Monday, July 3, 2017

Why Do I Write With Magic?

I am a Christian. A conservative Christian, even.

Yet I write magical fantasy. Witchcraft! That's a contradiction against all things Christian, let alone conservative, isn't it?

Okay, first of all, it isn't witchcraft. I'm very careful to NOT write with witchcraft - at least not any witchcraft portrayed in a good light. In fact, a lot of the "magic" I use isn't actual magic at all, but rather a set of laws in another world that are different from our own laws.

I have a system, see. Not a "Good vs. Evil" system as I, frankly, find that to be too cut and dry. Is there good vs evil in the world? Yes, and I do endeavor to show that, but it's not in my magic system. There is no "light side" or "dark side" to my Force. I use what I call the "Natural System."

First of all, we have Natural Magic. On a whole, this isn't actual magic at all (though, depending on the world, it can be), as it covers anything that isn't easily explained by OUR world's natural laws. If I have a race of people who can turn themselves invisible, this counts. If I have a magician skilled in slight of hand, that counts. If I have rocks that float when they get warm, that counts. Most of Amber's collection of magical items are natural magic - not all, but most. In short, if magic exists within a world's set laws, it's Natural Magic.

Then we have Supernatural Magic. This is God's power and covers miracles, divine intervention, and special powers granted by God. In short, anything that defies a world's natural laws, but with God as its source. The Ankulens of The Ankulen are supernatural magic. The rings and staffs and such given to my characters of Rizkaland. The Fairies' power in Bookania. Of all the powers, I have to be most careful in writing this one, as it is directly related to God's Character, and we don't want to write Him out of Character.

And, finally, Unnatural magic. This is any magic that has been twisted to the devil's purposes. It usually has Supernatural, and sometimes Natural, magic as its source, as the devil has no power of his own, beyond what God has granted him, and its sole purpose is to tempt people away from God. I NEVER portray this in a good light, though I will show its tempting nature.

But why do I go through all of this trouble? Why do I put my toes into this water that, honestly, gives me a lot of flack from readers, and places me in the "don't touch" list for many of my target readers? Why do I continue to write with something that was, if I'm honest with myself, a stumbling block for my faith in my early teens?

This is a question that I have approached with a LOT of prayer and spiritual examination.

First of all - while it was a stumbling block for me, it wasn't the root of my problem. See, I was going through some years where things seemed to be spiraling out of any sense of control. And the fantasy novels I read - and wrote - were a tempting form of control for me, and a form of escape. Trust me, the magic I write these days is VERY removed from what I indulged in imagining then.

So why do I do it?

Well, the simple answer is that I enjoy testing the limits of what's possible. I still read and write as a form of escape, and I have no shame in that. When I read a book, I want to be challenged with another realm of possibility - another way of looking at things.

But if it were just that, well, that's still not a good enough reason for me to stick my toes into these testy waters, to dance with fire, as it were.

So what justification do I use?

Actually, I go to the Gospels. In particular - Matthew, Mark, and Luke. To the teachings of Jesus.

No particular one in general, but them all as a whole. See, what did Jesus do to draw a crowd?

He performed miracles and told stories (parables). (And the reason not John is because there aren't any parables in John.)

There is something within every person that craves the supernatural. We want to know that there's more to this world than just us, just our reality. That's why the occult is so tempting, why the concept of aliens are so fascinating.

And in the same way, people crave stories. We like being entertained. We like being removed from our own problems. We like seeing someone else conquer theirs.

Now, I can't do miracles, but I can write stories, and I can write stories where I show the something more - show the supernatural.

Am I saying that Christians SHOULD write with magic, that every Christian should read it? Actually, no. I believe this to be more a matter of conscience. I write with magic and I keep it clean, but I know that, for other Christians, my level of magic is too much for them. So I'm not going to make them read it. And, if I get a dislike from them on my magic's account, I understand. I've written myself into a VERY niche market - but I do know that there others who have the same view to magic as I do - and I do hope and pray that my stories touch - and even change lives.

But that's why I do it. Kendra out.


  1. I've got to say that outside of the homeschooled author community, almost all of the fantasy I've read had some degree of magic. And that's Christian fantasy. So you're in good company.

    I can only think of one book I've read where the magic really serously bothered me. There were streams if energy running through the earth and mahes used spells to pull that out. The main character was also a remnant of a long forgotten race and had extra magical powers. But the overall book had no mention of a God figure and was rather morally grey. Thw hero had attitude problems. It wasn't just the magic system.

    As for why I don't write magic (except for that one book you're making me write): I'm just too lazy. It's easier to leave it out than to figure out all the lines.

  2. Excellent post, and I like your definition of the different types of magic in your books. I agree that magic can be an excellent way of showing the supernatural in a story, and your rational for using magic in your stories is similar to my argument for why fantasy in general isn't non-Christian.

    That said . . . I don't think that conservative Christians on the whole are as opposed to magic as you imply. Most of my friends would fall into that category, and most of those friends are perfectly fine with magic in fantasy. In general, I think it's parents who are more likely to have issues with it, and even then, I expect that it's more Harry Potter-style magic that they're worried about and less what you have in your books (which is roughly comparable to what you'd find in Narnia or The Lord of the Rings).


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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