1. […] the big theme of our new Fantastical Truth podcast episode (new ones release every Tuesday). You can listen here, or right […]

  2. notleia, untrue Scotsman says:

    Insert joke about a story about the dangers of dancing must have been written by Baptists or Methodists.

  3. Loved the podcast. I’d like to offer a few of my thoughts after listening to this episode.

    I think the label “Christian” should be reflect the art itself, not the creator of the art. I often have no idea if the author or filmmaker is a Christian. It seems odd to me to label something “Christian” if you need extra, outside information to make that claim.

    I think the label serves us best when it reflects the CONTENT of the art. While I liked the concept of art FOR, ABOUT, LIKE, and BY, I find it easier to see everything as on a spectrum. On one side is art that has overt Christian messages and themes. On the other side is art that has hidden messages and themes. I also think the overall amount of themes and their priority in the story are factors as well.

    Examples of overt themes would be the Kendrick Brothers’ movies, Left Behind, etc. On the other side with hidden themes would be Lord of the Rings. In the middle would be Narnia. This model then encompasses all types of Christian art. Yet I would also argue that the LABEL “Christian” should be reserved for those things that are more overt in their Christian themes and messages. After all, a story that has hidden messages, in my opinion, simply falls under the normal genre. So, Lord of the Rings is simply fantasy with Christian overtones, rather than Christian fantasy.

    This view helps solve the dilemma of labeling stories like The Matrix as Christian just because it has some Christian themes and terminology. It is not a Christian movie, but a science-fiction story with Christian themes.

    And, by using a spectrum, there is lots of cross-over and gray areas. I’m not offering hard and fast rules. I’m simply finding terms and language that helps me to understand this issue. I hope this helps others as well.

    Thank you for bringing up this topic. God bless.

  4. I can be kind of a difficult person, so I identify with the avoidance of putting Christian bumper stickers on one’s car.  I don’t hide my beliefs either, but no matter how hard I try, there will be times when I have a bad day and don’t want people to blame it on God/Christianity.  I already work on myself a lot, so it’s not that I avoid fixing my issues, it’s just that self improvement’s a long and imperfect process.

    As someone that writes a lot of stories with varying degrees of Christian content, I somewhat dislike the idea of deciding things are Christian just because a Christian wrote them, or because a few of the story’s themes can be interpreted as Christian.  What I usually look for instead is a combination of content and authorial intent.  The content doesn’t have to be constant or blatant.  Some of my own stories have a cast of chars that aren’t even aware of God’s existence, but I still consider those books Christian fiction because God exists in that universe and influences it in some way, regardless of whether the chars know.  At the same time, some of my OTHER stories don’t even have God in the universe and aren’t meant to make a Christian point, so I wouldn’t want people to call them Christian or Christian fiction, just be willing to acknowledge that a Christian wrote them.

    Additionally, if an author didn’t intend for a story to be Christian, it’s important to respect the author’s intent and beliefs as much as possible.  Authors are individuals and readers should respect their voice.  At the same time, readers don’t have to agree with the author’s beliefs, and there’s nothing wrong with doing things like writing fanfiction that speculates on what could have happened if a character made a difference choice, had a different personality type, different attributes, etc.

    On the podcast’s topic, a response that’s balanced in terms of respecting both authors and readers might be ‘I know the author isn’t Christian or trying to make a Christian point, but this aspect of the story could be a good analogy for a particular Christian concept, so that will be a lesson I take away from the story, even while I acknowledge and respect that the story isn’t Christian.’

    Just for an example of why respecting authorial intent is important, I have several stories with atheists as main characters.  Heck, those stories are even Christian fiction.  They take the time to show the world from those atheists’ perspectives, and they don’t necessarily become Christians in the end.  They’re three dimensional chars that grow and change, but since they don’t become Christian or obviously prove the Christian world view, some atheists might like those books a lot.  Would it be right for those people to label those stories as atheist/atheist fiction and then get irritated/offended when I say those stories aren’t meant to promote that worldview?  No.

    In reality, I write stuff like that for the sake of realism, to illustrate different viewpoints that way people can understand them better, and because it’s fun to write from various perspectives.  I wouldn’t mind an atheist identifying with my work and treasuring it because it voices how they feel or something.  That would mean I did a good job illustrating that character’s perspective.  But I wouldn’t appreciate them mislabeling what the story is, or acting like it’s wrong for the book to have a different intent than what they’d like.

    So that’s why I kinda try not to label a story as Christian if the author clearly doesn’t believe that way or have that purpose for the book.

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  6. Autumn Grayson says:

    Having trouble posting, so this is just a test. Looks like my other post finally went through since it say it’s awaiting moderation?

  7. […] creators of Lorehaven magazine started a podcast entitled, Fantastical Truth. In their second episode, they attempt to address this question. Their discussion brought up some […]

  8. […] have a friend who co-hosts the Fantastical Truth Podcast. In their second episode, “What Do We Mean by Saying ‘It’s a Christian Story’?” they discuss ways of defining Christian fiction. I highly recommend listening to the show, […]

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