On Tab: Spells, Superheroes, Smokin’

From my browser bar: Superman, sharing stories, and more.
on Apr 25, 2013 · No comments

Time to clear my browser bars of lingering articles, in exact tab order: spell spoofing, imagination destroying, heaven boring, wives smoking, man flying, evangelical-art stinking.

Spellcasting 101

poster_undesirableno1harrypotterA bit sarcastic, of course; it’s best first to engage thoughtfully with “it’s witchcraft” objections to fantasy magic. But for those who agree:

Spell Effect: Feather Fall’s purpose is to decrease the speed of a falling object –  very useful if you find yourself a sudden victim of gravity.


Results: Attempt failed.  Children traumatized; oldest daughter resorted to poking daddy with a stick to determine signs of life.  Driveway is very hard.  Ow.

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

Blogger Trevin Cairney summarizes the best-selling books’ backward advice. (Hat tip: Justin Taylor.)

4. Replace fairy tales with cliches and fads – water down stories to remove the evil and violent, look for tales that ‘flatten’ and homogenise, replace fundamental truths with cliches and ideological manifestos.

Heaven Won’t Be Boring

Randy Alcorn gets re-excerpted at Ligonier Ministries’ homepage.

If you lack a passion for heaven, I can almost guarantee it’s because you have a deficient and distorted theology of heaven (or you’re making choices that conflict with heaven’s agenda). An accurate and biblically energized view of heaven will bring a new spiritual passion to your life.

When you fix your mind on heaven and see the present in light of eternity, even little choices become tremendously important.

CaPC Perspectives: Smokin’ Hawt Wife

Christ and Pop Culture discusses the now-clichéd phrase after this piece from Christianity Today blogger Mary DeMuth.Derek Rishmawy ponders:

Trying to gain credibility, sometimes they say things to put themselves in the normal guy category so people might think, “Hey, that guy thinks his wife is attractive naked and wants to have sex with her, just like I feel about my wife. Who knew? He’s a person and stuff.” After years of hearing that pastors need to talk more openly about sex, be more personal and human, they do, and it just so happens that it comes out clumsy.

I was struck by applications to Christian fiction. Have you noticed this? Some novels do the same thing: trying to make up for real or perceived lack of Grit or Earthiness, they make heroic characters overtly Smokin’ Hawt. So readers will think the authors Normal?manofsteel_familiarpose

Man of Steel: Kingdom Come

From that title onward, a Henry Cavill (Man of Steel‘s titular lead) transcribes an Empire article exploring the summer super-film’s iconography and theological affiliations. They quote frequently from director Zach Snyder.

“In the end, Superman is Superman!” proclaims the 47 year-old director. He has the exuberance of a travelling preacher, peppering his sermons with “awesomes” or “super-cools” — the gospel according to St. Geek.

“When you talk about superhero action movies, there is Batman of course, and I think that Chris (Nolan) laid a lot of important groundwork. And there are the Marvel movies… I don’t mean it as an insult, Iron Man and Hulk are strong superheroes, but we’ve never had a superhero movie where everyone can go, ‘Yeah, I understand the why of the whole thing.’ Superman is a character who deciphers the why of superheroes.”

Man Of Steel isn’t less of a superhero movie. Snyder means for it to be the most superheroic film ever made. “What is the mythology of superheroes? ” he demands from his pulpit. “The answer is Superman. And that is awesome.”

My thought: as Christians, absolutely, let’s point to the light Source behind all superheroes’ fantastic yet dim reflections — the truth behind the false/true religion of “heroism.” But let’s do this more organically than we’ve done with popular films in the past. By this I mean: let’s not publish evangelistic tracts with Aslan or Spider-Man or Batman or even Marlin and Dory on front. Thanks.critiquingcriticsofchristianfiction

Speaking of which …

Why is Christian Art So Bad?

Some familiar themes here, but ScribblePreach.com gives a concise summary.

5. God’s ordination doesn’t eliminate human work. All artists feel ordained by God or the gods, but Christians are the worst. In the name of holy-writ inspiration, we provide ourselves a convenient excuse to refuse critique and much-needed learning of the trade; its an excuse to settle for mediocrity. If God “told” me to write; well, you haven’t any room to criticize, have you?

Sounds like a clear endorsement for determining a Biblical doctrine of Christian vocation.

E. Stephen Burnett explores fantastical stories for God’s glory as publisher of Lorehaven.com and its weekly Fantastical Truth podcast. He coauthored The Pop Culture Parent and creates other resources for fans and families, serving with his wife, Lacy, in their central Texas church. Stephen's first novel, a science-fiction adventure, launches in 2025 from Enclave Publishing.

What say you?