I’m reading a lot of stuff these days.
From UNCHRISTIAN: WHAT A NEW GENERATION THINKS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY AND WHY IT MATTERS by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons; to a semi-current issue of ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION (August 2010); to a very strange website called Purpose Drivel: Rantings on the drivel being proclaimed in the name of Christ (she has trouble with everyone’s message but her own, which I guess is the correct one); to friend blogs like The Friday Challenge and The Used Diaper Salesman; to blogs from various and sundry authors and editors and agents – in a effort to walk closer to Christ and be a part of proclaiming His Word.
My way of proclaiming is by writing and the grist (define: Grist is grain that has been separated from its chaff in preparation for grinding. It can also mean grain that has been ground at a grist mill. Its etymology derives from the verb grind. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grist) for every story is what I read, hear and experience. Writing stories about alien worlds and not only making my characters realistic, but also letting them believe in Jesus Christ as risen Lord and King has become my mission. I know – it’s crazy, but I think that there will be Christians in space, on Mars, in the clouds of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and
HOWEVER, these Christians will be the type portrayed in…hmmm…I can’t think of any books off the top of my head. Catholic priests have played important roles in science fiction – from the single priest in the haunting borderline literary/SF novel by Mary Doria Russell, THE SPARROW and James Blish’s A CASE OF CONSCIENCE and a Mormon missionary was the viewpoint character in “That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made” in the September 2010 issue of ANALOG. But I can’t think of (or GOOGLE) a single reference showing an evangelical Christian in space whose story is portrayed in a specifically secular magazine or website.
The connection for all of this hit me last night as I lay in bed, not daring to move because I didn’t want my back to explode in excruciating pain: Father Mulcahy from M*A*S*H. A Catholic priest, Father Mulcahy’s witness to Christ was unswerving and deeply committed. He did preach, he did lecture – but he also acted in a consistent, loving way in his everyday life. Though the focus of the series was on booze, cross-dressers, adulterers, liars, cheats, thieves and fornication, Father Mulcahy’s witness was always there. The only thing that never happened in the series’ eleven-year history was someone coming into a faith relationship with Christ. (Given the power of the Holy Spirit, I doubt that that would have occurred in real life, but that might be another story.)
While WE may not be sacrificially active in
Corroboration: from THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY: A SOCIOLOGIST RECONSIDERS HISTORY by Rodney Stark (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Rise-of-Christianity/Rodney-Stark/e/9780691027494) “a series of devastating plagues played an instrumental role in the seemingly miraculous growth of the early church. In AD 165, and again in AD 251, terrifying epidemics descended upon the
So – I need to continue to write Christian characters, but they need to be sacrificial Christians and have more in common with those Christians in Rome, the men in THROUGH GATES OF SPLENDOR and any other men and women who have willingly risked their lives for the sake of Christ in the past month.
Hmmm…more grist, indeed.