Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ted Dekker Applies C. S. Lewis' "Latent Christianity" Principle

Okay, I must admit from the beginning here that I had not heard of Ted Dekker nor of any of his popular works (novels and "graphic novels" both) until this afternoon when doing some research for next year's reading list for the Notting Hill Napoleons. Nevertheless, I found this essay in Dekker's blog of value. You may too. It concerns the limits, pressures and even the definitions of "Christian literature."

Watching people’s reactions to the themes in the movie House [the novel on which the film was based was co-authored by Dekker and Frank Peretti] has been interesting. The film as a whole is deeply influenced by everything from cinematography to acting to direction to score to special effects… the list is endless and the end product way beyond my control. But the story on which the movie is based was mine and reviewers reaction to the basic theme of that story interests me.

They fit into three broad categories that look something like this:

First, there are the Christian reviewers who act as so called experts on the value of a film, a quantity they derive by scoring negatives and positives for a final verdict. Like mathematicians using formulas, the more analytic among them give the end product either a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. For many of these, House was not Christian enough.

Then there are the hosts of Christians thrilled to see something hit the screen that isn’t blatantly Christian. As long as the theme is fairly plain, the mere absence of an overt Christian message draws cheers from them. In their view, House was just about right.

Finally there are the non-Christian reviewers. Reading their opinions, you might think House was blatant propaganda piece designed to shove the church down the world’s throat. In their view, House was far too Christian, nothing short of an evangelical sermon.

So which is right?...

Good question. So check out the rest of Ted Dekker's essay, "Latent Christianity," and see how this unusual writer is trying to apply C.S. Lewis' philosophy of art.