Monday, February 08, 2010

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Amateur Theologians

First, I looked at my blog and realized that I haven't posted anything since the Wednesday after the second Sunday in Advent. What a schlub! I could blame it on the rush of Christmas, the death of my grandfather, my vacation, the computer travails that continue to plague me... but I won't. (Or DID I do just that?!?! hmmm.... ;) )

Anyway, today thanks to SFSignal, I listened to an interesting podcast interview at The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy over at The hosts,John Joseph Adams and David Barr Kirtley, were talking with Cherie Priest. They were really ranging all over the place. But there was a good deal of discussion, not just of zombies and steam punk, but of religion. Cherie Priest, raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, which she describes, admittedly exaggerated, as an "eschatological cult." What was interesting to listen to was her own journey through the parochial world of Christian schools, and then the Goth sub-culture, and her own coming to peace with religion. Clearly religion has had a profound influence on her, both positively and negatively. Clearly she has wrestled with the institutional aspect of Christianity, and the nature of certainty in the beliefs we each hold to be sacred.

She recounted the conversation she had with both her mother and father on "How do we know that what we believe is true in opposition to all others?" The two responses were very different but typical. Her mother's response was "Because the Bible says so..." Her father's was "Well, we don't." I don't find it a surprise at all then that Cherie Priest (I find the last name highly ironic) ends up writing science fiction and fantasy of a dark morbid type. What better venue to wrestle with the questions of our time by placing them in a foreign context and shining a light on them so that here and now we might find some clarity. It is not all that different from writing apocalyptic literature to criticize a current regime. Dark foreboding images and secret codes and a literal battle between light and darkness... everything set in a strange land so everyone is kept off-guard and thus perhaps open to hear criticism aimed at them.

A fascinating interview whether one agress with her or not... I am however left with the question? How shall one reframe the gospel for such a person? Not change the content, but reframe the discussion to begin to address the questions people such as Cherie, highly educated, deeply skeptical, will raise? And how do we include them in the conversation so that the church might hear what is needed to be heard from voices such as these?

I found this interview incredibly provocative.

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