Friday, August 04, 2006

My Friday Post At Speculative Faith Is Up

I'm answering the question: "What makes Christian Speculative Fiction 'Christian,' Anyway?"

It's my opinion, and I'm not God, so there's lots of room for human error.

But I pretty much just expect something that's a subset of Christian fiction to be, um, Christian; as much as I expect a subset of speculative fiction to be speculative.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but "Christian" covers a LOT of ground. I mean, I've grown up among the Hudderites, southern Baptists, MCC's new order mennonites, fundamentalists, not-so-fundamentalists, scholars etc. Most of them don't consider the rest of them Christians per se. Everyone seems to have their own definition of what a Christian is. I find it easier and personally more accurate just to say I am not a Christian, even though I agree with most of what Jesus is reported to have said and done. If Jesus were alive today, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't consider himself a Christian either. Sorry... ranting... all I wanted to say was your definition is kind of loose.


Mirtika said...

I think one of us Christians is more likely to know what Christ really said/meant. :) We're kinda chatting with him a lot.


Anonymous said...

Maybe, but which one?

Plus, it must get kind of confusing, having so many people talking to you at once and all. :)

Plus, didn't He tend to hang out and chat with non-Christians too?

Elliot said...

The simple answer is if someone believes that Jesus of Nazareth was 'the Christ,' that is, the Messiah, then they're some kinda Christian.

Anonymous said...

So, would Satan be "some kinda Christian" then?

Elliot said...

LOL! Good point. The Bible does say that 'even the demons believe, and tremble.'

Ok, how about this:

if someone believes that Jesus of Nazareth was 'the Christ,' that is, the Messiah, and seeks to serve, imitate or obey him... etc.

Mirtika said...

WE have a creed that the church has believed from day one, and any church that is truly Christian believes (even if we argue mightily about details:

The world is fallen. People are sin-bound. Everyone needs a Savior. God provided for one. He is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. If you "repent and believe" in Him as Savior and Lord (ie, who he is), your faith and his grace accomplish your salvation, after which God grants you the Holy Spirit."

I've worked in ministry with many denominations, and I was Catholic once, and the differences tend not to be on the essentials, except in what we call cults (who usually warp the identity of Christ, as predicted by the Word.)

When you hear the voice of God in your spirit, you recognize it.

If you don't have faith in him, you don't have His Spirit, and you cannot understand His Word. Period. God blinds the unbelieving.

So, the first step to really knowing who Jesus is (though certainly no guarantee, given our imperfect ways) is to come to him and bow down and say, "My God and My Savior." That's the beginning of understanding who He is and what He wants.

The rest of the arguments are for the church herself to hash out, not for outsiders.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for setting me straight on that, Mir. I was pretty familiar with the Chrisitan vernacular and lingo. Although your pronoun for the the chruch was different and interesting (and my preference too) considering its typically patriarchial orientation.

I didn't realize "outsiders" weren't allowed argument or opinion though. Especially since a lot of Christians come to my door unannounced and uninvited (e.g. JWs and Mormons) to dialogue. Which is fine. Although I can see how that would be safest and easiest for those on the "inside" to eschew outside influence. In fact this reminds me very much of the reaction I got when talking with Scientologists too, where I was soon labeled a "disruptive influence" or something for picking at their dogma and kind of shunned. I still have to point out that Jesus himself was not averse to mixing it up with "outsiders."

Also thanks for your clarification too, elliot. I think it works a lot better. "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler"--Einstein

Mirtika said...

No, I meant about the meaning of "who is a Christian". That's the church's to decide, not an outsider's.

Just like who is a Buddhist or Hindu or Jew to discuss. While you can have an opinion and I can have an opinion, it's pretty much up to them to decide what makes one of them one of them.

The people who are the club decide who's a member. :)


Anonymous said...

I guess I don’t think of Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Scientology as clubs.

I agree insofar as “members” do determine who “belongs” in the sense that it is Christians rather than Christ that have led me to decide that I am not a Christian. Otherwise, I would define “Christians” as those who strive to love their enemies as themselves. Period.

I disagree insofar as no one “in the club” is going to tell me that I am a member, when I believe I am not, or visa versa.

The reason I like elliot’s revision is because I don’t think it matters what you believe. Desperately clinging to this or that doctrine/dogma/metaphor doesn’t make you a good person, or a bad one. There are all kinds of Christians, Muslims, Scientologists, Jews, Physicists, Writers, angels, demons, etc.

I guess you can see how I managed to become persona non grata with the scientologists in like less than two hours, why my imam friend has sort of told me to go read the Koran and stop annoying him.

The Snarkster

Mirtika said...

The question isn't a good person or a bad one. The question is a redeemed person or an unredeemed one, and an unredeemed person could easily outshine a redeemed one in innate kindness or patience or mercy.

And club is used lightly and metaphorically. Christianity sees itself as a family (a very large and widespread and contentious one), because God adopts the believer. So, adoption doesn't mean I'm better than the non-adopted. It just means I am adopted and have a special relationship to the one who adopted: He is now abba. Not just God. Daddy.

Love your enemies is the ideal and a commandment, but it's not what makes a Christian a Christian. What makes a Christian a Christian is God's grace extended through faith to the one who believes. God's grace. God's redemption.

The rest is a long process of the outworking of faith, the sanctification, and that's the tricky bugger of a process where we fall down, get up and try to walk a little longer each time without falling down.

You can reject based on the fallibility of people, but either way, you will be judged, as all of us are, on the basis of either 1. did you believe in Him whom God has sent or 2. your own behavior. Grace or Law.

And no one gets out of the courtroom shiny under Law.

I suggest you who like to judge Christians judge yourself against the holiness of God. If you're wanting, then throw yourself on His mercy. That's how it all begins.

And if you think you're fine as you are, then worry not. You will be judged by a fair God. He is not stacking the deck. He will judge you based on the totality of your life, not one one incident or five. On the whole of it. And the judgement will be just.

Me, I know I will not stand in the presence of God. My sins are too numerous, my failings too many. I need the grace and mercy. I need the Savior. And so I let him stand on my behalf and say, "Her sins are all forgiven. I have paid her price."


Mirtika said...

Well, I like you, you irritating gadfly. :) Perhaps because I'm irritating as well.

Grit in the eye recognizes grit in the eye.


Anonymous said...

Right. And I like you too. I sense we have a lot in common. Opposing forces are much more alike than indifferent ones I think.

E.g. Gardner, in his "How to Become a Novelist" says that writers tend to be either very pro or very con regarding religion, but not indifferent.

I read your spec fiction posting. To me you are describing good writing. I've told many a wf beginner that vulgarity costs, so spend wisely. I really liked your response on the topic. Dang! Jeepers! Even though I KNOW you will disagree, you impress me as a writer first, and a crazy Christian lady second. :)

I think I'm beginning to understand why I never enabled comments on my "blog." I'd get even less done, if such is possible.

Mirtika said...

Go write your novel, snooks. I should be doing the same. I've got all sloth-like on it.