Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Openly Christian or Deeply Christian?

The recent popularity of The Lord of the Rings and now Narnia has spurred many conversations and articles about the “Christianity” of the books.  While neither author made their worlds and fantasies explicitly Christian, (in fact, they both openly claimed the works were not attempts at Christian apologetics), there is no denying that the authors openly and unashamedly wrote from Christian worldviews and orthodox positions.  Their theology made the worlds they created, and their worlds reflect the great themes and truths of the world the way God has created it.

The primary problem with spin-offs and much of Christian fiction today is that very little of it is as theologically informed as Middle Earth or the timeless Narnia.  A good deal of it tries to cover up this foundational shortcoming by being explicitly Christian, but even then, without a sound and robust theological base, it fails to be enduring.

After a long battle over the rights to make the Narnia movies in a way true to the books, there are Narnia spin-offs appearing.  “A Narnia Without Lewis or Aslan” deals with one such book.  From the author near the end of the article:

Since we're supposing, I suppose that what would bother Lewis (and what should bother us) is not that the book isn't "Christian," but that it isn't any good. It's flat, predictable, and utterly undistinguished. It is hard to imagine that a story this lifeless would have been published had there been no Narnia hook.

This insightful quote points to an extremely important issue with Christian worldview living-the point is not to put a Christian veneer on a normal life, but to live a deep and meaningful Christian life wherever we happen to be.  And in the case of literature, a children’s book that hopes to mimic the power of Lewis’ Narnia without the Christian worldview will fall flat, and a work that hopes to be Christian but relies only on the veneer will likely suffer the same fate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, so good, friend! Your point about the ridiculous pasting a "Christian" veneer on things is excellent--too much of that going on, sadly...