Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BROKEN ANGEL - Day 2, CSFF Blog Tour

Okay. Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour, Day Two. Many pages later than Day One. How's the story now?

Still pretty good.

The title and the first chapter give away the biggest secret, so I'm not reading to find out what that is.What keeps the suspense heightened is the chase itself, all the people running across the countryside, either trying to catch one girl or trying to protect her from the guys who are trying to catch her.

Got it?

But it's not all fun and games, as some of you who read my previous post might know. There are some issues author Sigmund Brouwer brings up that not just scary futuristic possibilities, but are current to our time.

Rebecca Luella Miller wrote this:

This is a story non-Christians could also enjoy, but I think someone who does not have faith in Christ might come to some erroneous conclusions about Christianity and the Church.

I commented:

Truth / fact may be clear, but one’s interpretation of the facts may be skewed. Doesn’t mean the truth shouldn’t be told or confronted. Sticky subject.

In this case, the truth we are discussing concerns issues inside the Church that are not so pleasant to admit exist: selfishness, greed, lust for power and control, and more.

Some reviewers see the book as a slam on the Catholic church, others as a thin veil for the author's Protestant Evangelical opinions (but any fiction author who claims to not present his views in some fashion in his work is lying).

What I see is a piece of fiction that turns a spotlight on the Church--as she has been, as she is now, as she may become in the future--and this doesn't make everyone happy. It's putting dirty laundry out for the world to see, and it ain't comfortable.

Tomorrow, I intend to dwell less on the church-y issues, and more on the story itself, and the writing, because--hopefully--I will have finished reading the book.

For other views, visit the following blogs:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Mark Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Sean Slagle
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams


sbrouwer said...

Hello Keanan,

I agree that ' any fiction author who claims to not present his views in some fashion in his work is lying'.

As for a 'thin veil for the author's Protestant Evangelical opinions', I'd be happy if the veil was completely transperant.

Although my primary concern was to tell a story, I also wanted to explore the idea that there are dangers to mixing faith with politics. If the idea is wrong, so be it, but given the power that the evangelical voting bloc has accrued in the previous few presidential elections, I think at the least we should step back and examine it.

While Jesus was politically astute, he was more concerned with transforming individuals than legislation. He declined the chance to become a powerful political figure and instead chose the suffering of the cross.

I'd also like to suggest that when people of faith give authority to a leader, as they did when the Israelites requested a king, or when the early church elected a pope, that this authority can also lead to danger. Because with authority comes power, and to retain power means maintaining control. We see that the Old Testament kings soon became more concerned about power than serving God, and the disasters that followed. Same with the religious leaders in the temple in the time of Jesus. Same with the Catholic Church and worldly popes, whose abuse of authority led Martin Luther to begin a reformation; as an example, in efforts to maintain control, the church leaders of the early 1500s banned English translations of the Bible, and burned William Tyndale for ignoring the ban, because they did not want laypeople to be able to read the Bible for themselves. (Naturally, I picked up on this for Broken Angel.)

Given this, I wonder where American politics might be in a generation or two, as evangelicals discover the power of bloc voting and continue to give authority to a select few leaders to represent them. The innocence and good intentions of the last decade may well disintegrate to a control grab by unscrupulous leaders.

Having said that, I'm not suggesting that people of faith bow out of politics. Only that we play our part as thinking individuals, and that in a democracy, any cause we begin should be one of such merit that it will have universal appeal, without a Christian banner to justify it.

While Broken Angel is a harsh look at the worst of mixing politics and faith,
I'm in the middle of the sequel to Broken Angel, following Caitlyn's story in the outside world.

Broken Angel explores what happens when politics and faith are intertwined in an unhealthy and extremist way, the sequel is exploring the opposite world, where Darwinian politics reign supreme. With that worldview, one without the laws of a God of love, the void is filled by the law of the jungle, where the weak or elderly, for example, serve no purpose.

In the end, however, story has to come first. Without story, then the opinions and ideas should be examined in a non-fiction book.

thanks for bloggin about BA!


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Wow, how cool is this--dialoguing with the author on these subjects. I wish I had my post up already!


John said...

I agree with your observations on the politics of this book. I went into that as well since it's the thing that will make Christians readers uncomfortable.


Sigmund - Thanks for stopping by, and for leaving such a well-thought-out response.

The debate of faith vs. politics (or faith hand-in-hand with politics) has been around forever, and will not go away until there is no reason for it to exist i.e. the end of Earth as we know it.

What makes religion-oriented governments so scary is the human element; somewhere along the line, Man tries to usurp God's place, and then freedom / free will is set aside in lieu of control by flawed people who may think they are doing His will--or who see religion as a good con, posing as true believers while grabbing as much power and money as they can.

You mentioned Jesus being politically astute, but concerned more about people than about legislation. I thought of people God placed into positions of influence in the past--Esther, Mordecai, David, and others--people who did not seek to be in power, but were exactly the people for the job. Yet not every one of those people escaped the corruption that beckons when one has power i.e. David's taking of Bathsheba, because he was king, and he could.

There will always be people who seek power, and will use whatever means necessary to get it, even twisting faith into a blasphemous tool.

But I still think my faith very much has a place in my political choices. I do not pigeon-hole my work beliefs separately from my personal beliefs, or keep a social mask painted a different color from a church mask. There is no need for such changes. If my faith does not affect every area of my life, do I truly believe?

I think it's great that you have been motivated as an author to present such a sticky topic, presenting it in the form of fiction much as a parent might wrap a nasty-tasting pill inside honey: the child readily accepts the medication, and now it can do its work.

Fiction is a fabric of lies that can often present the truth more boldly than an outright statement of fact.

Keep writing it!