Recently attention has been drawn to Sci-Fi picking up the ball that the church is dropping.
In many ways these fictions take up the task that the church has nearly completely abdicated. Churches don’t use their collective voice and energy to challenge the existence of a world where God’s ways are not allowed to reign. Oh, churches fight for their rights, but rarely are the ones helping build a better world for all. Churches instead help people feel fulfilled, spiritually connected, and generally as comfortable as they can. The church is often nothing more than a support group or vendor of experiences to help us feel like we belong. God is tacked-on to make our experiences feel meaningful, but not to challenge us to subvert the constraints to the sovereignty of the kingdom of God. So we go to church to feel connected to a tradition, we go to get an “I’m okay, you’re okay” affirmation, we go to hear why we are right and everyone else is wrong, we go to feel safe and secure amidst like-minded people — but rarely do we go to imagine how everything could be different. Dreaming of better world is apparently only for those sci-fi/fantasy geeks.
But it was the role of the biblical prophet to imagine alternative ways of living in this world that reflected the ways of God. As Walter Brueggemann wrote about the prophetic, it is “an assault on public imagination, aimed at showing that the present presumed world is not absolute, but that a thinkable alternative can be imagined, characterized, and lived in. … Thus, the prophetic is an alternative to a positivism that is incapable of alternative, uneasy with critique, and so inclined to conformity.
There are a number of other areas that might spring to mind:
films as presenting myths to live by…
Other areas which the church was more involved in and others are now picking this up:
hospitals, schools, social meeting, spirituality, care of the poor,…
What do you think?