33 Comments

Why Alara’s Redeemer Is a Woman

I’ve started pitching Alara’s Call this way:

It’s about a clergywoman who becomes a prophet. She’s called to prophesy to world leaders, starting with her father, about how God expects Her people to be governed.

More than half the time, that “Her people” gets totally ignored. Either people think it refers to Alara, or they’re not really paying attention and only asked what my book is about to be polite.

If people do pick up on it, they usually have one of two reactions. The first is “oh, like The Shack” and I say kinda but not really, because this must be the only thing that book and mine have in common.

The other is “you can’t do that.”

I occasionally get pushback on this, but If I’m not ready for pushback, I’m not ready for release, and Alara’s Call is already in production.

stained glass Borromean rings

Photo by Jeremy Doorten • freeimages.com

My storyworld has a Trinitarian religion in which two thirds of the Trinity is female. Collectively, the godhead is called Telshi. The Creator, Mairah, is Mother; the Redeemer, Kenna, is a woman; and the Counselor, Ahbay, is Father. Many people accept this. Some don’t.

I’m not sure why this offends people. I think God is beyond gender, because God is not human, God is Other, and both male and female are made in God’s image.

I wanted to create a faith that would lead to an egalitarian culture. You can’t oppress women if your Redeemer is a woman. My key verse for this series is Galatians 3:28. Not that it’s that in storyworld, but in my head. Here’s how I put it in story:

Among those who live in the light of Kenna, there is no noble or peasant, master or slave, male or female, for all are one in our anointed Redeemer.

Part of my thought process was—if we have this verse from Galatians, why has it historically not been lived out? What could I put in place in my storyworld to make a similar verse unignorable? And the first solution that came to mind was female redeemer. The idea of creator as mother grew out of that, though it also reflects the idea that in many cultures, the creating power is a mother figure. My fictional religion is meant to echo Christianity, but I brought in additional elements so it’s not a strict duplicate.

I’ve been told my female redeemer and additional elements push my story out of the realm of “Christian” fiction. Maybe that’s true. I often tell people that the characters in my book aren’t literally Christians.

But I’m a Christian, and I believe my book will appeal to Christians because they will see Kenna as a reflection of Jesus. At least, that’s my hope.

What do you think? How far can we go in creating fantasy religions for our fantasy worlds before our fiction stops being Christian?

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About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

33 comments on “Why Alara’s Redeemer Is a Woman

  1. I would recommend then in this alternate world that woman would be created first and man created out of woman. And then, when the temptation to sin comes, it is man that listens to the tempter (who doesn’t have to be a serpent). So when the curse comes, God in this alternate reality says men will serve women. Women therefore tend to be physically larger and stronger than men. And more aggressive. “Amazons” of fiction, running societies and fighting the wars, that would be common.

    If you did that, in your world it would be men who commonly self-sacrifice in families, so a man suffering for others would be kind of expected. But a WOMAN dying for sins? That would be out of the norm. That would catch people’s attention.

    If you did all of that, THEN you would have a situation truly parallel to what we have with Jesus, a man, dying on the cross. A woman suffering death in our world for sin would have been BOTH more expected and ALSO not as respected by men. It’s a more powerful message that a man died–and it’s also important that the one who died paralleled the first human being.

    I’m not saying your story is anything more than a story by any means. But you are missing the reason why men are domineering in our reality if you don’t know that comes from the curse after the fall–as opposed to human action alone. You are also missing some of the power of Jesus’ death if you switch him to being a woman without changing the rest of your society.

    By the way, in the world I just described, even though your Scriptures would say men are equal with women, people of various stripes would still either subtly or overtly treat men as inferior. Because doing so would be part of the particular sin nature of that world. And the sin nature can never be entirely gotten rid of.

    • Yours is an interesting critique indeed. I’d like to add this: such a vast change in the metaphysics of this world from the Real World inevitably will lead to a logical and moral conundrum – or more than one – and of cosmic proportions.

      The problem with speculative fiction authors in general is that seemingly, they seldom if ever spot the deep conundrums they create, let alone how to exploit them in the narrative.

      But then, it’s taken me 49 years to the year to try to figure that matter out as far as I have. Why should anyone find it any easier? We are mortal, finite, and within this Universe; only the One outside of creation can resolve all the conundrums posed by creation itself. Even mathematics has its limits – as Godel pointed out in his famous Theorem, there are some questions even mathematics cannot resolve (yes or no, true or false). This implies only the Creator of mathematics can resolve such questions – in His own Metalanguage, as someone put it in his article for the Creation Research Society Quarterly (exploring the relationship between mathematics and linguistics).

      This tangent may seem “spacey” but I have reasons for letting it take flight. Again and again I’ve seen the moral and ethical blindness of fiction authors of all kinds, even the greatest by this world’s standards. They don’t realize their own limits, seemingly. Seeing this makes me realize just how relentless the grace of God has made me with my own thinking. And I bless Him for it. The more blind spots in myself I uncover with His guidance, the better off I and those I influence are.

      • Let us note for the record that Kristen has not give a lot of detail about how she presents her world overall, other than she has shifted the Divine to the female. It may be she has already already accounted for some of the issues we have raised…

        Also, I partially disagree with your “Christian Speculative Fiction is an oxymoron” comment. That depends on our concept of God–do we believe it is at least possible that God really has created alternate universes? Do we believe it really is possible that the apocalypse may tarry beyond the time most people think it will come, allowing for a future of technology and space travel we don’t have now? If such things really could be true, then speculative fiction is no more “fictional” than any other kind. If a Christian speculative fiction author believes such things are possible (as I do) then spinning spec fic tales while retaining full harmony with my concept of God is not only possible, it’s my whole POINT.

        • Travis, don’t give me too much credit. You guys have already thought through this cosmology more than I have.

          Reversing the order of creation and putting women above men would not serve my purpose. My purpose was to show what the world might look like if we really behaved as if there were no “male and female” — if all were one.

          Unfortunately, with a Trinity, I can’t make a deity who is equal parts male and female unless Kenna’s a hermaphrodite (dang, why didn’t I think of that sooner…)

          I have given about zero thought to this storyworld’s creation myth. There’s one reference to the Adversary’s deception of the ancient ancestors. That’s it. Now that you’ve made me think about it, I have to say I would have the prophets writing the creation story with man and woman created at the same time, and jointly deceived. Because the whole point isn’t woman is better than man. The whole point is that women and men are equal.

          OK, so if women and men are equal, then why a female redeemer? Because it’s the opposite of what’s true in the real world, and therefore more interesting. Although maybe not as interesting as a herrmaphrodite.

          • Kristen, I think the way I suggested the story would cause people to think about WHY men have been dominant throughout history (which comes down to the fall and sin, not to Jesus’ gender). And I think the idea of woman being created first is an interesting one–theologically challenging, but it’s hard for anyone to say God could not have created things so.

            If your society is egalitarian simply by switching the gender of your savior, what you are implying is the CHRISTIANITY created gender inequality in our world simply by having a male savior, or that our faith reinforced it at least. You are also implying that God made a mistake sending a male savior (since a sending female one would have turned out better).

            I recognize you may not have thought about that, either. And you have already got the story pretty far along and are loathe to change it. But I have to say that switching the gender of the savior equalling automatic sexual equality with no downside at all as a world building concept contains quite a sharp criticism of Christianity as it is. Not just as it is practiced, but as it IS, Biblical passages and all. (Again, assuming I’m understanding your story from your description of it.)

            If you do not wish readers to detect an attack on the Christian faith in your story, I’d be happy to offer suggestions that preserve as much as your tale as possible, but doesn’t have the same implications. If you are interested, please email me at tt_perry@hotmail.com 🙂

        • The irony, perhaps, is that I may take the point even farther than you in application. I have had to. My Metacosmos by definition is “the infinite possibilities of potential reality” and as I understand the implications of what God’s creation reveals to us, that sort of thing *must exist in order for God’s actual plan progressing through human experience to work out. But taking matters that far is the only way I can, in good conscience, deal with speculative fiction writing at all. It would be a different matter if I were dealing with, say, historical fiction.

          • John, I think you may be understanding me but I’m not certain. So to be sure, let me say that I realize that “you take the point even farther” in that you seem to have a detailed sense of what conscience allows that highly restricts what you see as permissible in writing speculative fiction as a Christian.

            My sense of conscience does not appear to be as strong about certain elements of writing speculative fiction. As a result, while I do see the genre as somewhat different that historical fiction (using your example), I do not see it as radically so.

            Historical fiction, simply because it is set in the so-called “real” world, can still portray that world in ways that are unrealistic, which violate Scriptural principles, and which dishonor God.

            To steer this counter-comment back to the original topic, I’ve said a number of things about what I think the implications of Kristen’s story might prove to be without ever having read it. Let me publicly commit to buying, reading it, and then saying what I think about it after that…

          • Thanks, Travis. I really appreciate that. I think you and John are both on the same trail, that is, if in our speculating we posit some different expression of deity, we have to consider all the branching ramifications — forward and backward — of that expression.

            John’s storyworld is way more complex than mine, so the ramifications would be greater. In historical fiction, we couldn’t speculate this way. You are right about the possibility of a historical novelist getting their theology drastically wrong. The potential for error there may be less because of the absence of fantasy, but it does still exist.

  2. You raise the question ultimately of whether “Christian speculative fiction” is an oxymoron in the first place. In the strict sense, yes, it is. The moment we let “what might be” override “what was”, “what is” and “what will be” in any way, shape or form, we deny – or at the very least, set aside – the very name and nature of *Yehawweh (יהוה), Who is masculine but not male and Who has a specific plan to reconcile not just mankind but all of creation to Himself. Within that determinism by the Creator, there is much room for free will by the created and in the Real World, “what might be” has its proper dominion there.

    There is a Divine Feminine in God’s plan, but that has always been God’s people taken as a body. This same Body, the Bride of Christ, will also be comprised of God the Father’s glorified sons and daughters through the Holy Spirit. This is what is explicitly revealed (and I could point out considerably more).

    Anything beyond this, strictly speaking, is not Christian at all. It is fantasy, even mythology. Where it deals with the nature of God, this is especially true. And that is where the protest is coming from. It became in the end my chief stumbling block in co-authoring *Realmwalkers with E.V. Medina. What we believe about God shapes everything else we are and do. This is as true in fiction as it is in fact.

    I get around this problem in my Metacosmos because its logical framework is meant to illustrate to created beings who participate in it why *Yehawweh the Undying Song chose *this way and not some *other way to carry out His plan. My fiction to date has explored one of the possible alternatives. Because it *is an alternative, eventually it runs into an impossible and impassible logical and moral conundrum which my chief protagonist the Undying Singer, one of whose many other epithets is Steward of the Metacosmic Tree, has to correct.

    In the broader sense, so far as I’ve observed, “Christian speculative fiction” can take in anything so long as it teaches essentially “Christian ethics”. There are times when I’m satisfied, in my own work, with such a definition. There are times when I am not. And that in a nutshell is why I keep on throwing out or else greatly revising my work, and even questioning whether I should be involved with it at all. Yet working through the conundrums in my speculative fiction has always served a useful purpose in helping me to understand and deal with fact. The very act of creating and resolving logical conundrums which result by asking “what if” is therapeutic in a sense. Carl Jung would rightly call it working with the “archetypes” of my mind, and, I would add, discerning what influences them (whether God or “the world, the flesh and the Devil”).

    There are reasons why you chose the logical framework you did. I can’t guess them, but if you’re anything like me, they have to do at the core with where you are in understanding the Real World and God’s purposes in it.

    • John wrote: “Anything beyond this, strictly speaking, is not Christian at all. It is fantasy…”

      Yes. Exactly. But somehow “it’s a fantasy novel” isn’t enough for some people. They don’t want the Christian label on it if the storyworld people are not actual Jesus followers.

      Yet if I take the “Christian” label off, I am sure to be blasted by the irreligious for putting such blatant Christian ethics in my book.

      Either the “Christian fiction” label needs to encompass stories like mine (and lots of others, including series by Becky Minor, Karen Hancock, and Jill Williamson), or we need a different label for stories that are Christianish but with a different savior figure. Don’t know about anyone else, but I prefer the former solution.

      • I think the former solution is that promoted by Marcher Lord Press, now Enclave Publishing. I also think it is the better of the two solutions. But let us understand: it is the syncretism between different logical frameworks which raises the problem in the first place.

  3. Thanks for this, Kristen. I have a similar world where the Jesus figure in the story is a woman. There are plenty of men in the book–but it’s the woman who carries the regenerating power of the world.

    A great series for this is The Chronicles of Pellinor, in which the world’s “messiah” happens to be a female figure who goes through all the same trials as any sacrificial hero should in order to save her world. Have you read it? If not, you would no doubt enjoy.

    As a child I was taught to reject any story that had a woman standing in the place of the “masculine” savior. In my later years, I’ve come to realize that God could have, should he have chosen to, allowed the Fall to play out the opposite way (with man being deceived) and that Jesus could have been female. He did not choose to do this . . . but “did not” does not equal “could not.” At least, not as far as I can tell.

    Overall, I think you are right on when you say our fiction has Christian elements, but it’s not a strict duplicate. I’ve read a lot of books that are strict duplicates … and sometimes they get so bogged down being duplicative (and avoid all the theological criticisms ahead of time) that they no longer serve the purpose I believe spec fiction can serve: putting truth in a new context that allows us to see it with fresh eyes.

    Keep writing with such boldness, my friend. Can’t wait to read the book.

    • Thank you, Lisa! I have read the first Pellinor book, but not the whole series. Too many books, too little time…

      It seems to me there’s room in Christian SpecFic for both the strict duplicate stories and stories like yours and mine. Looking forward to seeing yours! 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on The Chronicles of Johanan Rakkav and commented:
    This is intriguing enough that I want to be able to go back and find it, and comment further on this blog concerning the deeper issues involved – once I figure out what my own reply really means to “the beam in my own eye”! 😀

    • I got copy of this post from NAF. I am not trying to be your worst critic. I just am astounded that you find something based on your comment so intriguing. There are enough similarities from a Biblical perspective that flies in the face of why you objected to Veronica’s desire for certain Biblical misguided conceptions in Realmwalkers. Trinitarian REALLY JOHN? And women in powerful roles? Have you replaced Realmwalker’s with some other misguided “Christian ” fantasy world? This saddens me. Instead of seeking other “Christian” authors and their beliefs under the guise of Godly Christian fiction, maybe you should reconsider not writing any fiction. Seems you may be blurring the boundaries you in your position in our Church are not clear on anymore. Remember what you have admonished some of us about where following the Truth where it leads us is concerned. If you want us to believe you , you must walk and talk a path that supports that .
      You know what the truth is, why do you find the need to seek out misguided ideas ? We are called to come out of that world. Maybe that’s why God keeps pointing me in all these places. Stop and ask if this is Truth before you jump in over your head. You will drown.
      Yisraela

    • Reword… I got copy of this from your blog site. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise . How many in Chirvh subscribe to your blog where they had access to seeing this ? Just the replies alone about Trinities and Wicca and women being in roles that are not what we believe. Guard yourself . You are affecting more than just you .
      Yisraela

  5. Wicca has a female “Trinity.” In the context of a matriarchal society, you could get by with God the Parent and God the Holy Ghost being represented as female, and the society expecting a female messiah, but you really can’t do a God-Woman. Both male and female are created in God’s image, but it is against God’s nature for God to come to us in female human flesh for scientific reasons. The God-Human is male because only males have both male and female properties, being XY. “It’s Fantasy” doesn’t excuse a Christian for misrepresenting our Lord’s gender. A novel castrating my Lord is deeply offensive to me, so sorry if I’ve not said this kindly and politely enough.

    So you can appreciate who is saying this, I’ve written a science Fantasy where a matriarchal society has misrepresented God as female and was expecting a female messiah and instead get a female John the Baptist, sent to preach a very male Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I have another series where a Man-AI and his bride can be flipped on a dime, symbolically, regarding whether which one represents Adam/Eve and which one represents Christ/the Holy Spirit, but neither one are presented as actually being God. Again, I only mentioned that so you could better put my comment in the context of who I am.

    Also, Travis has a few valid points, but he makes an error based on patriarchal societies’ world view. It’s not necessary to change who is physically stronger in a matriarchal society but to change that society’s source of power to feminine strengths, especially to maternity. Males being physical stronger would be seen as a sign a male is designed for a slave’s task of protecting and providing for his superior, the Mother, and her children, and males would be sorely oppressed. Whenever Mother threatening a son with Hell wasn’t enough to keep him in line, then his well-behaved male relations would. It’s quite common for any group of oppressed people to be subjugated most directly by traitorous members of their own group.

    If any faith should lead to an egalitarian society, it is the genuine Christianity with its servant-leaders and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God the Mother and God the Daughter is an insult to God the same way someone misrepresenting a woman as a man would be, but I expect you didn’t realize Christ is human enough for the Lord’s gender identity to matter to Him. I trust God’s turned the other cheek, but God the Helper is the only member of the Trinity where it’s at all suitable for Him to be even symbolically represented by a Helper suitable for Adam.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by Wicca having a female “Trinity.” Wiccans have a pantheon. They give precedence to a mother goddess, and they have a father god, but I have never met a Wiccan (and I know more about Wicca than I care to admit) who spoke of a Trinity in their own faith. It is usually dualism or pantheism (in the sense of acknowledging all gods).

    • Andrea, it would be interesting to play with a society where maternal values are praised to the extent women dominated in a motherly sense. But as a point of fact, men dominate in our society because they are larger, stronger, and more aggressive. There is a question of how much of that was part of God’s original intent in creation, but I see a large measure of men being more aggressive at least as being linked to the curse after the fall. Mostly, that is, men are larger and more domineering, but legends of societies where it was the other way around, where women dominated by size and strength, have been many. But not one of them has been shown to be true. i humbly submitted making it true would be interesting. But that’s not what Kristen wants, which is fine.

      Also, Wiccans are heavily into dualism of male and female, sun god and moon goddess, earth paired against sky. I don’t know of any Wiccan trinity (I have a sister into that stuff and I’ve done research). However, triads of gods or goddess exist in a number of other religions (Hindus especially, with Vishnu, Brahma, and Krishna), but none can truly be called a “Trinity” outside of Christianity.

      Kristen’s story probably will be called heresy by some and feminist literature by others. I don;t think either of those labels are necessarily fair. I offered to help prevent that as much as possible, while simultaneously leaving the story as-is as much as possible. I really believe I can help, but Kristen is entirely free to pursue or reject my help as she wishes.

      I’ve just realized how strongly I believe in freedom of expression for Christian authors. There are things I would never write and I think each of us should have that line. But it is not my place to tell someone else where his or her line should be…that is between the writer in question and God.

      Which doesn’t of course mean I will recommend a book that does things I wouldn’t do myself…

  6. Andrea wrote: “If any faith should lead to an egalitarian society, it is the genuine Christianity”

    Yes! Yes, it should. But it didn’t. Why is that? Partly it’s because we are fallen, but partly it’s because men in the early church (not only in the early church, because there are plenty right now who refuse to give women equal standing) said because Jesus and the twelve were men, then only men can lead the church. Never mind Prisca and Junia and Phoebe and Damaris and the rest. Flukes, obviously…

    My society is not egalitarian because the savior is female. They are egalitarian because they have a verse that says they should be, and they honor it. I used a female savior so the church leaders in my backstory don’t have that “only men can lead the church” crutch. I also believe that God could take on any form and use it to save his people. A woman. A lion. A man. Makes no difference to God because God is omnipotent.

    • Kristen, you have just said part of the reason why your society is more egalitarian is because the savior was female because that influences the church leaders if no one else. This is an idea that has implications, whether you intend them or not. Those implications can be muted in a number of ways without changing the story much. If you are interested in doing that…

      • Travis, this book is already in the hands of my editor, and I am sure she’s going to strictly limit how many changes I can make at this late stage of the game. I appreciate your input and the ramifications you’re talking about. And I will keep them in mind moving forward.

  7. Kristen, an alternative classification I’ve seen to either “fantasy” or “Christian fantasy” is “faith fantasy” — indicates there are spiritual themes involved in the story. Just a suggestion to consider, but it seems to circumvent some of the strictly Christian vs. strictly secular categorization.

    • I’ve also considered “inspirational” and “spiritual” as tags. I’ve also considered just dropping the tag and billing it as “fantasy” and taking the drubbing I get from the unbelievers. Something to talk about with my publisher for sure. Thanks, clayfoot!

  8. I have trouble with fantasy for this reason. I would read your book (if I was looking for a fantasy read), but I wouldn’t dare to write a model such as this one. Everything inside me would quell at the idea. When we write off worlds, we can speculate as much as we want to–or can we? It’s hard to say. While we might choose to make changes, even down to physical laws, we are still confined to the creator’s world. We are not outside it. There’s no way we can be. We imagine what another world might be like only from the reference point of this world. Okay, that was a little more philosophical than I meant to be. As far as changing the messiah’s gender in an off world where Christianity doesn’t exist, I wouldn’t do it. Since Jesus is part of the creation of the universe, there could be no off world where he doesn’t exist. My conscience would prick me if I did that, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s wrong for you to do so. As you said, God is neither male nor female, and he exhibits both male and female traits (both nurturing and strength). Your own conscience has to be your guide in this case.

    Nevertheless, all my issues aside, there are examples of women who sacrificed themselves for their people or valiantly saved their people in history. Even the Bible has a couple of instances (Deborah and Jael are obvious examples of a female prophet and a female “savior”; Joan of Arc is an archetype of self-sacrifice, as well). I can’t think of very many offhand, but I know there are more legends than these. I would not have a problem with using a female in that way–at all. That kind of story serves as analogy and isn’t as direct as your construct, so maybe not what you want. Shrug. My conscience and its strict guidelines for me are why I don’t write fantasy. I don’t dare disturb the universe, as Prufrock says.

    • Jill, I do write fantasy, though I honestly prefer science fiction. But when I create new universes, I do so accepting certain theological limitations. I have imagined that it is possible for Jesus to be born into another race, to die simultaneously in human and this other form and still meet the Biblical statements about Jesus “dying once for sin.” It’s kind of a tenuous loophole in Biblical phrasing, but it does not bother me to imagine such things. I don’t have a problem with a savior being born into a different form per se, even into the female gender, but I think such a choice comes with a number of implications I’d be cautious about, as I mentioned above…

  9. If in another world, the redeemer can be a lion, then I can see no reason why you cannot construct a world where 2/3 of the trinity reflects the aspect of the Godhead that the feminine images in our world.

  10. I received notification of this blog by. John or johanan if that is who you know him by. Given what God’s Church teaches, I must disagree with the conceptual premise of the story. We do not subscribe to the trinitarian belief as there is no scriptural bases for this. It flies in the face of what we are taught in the church John and I attend.
    I’m sure you believe what you believe with simcerity. But we are called to stand on truth not pagan beliefs. I must think supporting stories that are Biblically misguided is not something anyone in God’s Church does. I hope you can go further into proving to yourself what the Truth is and where it is. Best wishes for your future
    Yisraela

    • Yisraela, I appreciate your looking out for doctrinal integrity, but I caution you that this is an interdenominational site, with members from several different traditions. In fact, I’m not sure any two of us are from the same denomination, although most are Protestants. There is a danger in insisting that only your denomination holds the One True Doctrine. That we Christians cannot all agree on doctrine breaks my heart, because I believe that if God truly ruled our hearts and our flesh did not get in the way, then we would all be of one accord. But we are not, which is why we have divisions: Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic, Reformed and Evangelical, Trinitarian and Unitarian. The only thing we all agree on is that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and thanks be to God, judgment is in his hands and not ours.

      I’m not sure whether this comment is directed toward John or myself, but as the story in question is mine, I will just say that no one commenting on this thread has read the whole novel. One person who has read it was my pastor, and he approved. So while you may believe, based on what you see here, that my story disagrees with your denomination’s doctrine, my pastor believes, based on reading the whole book, that my story agrees with our denomination’s doctrine.

      As I said, this is an interdenominational site, so we must focus on the things we agree on. I am not opposed to Scriptural debate, but there is no point in clashing over denominational differences. I am not going to abandon the Trinitarian theology of my denomination, which we trace back to the very words of Jesus who instructed us to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19) among other Scriptures. And you are not going to abandon your Unitarian theology, and that’s fine with me. We each have this freedom, to seek God in the Scriptures and worship him in the way that makes sense to us.

      John has the freedom to inquire of the Scriptures and shape his life in accordance with what he finds there. I personally don’t think my pathetic little blog post is going to convince him or anyone else to abandon the doctrine he has chosen to follow. I think John’s comments are simply his acknowledgment that I am free to adhere to the doctrine I have chosen to follow. He supports my liberty in this just as I support his.

      If you truly feel that John is straying from the doctrine he has professed, the place to address that with him is first in private, and then with the elders of your congregation (Matthew 18:15-20). A public forum, especially on the Internet, is not the place for it. So please take that conversation offline.

      Critique of my story concept is welcome, as is courteous debate about interpretation of Scripture. But as the editor of this site, I will not allow personal attacks on individual people’s beliefs.

  11. […] aforementioned controversial backstory aside, the book contains more political intrigue than theology. I once told Jeff Gerke I wanted it […]

  12. I’d really need to see the finished work. I think the danger is that you’re taking a really rich subject and only using it to explore a single issue when it has global implications. Like how would men relate to a cosmic Mother, considering that part of being a man is growing up and breaking away from his mother’s influence? Or would a matriarchy form anyway, since the “masculine” (creating, saving) roles of the Godhead are feminine, and the “feminine” (counseling) is masculine?

    I think you could do this, but you’d really need to go all-out with the ideas and make a compelling world that shows how God choosing to highlight attributes of himself at odds with our worlds is necessary. I’d be worried that I’d open the book and find that you just used that for the single egalitarian idea and missed a lot of ramifications from it. I’d definitely read it, though; I like idea fantasy, and this would be at least different from the usual.

    • Y’all have definitely done a good job of making me look at the ramifications of “hey, if the redeemer were a woman, misogyny would be unsupportable.”

      In books one and two, the focus is on the politics more than the religion. That may change in books three and four.

  13. […] We added 197 new posts this year, but Keven Newsome’s classic, “How to use Onenote to write a novel” from June 2011 is still our most-viewed post. The most popular post published in 2014 was Avily Jerome’s “Why Frozen Isn’t as Good as Everyone Thinks.” The post that drew the most comments was my “Why Alara’s Redeemer is a Woman.” […]

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