While attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference this weekend, one of my teachers, Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press, ( http://www.marcherlordpress.com/ ) said something that really struck me as a topic that begs for deeper reflection. Well, to be honest, he said about 453,000 things that beg for deeper reflection, but I'll just take a stab at one for now.
This one statement that struck me went something like this: Fantasy, as a genre, may have the greatest potential to convey a Christian message of any fiction that is being published today. Why is that? Mostly, it has to do with the fact that fantasy tends to deal with very black-and-white delineation between ultimate good and absolute evil. Where else can a writer paint a story with those "brushes", so to speak? In an age where society wants to homogonize all thoughts and theories into a cask of gray neither-here-nor-there philosophy, we, the fantasy writers and readers, still hold the ground of calling good "good" and evil "evil". Sure, our good characters will make mistakes, have flaws, and sometimes even choose to do what's wrong, for what story would be interesting if no one ever wrestled in this contest for the soul?
The fact still remains, however, that at the core of most fantasy plot threads, there is a sense of right and wrong that exists outside of what the characters tell themselves is true. In a time when relativism is the supposed wisdom of the enlightened world, I believe it is of dire importance that we fantasy enthusiasts continue to dig our trenches and state that we will not allow the tide of ambivalence overtake us. Fantasy has the power to capture the imagination, and into the hearts and minds of the reader, plant the seed that we do not ultimately decide what is good. That label has existed from the foundation of the world, and we did not ascribe it.
May we continue to offer glimpses of the divine reality that Good will ultimately overcome evil. Whatever struggles come along that way, we have that promise to lean on. And may what we read and write also depict that struggle and echo the hope of that final destiny.
I invite your comments and reflection on this as well! Post your thoughts and invite your friends to do the same.