Theological Implications?

A Pastor friend finished Running Black the other day and while he said he enjoyed it, he was anxious to discuss the “theological implications”. Our phone conversation was cut short, but I’m sure we’ll get back to it. However, it made me curious what other readers thought.

As I’ve said before, a sci-fi action novel isn’t a Bible study. It’s simply not the place to wax exegetical. Listen to my sermons if you’re hankering for that, or better yet, read the Bible yourself. Running Black is entertainment with Christian themes intersecting the story arc. Now I’m sure there are “theological implications”; after all, ideas have consequences, but I’m puzzled as to what they might be. The use of violence and profanity? Financial entities leveraging governments? Clones having souls? Jihadists glassing Tel Aviv with a nuke? Christians handling firearms?

If you’ve read the book, please weigh in on this. I’m genuinely interested. And to sweeten the deal, I’ve got an extra 11″ x 17 poster of the book cover I’ll send to someone who responds. (in a civil and intelligent manner)

3 Replies to “Theological Implications?”

  1. Personally, as both a member of the press (with my review of Running Black forthcoming) and a full-time youth minister, I think the way the Christian themes work in the book are very well done. As has been said, I didn’t expect Running Black (nor any other sci-fi novel) to tell me what I need to know about Christ’s love. However, it can truly provide a stepping stone to understanding and inquiry. I think the way in which the story unfolds — with the introduction of Al and his family as reformed smugglers/shooters and with Gibson coming to learn of God’s love and the fact that there’s something more to this life than simply living — is a very well thought out and relayed to readers. It presents the simple yet misunderstood idea that truly anyone and everyone can come to know and accept God’s love and grace.

    Christians are not perfect (and never will be) and that’s what’s so impressive about God’s love for us. The fact the Al and his family graciously open their doors to their friends – thieves, shooter and sinners all – shows how they, as Christians, are passing on the love of Christ to others, even if those others don’t (yet) believe. Likewise, throughout the tragedy and turmoil in the novel, Al & family stay strong in their belief, not only remaining faithful to what they know is right – even in the face of adversity – but also passing on this comfort and love to Gibson, scared, misunderstood, and in need of both physical, emotional and spiritual security.

    We, as humans, are very much like Gibson in the novel. We may not realize all the things we need from God, and yet, when they are finally revealed to us, we begin to not only accept them, but also understand them as well. Through this recognition, we come to understand all God does for us, not only in our times of need, but also in our times of joy, sorrow, confusion, anger, resentment, and elation.

    As for the violence, profanity, guns, nukes and the like, the book is set in a possible “real” world, not the ideal perfection we as Christians would call God’s kingdom on Earth. I’m a realist (I have to be, I work with teens!) and I’ve come to accept no matter how much Christians want the world to change, we (humanity) will still and always fall short (it’s human nature after all) of the glory of God’s perfection.

    This too is reflected in Running Black as no matter how hard the characters try to make right, outside influences (be it personal or others greed, power, money, or fear) tempt them and challenge their goal. However, with God’s help, they (and we) face these challenges. We may or may not recognize it, but God will never give Tam and his crew (nor us) more than we can handle nor abandon them (or us) in a time of need. Recognizing this is the first step in understanding and accepting God’s love and grace and this is reflected in Running Black. Ultiamtely, it comes down to God running the ultimate overwatch for the men of Eshu International, whether they like it or not…

  2. I second that

    I enjoyed the Christian “theme” the crossed in to the story. Not something you expect in a gritty sci-fi story. That just made me love it all the more.

    But theological implications? you got me. 🙂

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