Nearly brain-dead from heavy infusions of Calvinism, I decided at last to risk Ray Bradbury’s high imagination.

In 1975 came the release of The Singer, an allegorical retelling of the gospel by Southern Baptist pastor Calvin Miller. The book went on to sell over 350 thousand copies and helped to reclaim the imagination as redeemed territory for conservative Christians. In this, the fourth in a series on the authors who have influenced contemporary Christian writers, Calvin Miller pays tribute to the one who quickened his imagination, science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury. A longer version of this essay along with 16 additional essays make up the recently released book Reality and the Vision (Word).

It was during my time in seminary that the works of Ray Bradbury first fell into my world (or perhaps I fell into his). The scholarly tedium of learning how to be “truly spiritual” can coat all things bright and beautiful with dullness, and somewhere between hermeneutics and apologetics I needed something to wake my imagination to wonder. I had previously told myself that Bradbury was not for me, naïvely assuming that all his work would focus on Yorgs galactically skimming about in astroconvected starships. But after two semesters of trying to find joy in the Pentateuch, I felt I needed to get as far from all things seminary as possible. So, nearly brain-dead from high infusions of Calvinism, I decided at last to risk Bradbury’s Yorgs.

What a surprise! There were no Yorgs. This gentle science fiction dealt only casually with the world of tomorrow and spent its energy analyzing and challenging the reader in the world at hand. I thus discovered Bradbury not on Mars but on Earth, my own address. Yet Bradbury’s Earth was not the one I ...

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