Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pastors in Fiction: "Firefly"

The previous pastors I've covered have come from Christian speculative fiction books. Today we're changing tack a little and visiting the TV series Firefly, which, interestingly enough, was written by an atheist. 

Name: Shepherd Derrial Book

Book TV Series: Firefly; Space Western

Role: Main Character

Personality: Warm, almost grandfatherly

What he brings to the table: Shepherd Book joins the crew of the Serenity early on in the series. He is involved in their daily lives, including the (often illegal) messes they get themselves into.

Spiritual role: Shepherd Book serves as the "conscience" of the group, many of whom are not religious.

Pastorly/Worship notes: We know rather little of Shepherd Book's beliefs, but he is a Christian. He doesn't lead worship, but he can be seen reading his Bible or performing other pastorly duties.

Ninja Status: Purple Belt. Shepherd Book has a rather checkered past that lends him familiarity with weapons, the antagonistic Alliance, and other dangerous subjects.

At one point, when asked by one of the characters if the Bible had something specific to say about killing he famously replied, "Quite specific. It is, however, a mite fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps." (Perhaps he deserves a higher belt level?)

Further Discussion: Although I haven't finished Firefly (there's only one season, so I'm afraid I'll like it too much and then have nothing more to watch when I finish), I have to say that Shepherd Book is one of my favorite fictional pastors.

For one, he deals with more realistic people who don't want a sermon preached at him, who don't put up with empty platitudes, and often don't want his opinion on things. He doesn't compromise his beliefs often, but he doesn't shove his message down people's throats, either.

Another reason that I like him is that it is clear that he struggles, too. It's not uncommon to see him frustrated with one of the characters for not understanding an issue of faith. His past is somewhat fuzzy and suspicious, as well.

What's your favorite portrayal of a pastor in non-Christian fiction? 


  1. I LOVE Shepherd Book! He's possibly my favorite character in Firefly (except maybe Kaylee). You should definitely finish the season, and then watch Serenity, the movie!

    1. I also love Kaylee! When I get some time, I plan on finishing it up. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I NEED to watch Firefly, especially for that kneecap quote. (Kneecaps are a very fuzzy subject in the Bible, after all.) And purple belts are awesome :D

    1. I felt he was deserving of a purple belt, as it's my favorite color and he's pretty epic. My other favorite quote so far is, "I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you." Thanks for the comment!


Feel free to share your thoughts below. I reserve the right to remove vulgar, hateful, or rude remarks from the comments. Thanks for sharing!