Burning Harry at the Stake

More Christians line up to condemn Harry Potter as the devil’s business… at Christian Today (not to be confused with Christianity Today.) While they’re at it, why not blacklist Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the tales of King Arthur, and Beauty and the Beast as well? Those stories are full of spells and unsettling magic. What would their response be to this news?

Whether using dragons, firefish or sword-wielding soccer moms, writers in the emerging category of Christian fantasy fiction are clamoring for a spot in the marketplace.
Fantasy fiction in general commands a large following and copious real estate in bookstores. But while Web sites and Christian writing conferences brim with writers working on Christian fantasy, publishers mostly are just starting to open to these new books.
The books may carry overt references to Jesus and Scripture – or simply an understated Christian perspective with clean content, positive role models and unambiguous depictions of good and evil in the style of C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien. Writers and fans use the term ”Christian speculative fiction” to include fantasy, science fiction or anything otherworldly.

By the way, even though the article mentions Auralia’s Colors, my story has very little to do with “Christian fantasy.” There are no “overt references to Jesus and Scripture.” It certainly isn’t “clean content.” I’m not sure my story offers “positive role models,” and most certainly does not offer “unambiguous depictions of good and evil.” The story of Auralia’s Colors has more in common with Pan’s Labyrinth than it does with This Present Darkness.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • waspjerky

    “My story has very little to do with ‘Christian fantasy.’ There are no ‘overt references to Jesus and Scripture.’ It certainly isn‚Äôt ‘clean content.’ I‚Äôm not sure my story offers ‘positive role models,’ and most certainly does not offer ‘unambiguous depictions of good and evil.’”

    I thought you were a Christian Jeffrey. :D

  • http://obsecratio.wordpress.com/ Visigoth

    Would you be so kind as to point us to a counter argument that supports the use of sorcery or magic by a “Christ Figure” or other hero in fictional settings and worlds? I am not opposed to it myself, but I really would not know how to answer those accusations either. The scriptures, if one believes them, do seem to condemn all forms of witchcraft, necromancy, divination and sorcery.

    Also, do you think St. Paul was annoyed that the girl was practicing divination, or that others were making money from it, or both?

    Act 16:16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.
    Act 16:17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”
    Act 16:18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
    Act 16:19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.