Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pastors in Fiction: "Failstate"

Today, I'm starting a series on Pastors and how they are portrayed in various media, but focusing on Christian fiction. I'll be covering "PG" (Pastor Grant) from Failstate, which I reviewed last Friday. I'll try to keep these posts spoiler-free. 
This shirt just makes me laugh.

I was reading Failstate about the same time that I read The Messengers: Discovered and was struck by the different portrayals of Christianity and pastorhood in the novels. Curiously enough, I discovered that both authors attend the same church denomination that I do. (Which is surprising, since we're a relatively small denomination). I decided that I would cover these books first since they're fresh in my memory.

Anyhow, onto Pastor Grant! (I may or may not taken some ideas from Heather's Walden-Bond Index posts on villains *looks away guiltily*)

Name: Pastor Grant, a.k.a PG

Book: Failstate, by John Otte. Christian Speculative Fiction.

Role: Supporting Character

Personality: Rather cheesy youth pastor who has way too much on his mind. He may occasionally frighten his parishioners with his enthusiasm.

What he brings to the table: His church serves as a meeting ground for many of the main characters (who just so happen to be superheroes). His sermons and conversations support the characters and bring a spiritual element to the story. He also helps the heroes at one point in the story.

Spiritual role: Pastor Grant offers spiritual and emotional support to the heroes of the story. Although Failstate, the protagonist, does not go to him for counseling over a personal loss, many of the other characters do.

Worship/Pastorly Notes: PG leads a very "contemporary" style worship and delivers the sermons. This is a normal action in the world of Failstate. (Essentially, he's not being persecuted or anything else that one typically finds in Christian fiction).

Ninja status? No, not really. PG is very much your "normal" pastor. He offers spiritual advice, but he's not a hero directly. He lacks any specialized skills that would make me consider him a ninja.

Further discussion: 

It's interesting that Mr. Otte (the author of the book) is a pastor himself. I'd be curious to see how that influenced his portrayal of PG.

I would like to know more about PG and how he handles superheroes in his worldview. I think that might be an interesting discussion. Perhaps it's covered in one of the later books.

Overall, Pastor Grant is a supporting character who brings a spiritual element to the story. Other than a couple of instances, he is not directly involved with the characters and their quest(s).

What characters would you like to see covered in this series? Are there more questions you would like to see answered? 

Next week, I'll be looking at a figure or two from The Messengers: Discovered. 


  1. Ok, I've never thought about pastors being ninjas before, but now I totally do. *whips out ninja sword*

    I tend to not like pastors in fiction, mostly because they're usually cheesy and are just there to hit the readers over the head with a message instead of actually being a character. (I have issues with Christian fiction, unfortunately.) I'd love to see a pastor who's just a person and who doesn't preach some huge inspiring message that gets the character off his butt and doing stuff, because it seems to happen in like every Christian book ever.

    But I really like that t-shirt, so yeah.

    1. Props on carrying a virtual ninja sword everywhere.

      I also agree with your sentiment regarding pastors in Christian fiction. I'm hoping to scrounge up some ones who break the mold a little bit. But it may take a little searching.

      Thanks for the comment!


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