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152. How Can Christian Fantasy Fans Heal from Church Trauma? | with Marian Jacobs and L. G. McCary

Fantastical foes may smuggle false religions into some novels, but these may look like heroes to readers who suffer real harm in God’s house.
Fantastical Truth on Mar 7, 2023 · Series: · 2 comments

The time has come to explore the wild lands. From legalism to worse attacks on God’s image in us, many Christian fantastical fiction fans have suffered what can only be described as church trauma. How can we show Christ’s love to these enemies while more importantly healing from these attacks that may come from relatives, the church back home, or other bullies who might slander us because of our faith or even because of the fantastical stories we enjoy? Today we begin our new four-part series: Fantastical Foes.

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Reintroducing author Marian Jacobs

Marian Jacobs writes about Jesus, monsters, and spaceships. Her work has featured at Desiring God as well as Stage and Story, and she has written many articles for Lorehaven.

L. G. McCaryReintroducing author L. G. McCary

L. G. McCary, author of That Pale Host, writes supernatural and dark science fiction on many diverse topics. She has written articles and coordinates social media for Lorehaven.

Concession stand

  • This topic may seem really general, but applies to Christian fantasy fans.
  • Many fantasy fans have unique tastes or see the world in unique ways.
  • Fantastical stories can also provide a sense of escape from real pain.
  • We want to share empathy, but also warn against some real hazards.
  • Episode 112 explores fiction examples about loving/fighting enemies.
  • Episode 120 explore how Christians enjoy biblical freedom in fiction.
  • This whole episode is like a concession stand before more of this series.
  • In our Fantastical Foes series, we explore top threats to Christian fantasy:
  1. Deconstructionism
  2. Sentimentalism
  3. Sexualityism

1. What do we mean by church trauma?

2. When might we respond in harmful ways?

3. How can we respond in healing ways?

Mission update

Com station

J. J. Griffing remarked on that War in Heaven review:

Along with “There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it,” (Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis) and “The building was on fire, but it wasn’t my fault,” (Summer Knight, I think, by Jim Butcher), Charles Williams’ opening line in War in Heaven is among literature’s best.

“The telephone was ringing frantically, but nobody was there to answer it but the corpse.” Or something like that. Sure beats “It is a truth universally acknowledged, …” by Jane Austin (P&P) or Lewis’ own “Marriage was ordained, thirdly, …” in [That Hideous Strength].

Next on Fantastical Truth

If a church or group of Christians hurt you, that is part of your origin story. True heroes, on their journey to victory, often face many temptations to the dark side. One of those temptations is to a fantastical foe we’re calling deconstructionism. Everyone needs to test your faith. And if the church back home had rotten construction, you may need some remodeling. How can we do this, showing sympathy to ourselves and other victims who need to tear out bad structures, while refusing to let professional demolition crews destroy the gospel? Let’s explore a first Fantastical Foe: deconstructionism.

Fantastical Truth
Fantastical Truth

Lorehaven explores fantastical stories for God's glory: fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond.

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    In the Fantastical Truth podcast from Lorehaven, hosts E. Stephen Burnett and Zackary Russell explore fantastical stories for God's glory and apply their wonders to the real world Jesus calls us to serve.
    1. Keith Osmun says:

      I’ve read Jesus and John Wayne and I believe Michael is entirely incorrect on his assessment about the book and deconstructionism in general.
      There are no professional deconstructors. There’s no leftist agenda in Dr. DeMuse book, unless the message that “power and influence corrupt and having super megachurch pastors be held up as leaders in evangelical circles was a terrible idea” doesn’t translate for you.

      I thought this was a podcast about storytellers, not a political punditry soapbox.

      In my opinion, Mr, Young was not a subject expert at all, but a political hack. Please don’t invite him back.

      • Hallo again, Keith. You’ve been making the rounds lately with this highly specific criticism—Facebook, Twitter, and now here. (But posted to the wrong episode; you refer to episode 153.) Was that you I caught in the Lorehaven Studios yesterday, hastily scribbling another criticism on a Post-It note? 😉 I kid, but seriously, we thank you for listening and for sharing the episode, criticism and all. That’s healthy stuff.

        However, I believe your highly specific criticism (that our guest was “political” and that he wrongly criticized Du Mez’s work) is disproportionate to the episode’s actual content. One would think we did a whole takedown of Jesus and John Wayne. Rather, our guest hardly mentioned this, or his negative review of that book.

        We’ve already engaged your criticism elsewhere. It’s perfectly fair for you to criticize the podcast because it’s public content—just like it’s perfectly fair for Young or anyone else to disagree publicly with the Du Mez book. But let me add a few other remarks:

        (1) “I disagree” is not a substantive rebuttal. Young has documented the origins or postmodernism, its philosophical milieu, and deconstructionism, its newest application. Moreover, I’ve read several negative reviews of Du Mez’s book, from Young and many others, and seen no response other than social media blocking and false accusations of bad motives (which strike me as uniquely cultural-fundie separatist methods).

        (2) “There are no professional deconstructors” is dramatic overstatement. This line attempts to prove too much, and so it’s easily dismissed. If someone is trying to be an influencer, write books, appear on podcasts, or even (in the case of Joshua Harris) try to sell a whole package for aspiring “deconstructors,” that’s an attempt to go pro.

        (3) So is “there’s no leftist agenda in Dr. DeMuse [sic] book.” This argument attempts to prove too much. Notwithstanding the fact that we barely even mentioned that particular book, I’d ask these questions: What would a “leftist agenda” in a book look like? Would you disagree with a “leftist agenda” if you found it? Did you notice we weren’t speaking mainly about political labels like “right” and “left,” but about truth foundations—the Logos of the gospel versus the “everything is all about words and power” of postmodern deconstructionism? Then we mostly talked about superheroes?

        (4) If “power and influence corrupt” (always?) then everyone is vulnerable to this charge. Our podcast has some influence, so we’re corrupted. Your comment is an attempt to influence, so you’re corrupted too. Du Mez or any other author who attempts to identify this problem and gain influence to persuade other readers, is also corrupted. This will not do. Sin does not permanently infect God’s gift of power and influence any more than sin can permanently infect God’s gifts of imagination and empathy. I must dismiss this “power always corrupts” line as a nonsense argument. I think there’s real hurt behind it, but this hurt should lead to healing and better thinking.

        (5) Over on Twitter, my cohost Zack has explained why we invited Young to the show and how his input absolutely serves our purpose. That’s also clear from the discussion itself. From here, it seems his very existence as a critic of one favorite author was enough for you to disqualify him. I can’t view this as a valid criticism. But (as I mentioned on FB), we’d welcome any substantive engagement with his views.

        Finally, might I ask as graciously as possible whether you’ve not overcorrected from one kind of harmful hero worship (of other evangelical leaders) to another kind? It’s not healthy to have such high regard for any author or spiritual influencer. For my part, I learn from and respect many Christian teachers, but share public disagreements (however minor) with every one of them. If you don’t have such disagreements, or find yourself wanting to defend one person from the slightest hint of public criticism, that should set off your alarm bells. You’re doomed for another round of disappointments! The only Leader who will never disappoint you is Jesus Christ Himself. I would urge you to follow only Him as intensely as you here defend any flawed human influencer.

    What say you?