What if everyone in the world is born with invisible scales covering their eyes? What if these scales cause us to live in a shadow of the real world without ever seeing what’s truly there? What if the real world is far more magical, fantastical and dangerous than we’ve ever imagined? And what if, in the real world, a battle rages between light and darkness and we are meant to play a pivotal role in ending this battle? This is the premise of the new Jack Staples trilogy – written by New York Times Bestseller, Mark Batterson and myself.
This young adult fantasy series (ages 8 and up) takes the reader on an adventure filled journey that’s fraught with danger and riddled with mystery.
Writing this series with Mark was such an incredibly fun experience. We talked often of the idea that life is far more fantastical than most people imagine. As a Christian I find it impossible not to love fantasy. The bible reads like a brilliant work of fantasy. In fact, the inception of the Jack Staples trilogy was taken from the bible. In the book of Acts, chapter nine, verse eighteen it reads, “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.” As a kid this verse captured my imagination. This guy, Saul of Tarsus was going about killing Christians. Then these invisible scales fall from his eyes and suddenly he decides to become a Christian. His new eyes saw the world as it truly is.
The world is a magical place. It’s filled to the brim with magic. There’s not a single aspect or moment of life that isn’t wrapped in magic. If it makes you feel more comfortable to replace the word magic with supernatural, then go for it. But for me, magic is a far better word. Theologians have tried to boil down the supernatural into something we can understand. But the best magic can’t be explained. I like magicians – scratch that, I love magicians because they stretch my imagination and add to the wonder of my day. But when I say magic, I’m not talking about a really great trick, but the truly unexplainable.
The galaxy exists through magic. God’s hand and breath formed it, but if that’s not magic, then I don’t know what is. The stars shine in the heavens through magic. The world was formed and the oceans separated from the land through magic. There’s a great account of it happening in Genesis, but that’s just an explanation of the events. How the events occurred is nothing but the most fantastical magic.
If you are a Christian and don’t read fantasy or at least spend time reading brilliant works of fiction, I believe you are missing an important part of what it means to be a Christian. If you are not a Christian and you don’t read fantasy or fiction, I believe you are missing a key part of what it means to be human. If you walk through your days and don’t wonder at the magic of the world, then your imagination needs to be expanded. If you are overly cynical, bored or discontent, you should probably do something to awaken your imagination. Go out and experience the unbelievable wonder of our world. Go and create something of great beauty. Commit an act of sacrificial love. And then go and read a brilliant fantasy series. Let your mind be blown. Because all of these things will stretch your imagination, and without a vivid imagination we will never truly find God. Without a wild imagination we’ll only find religion.