Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bryan Davis Interview Part Two



Often, it seems that when many Christian films or some books present the gospel, it seems to become cheesy.
Well, they are so message driven, they want to preach the gospel with such a fervent heart and with passion that they create a tacky story to dress it up. I think when the story comes first, and it comes out of a heart that loves Christ, the gospel is going to naturally flow. But at the same time, we can't bury the message. I have tried not to bury the message so that it can’t be seen. I think as the series continues on a natural progression, the gospel will become more and more clear.

Earlier, you mentioned Harry Potter, and there may be people who might not understand how your story about dragons, and even includes the Arthurian Legend, can still be Christian. What would you say to them?
People who like Harry Potter will love this book. But, there are two reasons it’s different. One is that all supernatural events come from God through prayer, and miracles, not magic. Second is that in the Harry Potter books, the main characters progress their stories often through deception, disobedience of rules, and lack of respect for authority. That doesn’t happen in these books – the stories progress through courage and wise choices, and if they don’t make a wise choice, they can get into trouble. One thing I want to make clear is that I’m not a Harry Potter basher, but I also don’t think that series is necessarily wonderful. My kids have read it with my parental guidance, so they know that we don’t believe in witchcraft, and we don’t appreciate the disrespectful attitudes.

When it comes to dragons and King Arthur, these are symbols that are used to teach Christian truth; even Jesus used symbols. All through the book of Revelation, we see really strange, marvelous symbols that teach things. I don’t know if there is going to really be a locust with long hair, but that’s what Revelation uses as a picture of something else. We shouldn’t be surprised that God would use great symbols to teach truths that are too deep to make simple – He uses symbols in a way we can remember. Stories that have great symbols are far more memorable and last a lot longer in our minds, especially for young people, if we use that method of teaching. Jesus knew it well. Unfortunately there are some people who say all fantasy is bad, or even all fiction is bad. It makes me wonder if they ever ask themselves why Jesus taught that way; He used stories and symbols to teach. I hope that people extend some grace and understand that these stories were written out of a heart of love that just wants to tell the truth in a story.

>an you name some people/authors whose works have influenced you? If so, can you say in what way these people have influenced your life and your work?
I really enjoy C. S. Lewis, two books in particular; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Perelandra. I loved the spiritual parallels in Dawn Treader. The debate between Westin and the woman when he tried to get her to sin in Perelandra fascinated me. I have somewhat similar dialogues in The Candlestone and Circles of Seven, so that definitely influenced me.

The works of Francis Schaeffer had an impact on me. The God Who is There and He is There, and He is not Silent are two that come to mind. I enjoy careful, analytical thought, and Schaeffer was a master in that field. I try to carry that kind of thinking into my stories, and those who read my fantasy series will find that they are far more than children’s fairy tales.

Does your faith influence the way you write? Would you like to elaborate on this?
My faith pervades all my writing, but my doctrinal stands on some issues make my stories quite different from most. My Christian protagonists depart from what many writers call “real” or “honest,” though they portray a more “real” Christian character than what is passing for that label in much of Christian fiction. On this point I could elaborate until your ears fall right off your head, but, briefly, I reject the notion that you have to write sinful acts or tendencies into Christian characters. Sin doesn't make them "real" or "honest." It just makes them sinful, and in most fiction I find too many characters with tacked-on flaws. It really seems clich├ęd.

I believe in the overwhelming power God gives us for holy living. My characters struggle in many non-sinful ways and find the power to overcome. I like successful heroes. God gives us victory in Christ, so it makes sense to write that way. And feedback from my readers indicates that they relate to the great struggles my characters go through, and they are inspired by my characters' successes. I believe this portrayal of obedient faith is what is truly real and honest.

1 comment:

Bryan Davis said...

Donita,

Thank you for posting the interviews!

What a blessing you are!

Bryan Davis