Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith
Donald S. Crankshaw
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The Christian faith is filled with mystery, from the Trinity and the Incarnation to the smaller mysteries found in some of the strange and unexplained passages of the Bible: Behemoth and Leviathan, nephilim and seraphim, heroes and giants and more. There is no reason for fiction engaging with Christianity to be more tidy and theologically precise than the faith itself.
Here you will find challenging fantasy, science fiction, and horror stories that wrestle with tough questions and refuse to provide easy answers or censored depictions of a broken world, characters whose deeds are as obscene as their words and people who meet bad ends—sometimes deserved and sometimes not. But there are also hope, grace, and redemption, though even they can burn like fire.
Join us as we rediscover the mysteries of the Christian faith.
Featuring stories by:
H. L. Fullerton
Robert B Finegold, MD
Pauline J. Alama
J. S. Bangs
F. R. Michaels
Rachael K. Jones
S. Q. Eries
G. Scott Huggins
Joanna Michal Hoyt
Sarah Ellen Rogers
Edited by Donald S. Crankshaw and Kristin Janz
Publisher’s note: This title does not adhere to the CBA content guidelines.
Eclectic Collection Worth the Read
Mysterion is an eclectic collection of speculative fiction that explores an eclectic collection of Christian doctrines. My particular favorites are the stories that look, not at a mortal’s relationship with God (or other immortals), but humans relating to humans or their avatars.
“The Monastic” (Daniel Southwell) challenges the individual’s entitled and wearied spirit to recall the supernatural and one’s place in it. From a more youthful, less exhausted position, “Forlorn” (Bret Carter) recalls the same, evoking a fully realized, but nevertheless human, loyalty and courage.
In “Golgotha,” David Tallerman points out the frequent failure of Christian self-suspicion when it comes to the difference between culture and Christ. It’s hardly speculative. “This Far Gethsemane” (G. Scott Huggins) poses the same question as Tallerman, but from the other direction and in a science fantasy container. Like Tallerman, “Cracked Reflections” (Joanna Michal Hoyt) uses, at most, magical realism to bring the struggle home to our very American shores. As a missionary kid, I appreciated these crossing-culture stories, the way I appreciated The Poisonwood Bible.
James Beamon’s “A Lack of Charity” is perhaps the sharpest, and so, most horrible rendering of our mortal world, twisted into eternal hell. I feel it delivers some of the best-crafted speculative fiction in the book. In terms of both spec fic and the invisible line between justice and mercy, “A Recipe for Rain and Rainbows” (Beth Cato) meanders in an equal and opposite direction from Beamon. Together Beamon and Cato offer the clear and demanding choice of the gospel: Every knee shall bow. Bend the knee of your own accord or obey the laws written into the universe by force.
The other tales were also engaging, some of them well-defined, some of them mysterious. I’ll mention three more that captured my fantasy/scifi/speculator attention. “A Good Hoard” (Pauline J. Alma) delivers the dragons and greed pill in a humorous spoonful of sugar. “Cutio” (F. R. Michaels) sneaks in a sermon on forgiveness by wrapping it in X-Files weird. “The Physics of Faith” (Mike Barretta) takes advantage of the short-story form to beatify suicide, the one option that “survive the apocalypse/dystopia” stories avoid, for obvious reasons.
The editors' selection and structure of these shorts is subtle. There are no real zombies or vampires and so, no real examinations of Christianity’s “eat my flesh, drink my blood” idea. They pack their greatest punch in the middle, answering the “what if?” question in a build from the enigmatic to the specific and then releasing the reader swim around again.
“The mysteries of Christian faith” is a massive topic in which to ground a collection. I wonder which of the many mysteries within Christianity (or which other religion) they’ll choose to center the next anthology.
Dawn Duncan Harrell/DC Harrell