So I threw myself on the grenade.... - Input Junkie
So I threw myself on the grenade....|
That can't be the whole story. There used to be brilliant Christian music which was definitely message-oriented, but there isn't any more. For that matter, why are there no modern authors in Lewis' class? (I'm not counting Tolkien because his messages were mostly pretty subtle.)
Tribal gatekeeping shrinking both the pool of in-tribe artists AND the acceptable variation of message specifics?
(Fred Clark's got some pretty damn funny comments on that.
I think at least part of the problem is that a Christian who makes lots of good music and has a song or two about Jesus *doesn't get a record contract with a "Christian record" label*, and doesn't get filed in the Christian Music genre. Even if their religious music is their greatest goal.
And on the flip side, the "Christian record" label tends to value anviliciousness of message.
It's at least partially self-selection.
Late to reply to this, but for the record:
There never were many authors who were Christian in Lewis' way in SFF or its ancestors. I just finished leading a Lenten Study on Christian poetry and it's remarkable how little there is (good poetry, that is) even in periods which were highly Cristendom-ish. The same applies to fiction generally: aside from mediaeval romances, where miracle-working hermits &c. are par for the course, for every work of proto-fantasy where Christianity is visibly, literally true (as evidenced by miracles, divine intervention, angelic appearances, etc.) there are a hundred works where it's just incidentally true that the characters are all Christian. Even C.M. Yonge (of whom there is much on Gutenberg and who was very well-regarded in her day, and frequently cited as a "good" "religious" author) is more about people in a specific religious context than Lewis-ish or Williams-ish intervention by Powers That Be.
Lewis appears just at a transitional time -- SF had already come into existence (and Lewis read the pulps -- he was aware of the field and could write in that idiom) but he can still treat Christianity as something which is "natural" enough (for him) that highlighting it wasn't necessarily the same as pushing it. (I.e. he was writing, in his head, for an audience which shared his belief and was still large enough that he could think of it as his primary audience). This is no longer true in England, or in most of the rest of the world. It would now be extremely hard to write (say) a story about the return of Arthur which fit into a Lancelot-cycle type background and was integrated with some form of Christian eschatology to ground the reason for Arthur's return without sounding more like Left Behind than like Lewis -- the change in context alone would make it too preachy.