|Posted on August 11, 2010 at 7:13 AM|
Today I have a very special guest blogger, Lisa Grace. She’s the author of Angel in the Shadows, Book 1, the first of a projected series of nine, and conducts a ministry to teenagers confused by today’s highly secularized world, particularly young girls. Though she writes about vampires and other demonic personages—and though I’ve never been a fan of vampire fiction—I applaud her work because I know Lisa’s heart. I’ll let her explain in her own words what led her to this ministry.
Victor, thank you for letting me speak about a topic that causes my heart to ache. For the last several years, the attraction of teens to the world of the supernatural has been growing. Books from the Twilight series (about vampires and werewolves), The Lightning Thief (the protagonist is half-god, half-human), Harry Potter books (witches and warlocks), etc. The explosion of TV and cable series are all attempting to fill a void. My personal opinion is they are searching for the one true God. Not knowing where to find him has them looking in all the wrong places.
I reached this conclusion in April of 2009. As a Sunday school teacher to the teens at my church and as a volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, I saw this age group seeking for eternal love and acceptance in all the wrong places.
Making matters worse, the public school system in many states, in its zeal to keep the separation of church and state, has put such a negative spin on Christianity. Many of these kids, seeking a connection to their eternal creator, will never set foot in a church. As my Pastor put it last Sunday, while his own granddaughter was told an eternal truth about God, she answered, “Well, that’s just your opinion.”
So where do these kids turn? To our media for answers.
The problems I saw at the pregnancy crisis center, the things I heard from the teens going to public school, and my own observations of my Sunday school teens put an overwhelming fear in my heart that we are losing a whole generation. One of my own students said to me, “I wish I could be a vampire and live forever.”
I reminded her, “You do have an eternal soul and will be given an immortal body, but the choice of where you are going to spend eternity is up to you.”
I saw the look of surprise on her face. She had forgotten!
That evening I prayed to God, “Why isn’t someone writing an exciting supernatural series for teenagers, one that has only the supernatural creatures we know exist from the Bible? Showing the supernatural war that is on for their souls? Books that would get them to want to know more about the Bible and heaven and the Savior who died to save their souls? Books that could show them the horror of sin and its consequences before they experience them in real life? The problems that premarital sex, drugs, gossip, and bullying can lead to?”
In that still small voice in which God speaks to me, I got my answer. “If not you, then who?”
I keep forgetting I must be careful what I pray for. I usually get either that answer or “What’s it to you?” You’d think by now I would learn not to ask questions in my prayer life, since the answers usually come down to those two.
I sat down every night from then on and wrote two thousand words a day for forty days, including Sundays and my birthday. I was busy working a forty-hour a week job, volunteering at my church and the crisis pregnancy center, being a full-time mom to my five-year-old, and being a wife.
The wonderful part of writing Angel in the Shadows, Book 1 has been the response I’ve been getting from the young adults. “How did you know what I was thinking?” is my favorite.
Remember how everything was life and death in Junior High and High School? Remember that if you had a pimple, it was like carrying a neon flashing sign pointing to it?
Go back in time to the first time you walked those locker-lined halls. Every page must build a sense of foreboding or excitement to the next event. Kids nowadays can get pregnant and have an abortion without parental permission as young as the age of eleven. The school nurse and a doctor might know, but they can’t legally tell the parents.
My rules for writing about the supernatural are simple. Move the action through the book and dialog. Go short on description. If the Bible doesn’t mention certain creatures, you won’t see them in my books. My creatures follow the same rules they do in the Bible. My humans remain human, though they may exhibit the gifts we know they can from the Bible. Pastors I trust theologically approve my manuscripts.
In the book, I make it clear there are only two groups of high school kids, the saved and the unsaved. Through dialog, two of the characters come to realize they are unsaved; one is an atheist and the other a churchgoer his whole life.
The generation of young adults age twelve to eighteen have music, video games, movies, books, schools, and libraries all directing them to false supernatural worlds and encouraging them to pick their own path. If we don’t start leading them down the strait and narrow path, they could be lost forever.
[Creation apologist] Kent Hovind points out that the brainwashing against God starts at the age of two or three, when they pick up a book that says, “Millions of years ago …” And it continues as they get older. Abortion? “It’s just a blob of cells; a woman should decide what she can do with her own body.” Sex? “All the teens are doing it. It’s okay if you use birth control and get free condoms from the school nurse.” Gossip? “If it helps you get what you want.” Bullying? “Darwin’s natural selection, survival of the fittest.” Kids are being sent into spiritual battle without spiritual armor, and without knowing their very souls are at stake.
I consider my novels a ministry. I will travel anywhere to speak as long as they put me and my husband and daughter up at someone’s home for the night. Youth pastors use Angel in the Shadows as an aid to Bible study, as I touch on the problems teens face today.
Thank you, Lisa. Just as I write for Christian adults who enjoy science fiction and fantasy, with the idea of helping them separate fact from fiction, so Lisa writes for teenagers who enjoy the romantic vampire adventures such as the Twilight movies. I myself have long been disturbed by the popularity of TV shows like Wizards of Waverley Place and Charmed, among others.
Paul wrote to the church at Philippi: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 ).
Vampirism is true. Drinking blood is a big part of many Occultic rituals, contrary to Leviticus 17:10-16. The Hebrew word translated “eat” blood in these verses also means “devour.” However, though the practice is true, vampire stories fail the other tests from God’s point of view. It is Lisa’s desire to change that.
No matter what they say, vampires do not live forever. Neither do witches, just the opposite of numerous assertions on the classic comedy show Bewitched. Remember, they called all non-witches “mortals.” If anything, those who practice the Devil’s rites are even more mortal than the rest of us, for God clearly says their destination is the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15), while we will live forever.
If you want to learn more about Lisa’s ministry, you can visit her website www.lisagracebooks.com. To book her for a session, e-mail her at email@example.com. You can also find out more about her book at www.angelintheshadows.com. She was interviewed by Book Readers Central recently, which I found very interesting. This site belongs to another friend of mine, Janalyn Voigt; hopefully we’ll hear from her in a couple of weeks.
I am so blessed to have a friend like Lisa Grace, a professional with a thriving ministry. She is an inspiration to me as I strive, with God’s help, to make my own mark in the world.
ADDITION: AUGUST 21, 2010
I have just learned that Lisa’s Angel in the Shadows has been cited as alternative reading to the Twilight series, in the #5 position of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books. Kudos to my friend on her new status.