Friday, June 29, 2007

EC Gags Creation Theory?

I was a teen during the Iran Hostage Crisis, but when journalists referred to the terrorists simply as Fundamentalist Terrorists, I saw trouble. The thought eventually made it into my writer's notebook, and became the critical part of my end-times sci-fi novel, Flashpoint. 9-11 made the concept of religious persecution for reasons of security, realistic and scary.

The fact that young or old Earth age is having a similar effect in the E.C. is a songbird in the proverbial mine. The United States' cultural trends follow Europe's by fifty to one-hundred years. Our church memberships are plummeting, as they already have in Europe, and Christianity's a rapidly shrinking psychographic in all of North America. The day of real persecution in the West is quite conceivable. What will our world be like between now and the second-coming? The important thing is that we keep living our faith, and avoid a Christendom-subculture-life-raft-leaving-the-sinking-ship mentality. We must be in the world but not of it, and live as he commands. As a witness to a world without love or hope.

One of the "scientific process" steps is observation. The problem of using the scientific process to answer the origin of life? Nobody was there to observe. The Ancient Hebrew word {Yom}, or "Day" was used like the English word: a 24 hour period, a period of daylight, or an era of time. Nobody can disprove that God created the universe in its present form, with partial decayed radiation in rocks, five minutes ago. Young or old Earth age is not a point of doctrine. This very much reminds me of how the Catholic church felt that Galileo's theory blasphemed God's obviously flat Earth.

Charles Darwin proved that God gave life an amazing gift of adaptation. Evolution, one species adapting into a whole new species, is wild speculation. Even in the totality of the fossil record, what's known as "the permanence of kinds", still stands. One kind cannot be shown to have been another kind. In fact, the oldest layer of fossil-bearing-rocks have dinosaurs and modern day house-cats. Few know that the Geologic-Column—that chart with the Jurassic, Triassic, etc. periods—was constructed ACCORDING to evolutionary theory. Few places in the world are the layers even in the proper order.

The EC's consideration of thought-policing Creation-Theory is small minded. Earth-age really doesn't matter to Christians. We fear science for no good reason. God gave us a second book called creation, and He's left His fingerprints all over it. He is "there." I highly recommend Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds—Phillip E. Johnson, When Skeptics Ask—Norman Geisler, and The God Who is There—Francis Schaeffer.

"So just sit back and relax and let me have your head for a minute—I can show you somethin' in it That has yet to be presented, OH YEAH." —Click, Click, BOOM, Josey Scott, Saliva

To God be the glory,
Frank Creed

Young Earth Age?

God's word is infinite wisdom in the finite container of human language. Consider that Christ fulfilled over three-hundred OT prophecies, and how many of His contemporary Jews missed their Messiah? God shifts mankind's paradigms all through history and, we know from Genesis, prehistory.

Creation and humankind's moral fall are points of doctrine that won't bend. We have a reasonable creator who created a reasonable universe. Those with Christian presuppositions have learned creation can be understood through reason. Again, nobody was there to observe these things and these space time events. They're being interpreted to us in a dead language, by a man halfway across the planet 5000 years away in time. Inspired or not, understanding Moses' wisdom is a real challenge.

Forcing doctrinal events into a young Earth age makes two assumptions not backed by Scripture. Adam & Eve's fall took place:

1) on Earth, and
2) in this dimension.

Stay with me now . . .
The Bible was supposed to crack if our Sun was not the Universe' center because that's how Moses' creation story was interpreted. The Heliocentric theory of the universe was disproven, and Scripture still stands.

Check Strong's Concordance for the word "Worlds." It's used in the sense that this huge universe may not have been created for just for Earthlings.
  • What about Genesis 5:1-2? Did God create more humans after Adam and Eve?

  • What about extra-dimensional beings mating with human women?

  • Genesis 6, the Great Flood, wiped out the Nephilim.

  • People used to live for hundreds of years.

God's acted into space-time creation with huge change—at the fall, and the flood. Every time we get God figured out, He shifts another paradigm. Let's choose our dogmatisms very carefully.



Wednesday, May 09, 2007

You're It!

I've been tagged! Both on the Christian Writers Notebook and on Shoutlife!

What is it to be tagged? Well, according to HRH (who tagged me, btw) "Tagging is a game played in the blogging community whereby one blogger writes up his or her own list on a certain topic and then "tags" a certain number of other bloggers to respond with their own lists on the same topic."

The first rule of the game, however, is to post the rules of the game. Here they are:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

And, here we go . . .

Eight Random Facts about Me

#1 I make Raman Noodles in my coffee maker (and have been known to leave in the old coffee filter—but hey, I like coffee too. Upon hearing the story of the "coffee noodles," my future mother-in-law asked (with no small amount of concern) my then fiancĂ©, "Do you know what the h*ll you are getting yourself into?"

#2 I remarried four years ago after vowing to never do it again, to a woman I met by chance, on-line. I figured I was safe enough since she lived in Vancouver, B.C. and I was 2000+ miles away in Indiana and we chatted/ emailed daily. Even our first face-to face meeting occurred because of a misunderstanding: while in chat we mentioned that it would be nice to meet some day and somewhere in that conversation she thought I had invited her to fly to the midwest and hummed and hawed over it and eventually decided that she would. I thought she had invited herself! Providence was at work and we didn't realize it!

#3 I have seven cats (Mavis McWavis, Molly May, Angst Mayba, Kot, Jess, Koda and Pepper). Mavis has traveled around the United States with us and has visited western Canada and has the distinction of being a "Miss Feline Pine" 2005. She's the kitty in my author pic.
—another pertinent cat fact: my now-wife decided that I was suitable to chat with online because I announced that I was a cat person.

#4 I was in a highspeed head-on collision 10 years ago; LifeLined to Indianapolis and was diagnosed by several specialists to be severely brain-damaged and wheel-chair bound for the remainder of my life. A day after my pastor came and prayed with me, I was miraculously healed. Now I write.

#5 I spent a year in Israel as a foreign exchange student: slept on the beach for a week when I had run out of money, traveled to Egypt, learned to speak Hebrew, witnessed a car-bombing, was nearly abducted by an obsessive host mother (the organization moved me asap).

#6 I am the proud part-owner of the GreenBay Packers. Well . . . I do own a share and have the stock certificate to prove it hanging in a place of honour above the fireplace (much to the chagrin of my wife).

#7 I am an Eagle Scout and totally unrelated, this Christmas on a trip to B.C. saw hundreds of Bald Eagles sitting in Cottonwood trees along the Fraser River. Wow.

#8 I was divorced at an early age and lived the life of a hedonist until I was introduced to the writings of the Biblical philospoher Francis Schaeffer in my mid-twenties.

I've tagged: Daniel I Weaver, The Stiltskins, Grace Bridges, Sue Dent, Karri Compton, David Brollier over at CFRBlog, S.M. Kirkland on MySpace, and Lydia Daffenberg.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Problem

Finding Christian speculative fiction (sci-fi and fantasy and horror), in my youth was impossible. C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy graced the lonely shelf. Every modern genre author credits Lewis as their inspiration for good reason: he's all that genre fans could find.

In the seventies and eighties of my childhood, mom would take me into the local Christian bookstores, and I'd straight-edge for the fiction shelves. After years of only finding Lewis' titles, I stopped looking in Christian stores. My favorite fiction came from secular stores.

I'd given up in the early eighties—about a year before Steven Lawhead's Empyrion was published. After Peretti's Darkness books came out, I hopefully scanned Christian shelves again for a couple more years before abandoning hope. Obviously this was a once per decade event.

A year ago the only Christian spec-fic authors of which I'd ever heard were Lewis, Peretti, Dekker, and arguably, Jenkins. Since then, I've discovered dozens of Christian spec-fic authors on the Web. I formed the Lost Genre Guild in September of 2006, and we've erected a respectable Web infrastructure for the promotion of our favorite fiction. Genre fans, read on for a killer link with more traditionally published titles than you'd ever dreamed existed.

Some spec-fic sub-genres have recently broken the CBA publishing dam. Doors opened for Christian fantasy after the Lord of the Rings films scored at the Box-Office. Genre purists and book-retailers don't lump horror into the genre, but the definition of setting and characters does. The race we call "angels" are supernatural extra-dimensional beings. At some point when nobody was looking, some creative librarian tacked up a "spiritual thrillers" label on the shelf that ought to have read "horror." "Spiritual thrillers" sounds more like Hannibal Lechter sitting across a confessional from Clarisse Starling than fallen angels under the bed, but at least the belief system that inspired The Exorcist is also moving forward. I wonder if The Prophecy series of films, featuring Christopher Walken, didn't also have an effect. And Anne Rice accepting Christ surely looked good to the CBA world.

That leaves one of spec-fic's three main sub-genres still floundering behind the dam: science fiction. I believe there are several reasons for this. There have been no sci-fi cross-over films or popular culture fiction to shoehorn publishers into risking bets on new authors. Many view Christianity and science to be a contradiction in terms. Sci-fi's been such an anti-Christian world-view genre it's no real surprise that mothers dodge children around the aisle.

You've just read introduction to a four part series that will explore the concept of Christian science fiction. Because you're still reading, you get a cookie! The most complete Biblical spec-fic book store I've ever found belongs to Jeff Gerke, AKA novelist Jefferson Scott. Any genre fan will want to see and bookmark this site of Lost Genre novels:

Frank Creed

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Biblical CyberPunk?

Biblical What?

Fiction authors must write with a very specific audience on their frontal lobes. They must write for their niche. I've found the terms Christian science fiction & fantasy and Christian speculative fiction, to be too broad.

I'm tired of the debate surrounding "Christian fiction." One side says you must write subtle or secular, and leave your skill to glorify God. The other side insists Christianity must be included in character and plot. I say, every author's fiction-ministry has a different purpose, voice, style, etc. We're like snowflakes—no two are the same. My fiction purpose is discipleship, not evangelism, so I use the descriptor "Biblical."

Sci-fi invokes visions of spaceships and ray-guns. My own dystopian sci-fi is set only thirty years in the future, and focuses on bionics and cybernetics: the fusion of technology and anatomy. This sub-genre of sci-fi is called cyberpunk, but cyberpunk is, by definition, exclusively anti-religion. I've flirted with using the term faithpunk, but I'm not sure it's meaning would click with readers. So, for lack of a better term, my niche is Biblical cyberpunk.

And, while you're at it, read about his Biblical Cyberpunk novel Flashpoint, coming in Septmber 2007.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Growing Sales for Religious Books!

Writer's Digest ran an article in '06 that predicted a boom in religious books for the next five years. I hoped that boom would include Christian fiction. The following article indicates that Christianity's lost genre (speculative fiction), just might be set to boom. Feast your eyes on this article that appeared in the April 15, 2007 issue of AtlasBooks Advocate:

Religious Books Sell!
By Sarah Bolme

If you have pondered whether your publishing company should enter the realm of religious books, you will be delighted to hear that this category of books is selling well. Religious books were ranked second in sales growth for 2005 (first in sales growth for the year were Education/Curriculum books). Religion book sales, with their nine percent sales increase, are growing faster than overall book sales, which increased around 5% this past year.
Growth for the religion book category is not new. Sales growth has now been the trend for this category for the past few years. Although religious book titles account for about 5% of the total book market according to AAP (American Association of Publishers), sales in this category grew 37% in 2003, 11% in 2004, and about 9% in 2005.

Religion buyers for both Barnes & Noble and Borders Group, Inc. report that their religion sales have increased steadily over the past several years with Borders reporting that its religion sales have increased 36% since 2000. Religion sections in both of these stores continue to grow with the most sales in the Christian Fiction (sales of Christian romance titles have grown 25% a year since 2001) and the Christian Living titles.

Industry veterans have differing views on what has spurred the continued growth of religion category books. Some feel it has been the move from publishing mostly theological material to publishing more books with practical everyday principles. Others claim it is due to the few mass market religion-themed and Christian bestsellers such as the Left Behind Series (which has sold over 40 million copies), The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (has sold over 20 million copies) and Bruce Wilkinson’s The Prayer of Jabez (sold over 10 million copies). A number think that it is a new willingness of American people to talk about and incorporate “religion” or “faith” into their everyday lives, a changed spurred by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Still others think that it is due to the aging of the Baby Boomers, who – confronted with their own mortality – are now considering spiritual issues. A few others feel that the growth is in part due to the fact that mass-market outlets (such as Wal-Mart and Target) now carry religious titles.

As with sales growth in any arena, when there is profit potential, companies jump at the chance. While the religious title category encompasses more than just “Christian” titles, the fact is these titles do make up the majority of this category. Historically, Christian titles have almost exclusively been published by “Christian” publishing houses (Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Multnomah, etc.). With the increase in religion sales, large New York Publishing houses have jumped on the bandwagon and are creating more and more imprints for Christian titles. Simon & Schuster launched Little Simon Inspirations this past February, its first Christian imprint for children; and Random House Children’s Books’ imprint Golden Books recently returned to the Christian market with a new Christian-interest publishing program introducing a dozen new titles this past year.

The good news is religious books are selling. The increase in religion category sales appears to be boosted by more than just the few religious best-seller titles mentioned earlier. A recent report by ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) shows that consumers of Christian books read more and spend more on books than the general population. Another study by the Barna Group showed that nearly half of all Americans have read at least one religious book other than the Bible from cover to cover in the last two years. With an overwhelming majority of the population of the United States reporting a Christian religious affiliation, religion title sales have the potential to continue to grow for years to come. So whether you already publish religious titles or are looking to break into the religion category with a new title this year, there is room in the market for your next project.

***************************************************************************************************************Sarah Bolme is the director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) ( and the owner of Crest Publications ( Sarah’s newest book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, can be found at © 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Flashpoint: Chicago 2036 RPG

Roleplaying game of the Underground series

Christian Role Playing Game designer Mike Roop is goin out on a limb. It's all his fault that there will be a Flashpoint RPG. I'm personally very pleased but don't let on. Plausible deniability and all. Just blame Mike. You know the rep that RPGs have in our subculture. So, why risk this? The short answer is it's a killer discipleship AND evangelism tool into the world of gamers. To understand why, one must know what an RPG really is.

Role Playing Games are vehicles for theme, purpose, plot etc. just like novels, or films. The difference is that they're interactive—characters are not written or played by actors. You get to be part of an unfolding story. RPGs have a bad rap among Christians because the first to get popular, Dungeons & Dragons, had magic. RPG fans also tend to fixate on the vehicle, and spend WAY too much time on them. It would be like you or me discovering novels or movies—we'd become obsessed.

The same strength of spec-fic (total creative license over setting and character-types), for presenting world-views, is true of RPGs. A Satanist could create a novel, film or RPG that would blaspheme as completely as Chronicles of Narnia, Passion of the Christ, or a Flashpoint RPG glorifies. A game using Christian Theology has awesome potential as a ministry tool, and while others have tried, I can't believe that none have successfully marketed such a tool.

A group of players faced with plot conflict have to make decisions and choices with consequences for their characters. Biblically pleasing decisions are rewarded. This is discipleship. A group of believers can even interest unbelievers in joining the game, and the purpose becomes evangelism.

I'm very excited about this project, but suspect there's a CBA angle here. Anyone with tips, please contact me at: frankcreed-at-insightbb-dot-com

Saturday, March 24, 2007

From Bible Study to Paying Gigs


For those people who like to hear the word of God through Bible studies, my all time favorite Bible study is 25 Basic Bible Studies, by Francis Schaeffer. It examines the basics of the Biblical worldview, and made me consider how I could best use what God gave me for His glory.

Description: Does the Bible speak to the real problems of real people in the real world? Does it offer viable solutions to those problems? You can weigh the evidence and decide for yourself with these 25 Bible studies, which show what the Bible actually teaches regarding our most fundamental questions about God.

Compiled and written by one of modern Christianity's greatest thinkers, this book highlights Scripture passages on the central doctrines of Christianity--such as creation, man's sin and God's grace, the person and work of Christ, future events--and briefly explains how each passage supports the biblical teaching on that particular theme. It's all right here. Laid out simply. So you can see for yourself what the Bible says--in God's own words.

Schaeffer's window into Scripture made me realize who I am and gave me the courage to step out in faith.

How to turn what we learn into paying publications . . .

Paying the bills with our writing allows us to glorify him with the forty-ish hours that a full time job consumes. All right, it's more like sixty or eighty hours, but you'd be doing what you love and would actually have more time for your other spheres of life. I've met too many Christian writers who make humility an excuse for not submitting their work. I've challenged every one of them with the Parable of the Talents, and I've yet to field a contrary position. If you've ever skipped a meal to write, this means you. The Web is a gift that He's dumped in our laps. I can't believe the number of e-mail questions I get, that fifteen seconds on Google couldn't answer. Just make a list of search parameters, Google them,and bookmark from the top hundred results (organize files as you go or this will haunt you).
Everyone reading this has an article or story in them that can reach a particular audience. The adage says "Mum is always right," and like Mum says, locating paying markets is the best way. For novelists, it's not that simple. I have a recently updated bookmarks file geared toward Biblical fantasy and sci-fi that I'll share with any who contact me. The concept would help any author of Christian fiction--just get ideas and Google. There are scads of tools, resources, crit groups, publishers, and e-zines on the Web, you just need to find them.
If you have something to write and an audience in mind, You've been called to a writing ministry. Have the courage to step out in faith for His glory. We glorify Him where He's placed us in space and time, by dwelling at the intersection of given talents and passions.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Blasphemy or Ministry?

Guest Blogger: publisher Cynthia MacKinnon

About one year ago, a friend (and non-fiction author) questioned: How can science-fiction and Christianity be compatible? She wasn't judging, her inquiry was an honest one.

I myself have asked similar questions about the acceptance of speculative fiction in the Christian community. There is no end to the responses responses found: in one's circle of friends, at one's church, or on the internet. The following are excerpted from an online article about Christian fantasy ( from the Biblical Discernment Ministries ) :

Most true Christians would recognize fantasy, such as the movie Star Wars, as being extremely wicked (in this case, sorcery— "The Force" being equivalent to black magic and white witchcraft). Yet, apparently, when we call it "Christian," this somehow sanctifies what we do with our minds (imaginations), or what we allow our minds to entertain.

For example, one can look in any issue of the Christian Book Distributors Fiction Catalog and find the most outrageous fantasy literature, yet it is all dubbed "Christian." The following is taken from theCBD Fiction Catalog, 9/94 premier edition:
". . . now there's no more compromising for those who love Christian fiction, because you are holding the key to your next escape-from-it-all right in the palm of your hand . . . CBD's brand new Fiction Catalog? It's filled with the latest and the best
refreshing, thrilling, inspiring, wholesome fiction for you and your family."

Wholesome? The following is a sample of that which CBD considers "wholesome." [Much of this type of writing comes from medieval mysticism, which
God hates (cf. Deut. 18: 10-12).]:
(a) Millennium's Dawn, by Ed Stewart (p. 25):"June 2001. The future never seemed brighter for Dr. Evan Riderand his new bride, Shelby, as they prepare to embark on the honeymoon of their dreams. But the dream quickly becomes a nightmare as a long-buried secret shared by three college friends erupts, engulfing the couple in a sinister plot ofblackmail, terror, and betrayal."

(b) Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis(p. 34): "The unlovely Orual, eldest daughter of the King of Glome, becomes so consumed by her mingled love and jealousy of her beautiful half-sister that she makes a complaint to the gods—and receives an answer she did not expect. This novel, possibly Lewis' best work and the one he considered his own favorite, is his compelling rework of the myth of Cupid and Psyche."[Sound like something you could want your children to read —about "the gods"?]

"Well," someone might say, "I'm not doing anything wicked, I'm just reading about wickedness." But does this align with godliness? There are four things about fantasy which must be considered:

I. It is Anti-Truth.
II. It Slips Into Reality.
III. It Does Not Fit True Godliness.
IV. A Love for God Will Oppose It.

These 4 points appear to have merit and certainly leave no room for wishy-washy Christianity. And, it seems that my non-Christian friend has every reason to ask the question about the compatibility between sci-fi and Christianity.

Obviously, the value (or danger) of Christian speculative fiction is fixed firmly in the beliefs of the reader. But with such a bias against spec-fic from within the sub-culture, does the genre even stand a chance? What steps can be taken to alleviate the skepticism and pull Biblical spec-fic from the shadows out into the light of the day?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

When Will They Ever Learn

Christian spec-fic is in a limbo of sorts: people seek and search for good spec-fic written from a Christian worldview, but it is hard to find, even in Christian bookstores. Talented authors of Christian spec-fic stockpile entertaining manuscripts because the traditional houses (in accordance with the CBA) are reluctant to publish them. Hit counters on Christian SF sites all over the web indicate that there is a huge untapped market out there, just waiting to be connected. Many of these readers have been forced to secular bookshelves.

There were another group of genre fans who didn't wait patiently . . . who gave up altogether on finding spec-fic in Christian bookstores. After reading Lewis' chronicles, whenever Mom took my sister and I into our local Christian bookstore, I headed for the fiction shelves. Nothing.

Mom liked that we were interested in reading, and in secular stores we found plenty of sci-fi and fantasy. By the time I was a teen (early eighties), I gave up looking. Last year I discovered that I gave up one year before Lawhead hit the shelves.

Then I learned of Peretti. Frank's Darkness novels raised my hopes again but two more years of drought taught me to stop wasting my time. I believe there to be a large demographic of Christian genre fans who've never heard of Bryan Davis, Karen Hancock, Donita Paul, or Jefferson Scott.

Yes, we have to spread the spec-fic word. CBA publishers hit empty when they advertise because genre fans aren't there. We have to use new mediums like the Web to breed new strains of viral-marketing. It will take years, but by networking on the Web with blog tours, newsletters, PDF catalogs, and live events, we can do this.

I have to wonder if this isn't His will. In an age when the protestant denominations are in decline, sci-fi and fantasy worldview fiction could spark a rebirth.

"So just sit back and relax and let me have your head for a minute--I can show you somethin' in it That has yet to be presented."--Josey Scott.

To God be the glory,
Frank Creed

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