So in my post yesterday, Science Fiction/Fantasy or In it but not Of it I talked about how things of this world are deemed corrupting or unsuitable for a Christian lifestyle and then used my own love for Science Fiction and Fantasy novels as an example concluding
everyone has a different tolerance for how deep into the world he or she can go while still remaining of the Kingdom. But no one, not a single person, will ever get into the world, if we don’t take those first tentative steps to check it out.
As the discussion progressed I found myself asking a question I hadn’t really considered. When does Christianity invade culture turn into Culture invades christianity?
The example brought up was The Book of Eli (AAAHH I NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!) and Legion (which I am not overly eager to see). Cowboy Kevin wrote
You look at some Hollywood fantasy type movies that have recently come out and the lines get real blurred. The Book of Eli was a pretty good movie and everyone knew what that Book was. It wasn’t over the top spiritually, but was just enough to know where Eli stood on matters.
Then there was Legion. This movie was wrong spiritually in so many ways, but millions flocked to see it because of the angels and the cool special effects.
Eli is an example of Christianity invading the culture. Legion is an example of culture invading Christianity. In the book of Acts, when Paul quotes the Greek poets, and points to the shrine of the unknown God, Christianity was invading the culture. In Acts 19, when the priests invoke the name of Jesus and Paul to drive out spirits, that is Culture invading christianity. When I pray and listen to worship music in my office and co-worker comes to me and says “What’s up with you? Things are falling apart here, why are you so happy?” That’s Christianity invading culture. But when someone stands on a soapbox and says to the US that the recession, the oil spill, and hurricane Katrina are all signs that God has turned His eyes from us and we must repent, that is Culture invading christianity.
Now as a person in the middle of trying to publish a book and working on a number of other projects on the side, I worry about stuff like theme, story, resonance. As a Christian doing all these things I ask myself a different question: am I in too deep? To be perfectly frank I don’t care all that much if Christians read my work, all y’all are already saved you can work out the details with the Holy Spirit. But if I go into the world to preach the gospel in a way that the world will understand, in a way that they will accept without fear or prejudice, I have to dig into the world.
I see the hand of God in my work, I see Him move the story and the characters, I see his literal manifestation, but it’s all very hidden. I have veiled references to Christianity right next to a spirit of Religion and Rationalism. I have the Spirit of God working quietly in the background while things fall apart and I know it’s there because I wrote it. But at the same time I have to ask, am I invading culture, or is it invading me?
When my main character taps into the power of the Spirit she doesn’t know what to do, people call her a witch because they don’t understand, and she turns to new age techniques (which ultimately fail). Am I invading culture, or is culture invading me?
When I reveal a cadre of vampires, werewolves, and supernatural spirits, am I invading them when the most powerful spirit is called The phoenix, or is the concept so tainted that it’s invading me?
What about any other part of my life? When I step into the world, how deep do I go? Am I suddenly surrounded and besieged without realizing it? Or am I still in deep cover? And the answer will be different for every person but the question remains the same: how far can you go into the world, and remain of the Kingdom?