Saturday, June 02, 2007

Guest Blogger: the Coach talks about Magic and Godly Imagination

Busy day for me today--in addition to getting the house clean for showing and massive shopping, I've got to get more written on Magic Mensa and Mayhem. (Vern, the dragon comes up against environmentalists who are angry because he traumatized some threatened subspecies of fish.)

My friend Coach Culbertson posted this on the Lost Genre Guild and I asked to cross-post it here. Coach Culbertson is the Technical Editor of Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression and Editor-In-Chief for Coach's Midnight Diner, a genre anthology with a Christian slant coming in Summer 2007. The Diner will include Jesus Vs. Cthulhu, hardboiled detective, horror, and more. You can keep track of all of his crazy publishing adventures at

In which Coach rambles on about magic and God and speculation about
the Universe

I used to hold to some fairly radical notions on the conservative side
of the world. I used to think I had it all figured out. Somewhere
along the line, it seems that after a few strange and odd experiences,
the world became bigger than what I thought, and I realized that I had
a lot of things wrong.

One of my mentors once told me that we don't see the world as it is,
we see the world as we are. I found this to be a scary truth,
especially when I stated reading Genesis over again. Around chapter
six, there are some very interesting passages. What did mankind do to
the earth to fill it with violence? Was it technological, or perhaps

Speculation: As a race we may have known more back then than we do
now. Think about the library of Alexandria and the knowledge that must
have been lost in that great fire. Perhaps, we had greater, even
intrinsic, knowledge of the physics and metaphysics that God built in
this particular system we call Earth. And due to our fallen nature, we
misused the gift of knowledge of how to manipulate these systemic
forces like gravity, harmonics, electro-magnetism, and other naturally
occurring elements that God had given us dominion over, thus injecting
a violence and destruction on the Earth rather than using these forces
as He intended to build and create. Thus, the necessity of flooding
the earth became more and more evident (not to mention the whole
Nephilim thing)to prevent further systemic degradation and perhaps
restore and reverse some of the effects of man's efforts.

As the human genome continues to degrade over time, and the
destruction that was set loose in the garden of Eden continues to work
itself out in the system that God created, it seems to me that
practices that manipulate forces that God created without a full
knowledge of consequences and effects is a really bad idea. But
nevertheless, I find very few who dispute the validity or existence of
"magic" (whatever that may mean), else it would hardly be something to
rail against.

Of course, additional problems come about when fallen angels enter
into the mix, who are more interested in riding us around like shiny
new Buicks and then dropping us off in the scrap yard when they're
done, but if in fact the rest of the angels are here to aid us, then
perhaps at one point in time, requests of angels were perhaps a valid
way of manipulating and learning about the universe as it is. Enoch is
reported to have walked so closely with God that He taught him the
names of the angels. But then, degrading into angel worship rather
than partnership, plus probably listening to the wrong angels, humans
once again screwed up the intended order of things, and brought about
the necessity of discouraging such practices.

Like we learned in the Net boom of the 90's, just because we can do
something doesn't mean we should. But when it comes to speculative
fiction, it is just that- fiction. In the fundamentalist mindset, if
something is in print, it becomes more real, more persuasive than if
someone merely speaks words. And, as always, we fear what we do not
understand, and rail against what does not fit our view of the world.

It is up to us as consumers and readers to be able to filter out truth
from lies, to become critical thinkers, but to also be able to
exercise our imaginations in a way that may actually point backwards
or forwards to a time when things did in fact operate like they
should. God did create a marvelous universe that holds mysteries for
us to uncover and to talk about, and perhaps, eventually, to expand
upon. Who is to say that in the New Jerusalem what will be possible
again? The afterlife will not be clouds and singing all the time
(thank God). Perhaps, when the universe is renewed and there is a new
heaven and a new earth, we may zip along in Enterprise ships exploring
what He has created anew, and used harmonics and telekinesis to create
and produce life-giving structures and truly become partners with God
in creation.

But who's to say we'll need spaceships? Maybe we'll just think it and
zoom off Superman style. But I digress.

We should push forward in our cause despite the nay-sayers, to revive
the Christian imagination and to further extend the reach of Christ by
creating high quality writing that will force people to think in new
ways about life and facets of this universe He has built for us to


Anonymous said...

Here's a posting and comment exchange I saw on LiveJournal today that illustrates why we need good fiction from The Lost Genre: to kindle Hope.

1) Initial posting by "bardoftoday":

Current mood: Contemplative
Title: God abandoned America

You should listen to this.

2) Reply comment by "ringtail1592":

I listened to the message. I wasn't shocked nor surprized. It is as Pastor MacArthur had said. This nation is not under God's blessing or protection anymore. That should had been obvious on Sept. 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center fell under terrorist attack. Even years before that. We are no more the no. 1 nation in the world for anything. Yet, we act like it.

The only thing that is keeping this nation from ending up like Pompeii is those who pray and follow Christ totally. I just hope God hangs off the last wrath so that we can bring more souls to Christ before the end.

3) My comments on the above:

Note the utter hopelessness and despair running through this exchange. All is lost, It's All Over but the screaming, and the best we can hope for is "to bring more souls to Christ" before The End. Now doesn't that make you want to live to see the future? Now doesn't that turn you towards Christ and the Church?

THIS is the Christian answer to the surrounding world's curled-lip-and-ironic-quip diet of despair?

THAT is why we need good Christian genre fiction of imagination and hope. Imagination and Hope -- truly a Lost Genre.

Ken Pick
Co-author, "Mask of the Ferret"
In Infinite Space, Infinite God

Karina Fabian said...

Oh, Ken, this is a whole 'nuther blog post in itself.

I'm not sure this is so much lack of hope as it is "God is a candy Machine" syndrome. This is the belief that if you believe well enough, god will give you good things. The corollary, then is if bad things happen to you, it's because God is not longer "with" you.

Most people would think this is ridiculous on a personal scale--if a child is killed by a drunk driver, do we blame the drunk driver or do we say it's becaus the parents didn't pray enough? However, people don't seem to see the silliness of the argument when applied to a national level.

Anyhow, I'll have to blog on it now.

And Ken, I know you and I are thinking of the same book that expresses the above attitude...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, when the universe is renewed and there is a new
heaven and a new earth, we may zip along in Enterprise ships exploring
what He has created anew, and used harmonics and telekinesis to create
and produce life-giving structures and truly become partners with God
in creation.

And maybe the critters of our imagination will finally be given Reality. (Maybe that's what "resurrection" means for imaginary critters like dragons, unicorns, Thalendri, and Skiltare...)