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?