Quite simply, because I want to tell the truth in every way I can. To reach a generation that longs for stories, you must tell a good story. However imperfectly, I want to mimic the brilliance of Jesus…who told stories. In fact, he seemed to always have a story to tell in service of the Truth. My ambition is to do no less, for fiction is as much a vehicle for truth as non-fiction. One speaks primarily to the heart, the other to the head.
Consider: every story a person tells reveals something about them, right? You don’t have to be a creative person—a writer or artist—for this statement to be true. The guy who loves the Red Sox with all his heart will inevitably talk about them a lot. He’ll rehash the latest sports column gossip, discuss the new young rookie, or review endless stats, including that double error in the fourth that cost them last night’s game. These things aren’t random or arbitrary. They tell us something about that man: what inspires him, how he spends his money, and probably what he enjoys doing on the weekends.
So as a disciple and father (with seven sons and one daughter), what do my stories reveal about me? First, these books were my rescue attempt for my sons after losing their mother. They tell our story of loss and faith, how our new family emerged, and the process of forming champions in the struggle of good against evil.
Interestingly, I don’t feel the need to write a Christian fantasy in the way some people might approach that term. If I want to achieve my ultimate end in a way that exposes readers to divine light, my goal as a writer can’t be to get them saved, but to tell the truth, a quality of God I must trust to flow rather naturally through me because I’m filled with His spirit. Fiction is the perfect vehicle for this, except when it becomes propaganda. The rub is that Christian fiction is often the most falsely told. Francis Schaeffer said, “I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.” Why do we do this? (more below…)
Falsehood occurs when a Christian author seeks to artificially impose a Message on every chapter, rather than simply revealing what is Real. Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings cycle resonated deeply with both believers and unbelievers because it emerged from completeness of perspective rather than narrowness of focus. The question of Jesus as Savior and Lord was not the point of Frodo’s journey. Hardly! Rather, the curse of the One Ring and the threat of Sauron’s dominion was the point. Yet, how many books have been written gleaning Biblical insight from this epic tale? How Christ-like was Frodo’s sacrificial role. His resistance to the temptations of power? How many seeds of the kingdom of God have been planted through millions of books sold and movies watched? The attractiveness and value of a story that is true to itself cannot be overestimated. It does not ring hollow in the reader’s ears. By contrast, prostituting a story doesn’t make people want to read it, it turns them off.
Christian readers should insist on authentic storytelling as ultimately preferable to evangelistic storytelling. I don’t drink milk from a Christian cow, I don’t buy gas from a Christian oil company, I don’t demand that the waitress who serves me at Applebees come to Jesus before she gives me my food. While there is obvious sincerity and good intention behind this approach, it ultimately substitutes creeds for truth, and appearance for authenticity. This is a mistake. The Gospel has already been told. It is complete. Nothing can be added to the canon, nor should it. So we must look elsewhere. What new stories remain for the sake of this same, timeless truth?
And remember, God didn’t consider it less than “Christian” to portray the raw, unvarnished story of humanity in Scripture. The most sacred, divinely inspired book in history contains murder, adultery, lying, deception, sorcery, betrayal and idolatry. In fact, the Bible is the most darkly honest book ever written. And precisely for that reason, the splitting brilliance of Christ shines through even clearer and cleaner. Every page of Scripture points to Jesus because every page of Scripture is true, not because every page specifically names Him. Ultimately, if a story is to serve Truth, it cannot employ false means.
Welcome to The Legends of Karac Tor. Check it out at Amazon.