This year we’re seeing a lot of new energy around the idea that Christians and church-curious people (who are not always Christians!) need new stories that are not infected by false religion. Meanwhile, Christian-made fantasy fans, including Lorehaven, are finding new growth of interest in these kinds of stories. Could this lead to a “golden age” of Christian-made fantastical fiction? How would we even recognize such a thing? In this episode, Zack and I will explore these speculations, probably with some different perspectives.
1. Zack, the optimist: Could a Christian fantasy ‘golden age’ draw nigh?
- Zack recognizes that supply might exceed demand for Christian-made fantasy.
- Still, more people are clamoring for these unique kinds of novels.
- Overall demand for general-market fantasy seems to have increased.
- But some feel general-market fantasy is being tainted by false religious agendas.
- That’s why many people are looking for Christian or at least “wholesome” alternatives.
- Several of Zack’s pastors are big fantasy fans, and have read some Christian-made titles.
- Many articles on sites like The Gospel Coalition are encouraging biblical thinking about fiction.
2. Stephen, the pessimist: Aren’t we too early to expect a ‘golden age’?
- Many authors and few readers is no reason to get too excited just yet.
- Stephen has been circling this issue since the mid-2000s and seen sure yet slow progress.
- Supply exceeding demand leads to inferior products and falling value.
- Even Frank E. Peretti in his heyday, and the Left Behind series, was no “golden age.”
- Today, some Christians authors are sticking with pretty basic genres/themes.
- Christians haven’t even come to shared agreement of what fiction is for.
3. Shared hopes: What would a Christian-fantastical ‘golden age’ look like?
- Stephen suggests Christians would agree more about the purpose of fiction.
- They would be more like our shared agreement about the purpose of music.
- That is, more of us know music is no mere Evangelism Tool, but worship of Christ.
- We would have more intra-Church success, basically ignoring “the world.”
- That is, we’d think more like niche comic-book shops, not big-box bookstores.
- We would see more popular variety, not just (frankly) female-friendly fantasy.
- Authors would not write as self-healing or evangelism, but out of “surplus.”
- Publishers would tap into cultivated markets beyond eager author-types.
- Zack suggests the animated Wingfeather Saga series will help make some changes.
- Fan reactions to The Rings of Power may also force Christian fans to seek elsewhere.
Emory Alexander commented on our episode 109 about “story pastors”:
I am the pastor of a small church, and I have written several short stories. I recently began to consider how I could incorporate stories into my sermons. As preachers we often use illustrations, which are usually true stories, however I believe a “modern parable,” could be helpful as well.
Guest creator H. L. Burke fetched some feedback for last week’s article:
Love this article! Very well-stated with excellent examples. Thanks for sharing this and for sharing some wonderful Found Families with us in your books.
Next on Fantastical Truth
Because one of us (Stephen) is out of town at Teach Them Diligently in Pigeon Forge, we will feature a multiple-choice presentation! This could include (1) any interviews with readers and/or authors he’s able to fetch on-site, and/or (2) any recording from his presentation called “Why Do Your Kids Need Fantastical Stories for God’s Glory?” about the biblical and practical reasons families truly need fantasy, sci-fi, and other stories that offer many idols yet also graces.
Explore the best Christian-made fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond, and apply these stories' meanings in the real world Jesus calls us to serve.