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Robbing Ourselves Of Our Future

As an evangelical Christian, the second return of Christ is part of my worldview. However, in the Apostles Creed there are a number of other doctrines that are just as important so I do not emphasize eschatology over all other doctrines that compose the foundation on which my life is built.

I have no set theology when it comes the second return of Christ other that I know it is imminent and it will be physical. Unlike some rleigious pundits, I make no claim that I have special knowledge of when that will be. I recognize that there is a unique tension that Christians must live in: that Christ can return while you are reading this entry, but just as well is the reality he may not return for 1000 years.

Having been raised in an atmosphere that emphasized the imminent return of Christ over every other aspect of Christianity I have been burned out on all the Rapture fiction and fear mongering dystopia stories out there that tell me that neither I nor my children, nor my children's children, have any future at all.

It is, I am told, all going to burn.

Sadly, Christian fiction has bought into this worldview and if you want to read anything concerning the future the vast majority of Christian fiction centers only on the imminent return of Christ and how bad the situation is going to be before that occurs. Though I am not condemning any genre, it appears that most genre fiction in the Christian market today, if it is not dwelling on the second coming of Christ, is set in a fantasy world.

I reiterate, I'm not condemning fantasy as it is the genre I most write in.

Ready for another shock? It's not just Christians. Go to your local library or bookstore and look in the SF/F section and you'll discover that there is very little literature that proclaims any type of future for humanity that is not a dystopia or is simply just downright secular apocalyptic literature. Again, the majority of work in this area is fantasy.

I'm not going to argue that literature creates the future. I believe that literature mirrors the psychological element of the culture it is written in. If that is the case, it's easy to see people believe there's not much hope for the future in this world whether we be Christians or no.

The entire situation has given rise to a question. Are we robbing ourselves of our future? Back in the 1960s it was beaten into me that the world might have 20 years left before the second coming of Christ. The fact that it's Anno Domine 2011 has demonstrated how accurate that prophecy was.

May I challenge the readers of this blog who are Christian and write genre fiction to consider giving this sinful world a little more time before the lights are turned out for good?

Currently, my writing partner, Ken Pick, and I had a futuristic science fiction novel being considered by an agent. In a rough sense it could be called Christian science fiction, only because one of the characters is a Roman Catholic priest, we do discuss religious themes, and we happen to be Christians ourselves and our worldview is going to sneak into anything we write. However, I can assure you that no Christian publishing agency would ever touch this work. There are no altar calls, no spiritual decisions made, and theology is not actually discussed at any length.

Nonetheless, we give the universe a future. And I submit to you, that we have given the reader a future that they truly might want to live in (and if, along for the ride they wish to entertain our worldview, that is simply icing on the cake).

My encouragement to the Christian writers who read this blog is to make an assumption that this world will continue to turn for a few more hundred years. In reality, it may not. The second coming of Christ after all is considered imminent. Yet, I want to transcend the writings of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and others and I submit this viewpoint to you:

When, not if, Christ returns let Him be interrupting our work and find us doing nothing and sitting on some hill waiting for him. That is not what we have been called to do.

Now let's get some writing done today.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 24th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
I frequently refer to that as "rapturitis". We, as Christians, actually do a disservice to the unsaved when we get too wrapped up in watching the skys.
Sep. 25th, 2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
Just about all I can say about future fiction/SF of any sort is that I avoid it mainly because I don't know enough about the sciences to make it sound and feel real. I do know something about history, archaeology, and similar soft sciences, and those tend to work much better in fantasy than in SF.
Sep. 25th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
I have noticed this as well, besides Star Trek, it seems to be the fear of the unknown future that crowds the writing world. I also take a different point of view on this: humanity having God written on our psyche, it shows up in many ways through out our writing and things. I do think you have hit on something though when it comes to writing about the future. I hope the story the two of you have crafted gets published, we need more hope in the writing world.
Sep. 26th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
I'm reading a series of Christian SF novels that are set 1,000's of years in the future. The series is called the "Lamb Among the Stars". In it, the Second Coming has not yet occured, but there was a world-wide revival called "The Great Intervention", which allowed the world to unite and through God's wisdom to advance technologically and socially, and to finally travel to the stars. It's almost like a Christian Star Trek with a Christian-based utopia. Interesting read, but the novels are rather long and bulky.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )