Ever since I sat under Bryan O’Neal’s tutelage and learned about the meta narrative, I have felt a tug towards writing a novel. Has any of this changed since he received his PhD from Purdue (http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/dissertations/AAI3444734/)? Have I given up on any sort of creative juice? Am I a boring theologian now?
Maybe. Probably. And Most assuredly.
Here is the thing, I am not entirely comfortable with the label of theologian. Well, that’s not entirely true. I guess I do not like the idea of being just as theologian. But this is mostly an argument of semantics. Everyone is a theologian; everyone is also a philosopher. The real issue comes when it is obvious that not everyone is a good theologian (or philosopher… as Twitter and Facebook quickly show us). So, for me to be labeled just a theologian puts me in the same realm as dusty bags of bones and rambling fools. Whether or not this is how it ought to be, I am afraid this is the idea most people envision when they think of theologians. But I digress.
During my time at Moody I deeply fell in love with how theology has a flow and rhythm. Worldviews flow from theology, and there are definite consistencies and inconsistencies in every person’s life. The beauty comes when God meets people where they are, gives them the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), and then leaves these adopted children (Rom. 8:15) on earth to perform good deeds (Eph. 2:10) and be redeeming agents inside of the culture (Eph 5:1-2). Now, as a seminary student at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, my passion for this redemptive story has been rekindled.
God has always met humanity in a very tangible, real, and contextualized fashion. From walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to the Incarnation, God has met his creation on very humble terms. The story of humanity, with creation, fall, redemption, and the awaited restoration is a beautifully crafted arc. This arc is also replicated inside the lives of each believer.
That exciting summary is what I want to turn into a novel. I want to turn it into a novel because, quite simply, most of you did not find that synopsis any more exciting than the weather channel.
The title that has stuck in my head is “A Prophet Among the Voices.” With a title like that, it seems to lend more towards a fantasy novel rather than a story about you or me in our life today. Interestingly enough, I think it actually shows that your life, or my life, is more of a science fiction or fantasy novel than we care to admit. We are bombarded with so many worldviews each day. Think of how many articles, books, or blogs you were recommended to you in the past month. Or how many Youtube videos, tv shows, or movies you were told to watch. Need I continue?
What I want to do is to personify each worldview and belief. I want to personify them in the manner that Paul does in Romans 8, or Colossians 1, or Ephesians 6. The modern worldview that there are no angels or demons is far from how the world was viewed for almost all of history. In my book, I want to return to this notion that we are influenced and affected by another realm as we interact with daily life.
Is this done by writing a novel about an unsaved person interacting with all the voices in a modern day city? Or does this best play out in a fantasy type world that we find in Conan, LOTR, Chronicles of Narnia, or Harry Potter? (Guilty admission: I have not read Harry Potter so I am not sure if it is a fictional landscape or supposed to be more of a real life setting). Or could this novel still be set in a real world city or land, just not in a historical setting (Think Dr. Litfin’s Chiveis trilogy http://www.christianbook.com/chiveis-trilogy-3-volume/bryan-litfin/9781433533730/pd/533731, 1984, or Ecotopia)?
Well, thoughts and comments would be appreciated. They are appreciated because right now I am not entirely sure I can go about writing a good book. See, the problem is that I am more of just a nerd who has read who enjoys reading theology and wants others to enjoy theology too. I figure the only way to help the masses enjoy theology is to put it in story form. I would make a graphic novel, but the above questions would still have to be answered.