Highlights of 2012: Part 1
It’s been a year of great content and discussions at Hieropraxis. A big thank-you is due to the Hieropraxis team of writers: Kevin Belmonte, Kelly Belmonte, Ken Mann, Mario Alejandre, and Garret Johnson. You are all amazing writers and I’m grateful to have your contributions!
Here are some of the most-read posts of 2012, in case you missed them on their first run:
1. One of the most-read pieces on Hieropraxis this year was my review of The Hunger Games film. Working as I do in the field of cultural and literary apologetics, I find this significant. Christians are becoming more aware that there’s significance to culture and are looking for ways to understand it. One of the most significant points that I would like to make about The Hunger Games (a point that applies more broadly) is that explicitly “Christian” films and books are often very ineffective in getting people to think about issues of faith. Yes, ineffective. In contrast, works that are more subtle and understated, or even works that are not Christian at all, or are hostile, can spark interest, raise questions, unsettle the viewer or reader, and provoke the kind of reflection that can lead to genuine seeking after God.
2. Another widely read piece was “Debate in Apologetics: Secondary Issues of Primary Importance,” Ken Mann’s analysis of the effect of “young earth vs. old earth” debates on the work of apologetics. He doesn’t mince words. “As an apologist I am committed to spreading the truth of Christianity. I am also committed to demonstrating the truth of an integrated Christian worldview. However modern secular culture and young earth creationism are both committed to a view of reality that dismisses the integration of science and religion.”
3. Garret Johnson’s literary-apologetics piece “HP Lovecraft and Christian Thought” is another must-read. He asks, “Why, exactly, would a Christian audience find the work of a staunch atheist who practically invented a distinct branch of Horror fiction to be of particular interest?” Garret then goes on to show that there is indeed a great deal of interest and value here… noting that “For the Believer in Christ, Horror fiction is a genre not wholly without the virtue of tapping into profound realities. It recognizes many of the dark truths about living a fallen existence, the utter despair that would be ours but for an intervening God.”
4. Should Christians read fairy tales to their children? Are stories that have witches, magic, and monsters appropriate for Christian children (and adults)? In this podcast, “Finding God in Fairy Tales,” I answer with a resounding YES. One of the key concepts in this talk is the way that the fairy-tale world, which is not realistic in detail, actually depicts the reality of human life much more clearly and accurately than many ‘realistic’ stories, by showing clearly that we live in a broken, sinful world that needs a Savior – and has one!
5. We can’t get far into a discussion of fairy tales without speaking of George MacDonald! Kevin Belmonte’s piece “C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton’s Debt to George MacDonald” makes some unexpected connections, showing that these three masters of fantasy and wit had a great deal in common.