Friday, November 30, 2007

Life imitating art

I recently had the pleasure of reading Keith Clemons latest book Angel in the Alley. I found myself looking forward to picking it up every night before bed. This is Keith's fourth book, and I think it's going to be his breakthrough novel. All the usual you can expect from Keith--engaging characters, wonderful sense-laden descriptions, and a great read.

But what has remained with me the the longest is the dystopia he created, a future North America where it is illegal to preach the Gospel.

Keith did an amazing job of speculating about new technology, future squalor for a growing segment of have-nots addicted to instant gratification and violence, a huge police state apparatus to crush religious freedom and the heroic efforts of small groups of Christians to keep the faith alive.

Of course, Keith's vision did not spring from his imagination alone. That's the most disturbing part of the book. The prophetic nature of Keith's vision was confirmed when, yesterday, while visiting some of my favorite blogs, I discovered that a human rights complaint has been leveled against Macleans Magazine for running an excerpt of Mark Steyn's book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

Mark Steyn is one of my favorite columnists. He excels as a satirist, though apparently some people don't like being satirized. He also happens to be a Christian.

There has also been a human rights complaint against a popular conservative message board Free Dominion, run by a couple of Kingston-based evangelicals. Yes, sometimes some of the posters on this message board can be a little over-exuberant or immoderate. Even the hosts of the board don't agree with what they say, but they support their right to say it.

Now various groups and individuals have found they can use the levers of the state--provincial and federal Human Rights Commissions---to lob complaints that don't cost them a thing, but cost the defendant thousands of dollars in legal fees even if the complaint is eventually dropped as it was in the case of Calgary Bishop Henry who faced two complaints for a pastoral letter defending traditional marriage.

I know I cringe sometimes at the language used by some Christians on some issues. I wish sometimes they would be more charitable, or more nuanced, or more wise in a tactical sense.

But I also know that even the most charitable and nuanced and wise Christians can be lied about and demonized in the news media.

Our religious freedom is in danger, my friends. So is our freedom of speech. Keith Clemons does a great job of showing us this as a compelling backdrop to a gripping adventure story. I hope this book gets a wide audience. Buy several copies as Christmas presents. You'll be doing the future a favor.

Now I'm reading Nancy's Glitter of Diamonds and thoroughly enjoying it too!

Way to go! Canadian authors who are Christian!!!!!

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