
Stories aren’t simply delightfully entertaining (though they are that!). They also have the possibility to be deeply meaningful.
Those are the stories I want to spend my life writing, discussing, and unpacking.
Look for Josiah DeGraaf’s first article, “The Mandalorian is a Religious Fundamentalist, and Here’s Why That’s Awesome,” this Thursday, Feb. 11 at Lorehaven.com.