Before I jump into the Spiritual Factor of The Skin Map, I want to highlight two of the participants of this blog tour. First is Fred Warren‘s blog on tattoos. Personally, I find tattoos fascinating (no, I am not currently sporting one nor probably ever will), but the history it holds in some cultures and the meanings behind the tattoos of people I know make this art interesting. Tattoos are important in The Skin Map since the ley lines map is literally tattooed onto the man who has explored all these ley lines. Fascinating 🙂
Next is Rebecca LuElla Miller‘s post on the opening quote of The Skin Map and the physicist quoted (Quote is “Why is the Universe so big? Because we are here!” John Wheeler). Her response to John Wheeler’s question would be a bit different (the Universe isn’t so big because of us but because God is bigger). Check out her post and see what more she has to say.
Now, moving on to the Spiritual Factor.
I’ve come to realize since last month that I should come up with a definition of what I mean by the Spiritual Factor. There is always debate on what makes Christian fiction Christian versus just secular. Is it a clear presentation of the gospel? A God similar to the one in the Bible? Moral behavior?
Here’s is what I have come up with and will use as the measuring stick when I talk about the Spiritual Factor of the books I read: what about the book brings the reader into a more deeper understanding of God. This can range anywhere from a non-Christian exploring the elements of faith to a long time follower experiencing the growing pains of faith. I do not believe it is enough to have morally good people in a Christian book and cross ones fingers and hope the reader picks something up. I believe there should be some purpose. And I explore how well the author brings his/her point across.
Now for The Skin Map.
I will say I did not see a lot of God in the book. And I think I can safely say none of the main characters are Christians. There was a quick definition of God that threw up some red flags but I’m not sure if Stephen’s intentions were to show this was the belief of the scientific men he was portraying. Here is the quote:
“All the universe is permeated, upheld, knit together, conjoined, encompassed, and contained by the Elemental Ether, which we recognise as an all-pervading, responsive, and intelligent field of energy, eternal and inexhaustible, which is nothing less than the ground of our very being and the wellspring of our existence- that which in ages past and present men have been pleased to call God.” (pages 56-57)
I hope this isn’t his definition of God because it sounds eerily familiar with how the Star Wars Universe describes the Force. God is not an intelligent field of energy. He is a being possessing of personhood.
The only character in the book that seemed to have a belief in God was Etzel, the German baker Wilhelmina runs into when she is transported back to Sixteenth century Prague. His faith intrigues Wilhelmina and you see her considering it.
But that is all I saw in this book. Now this book is first in a series and perhaps there is more to uncover in the next few books. Personally I’m curious to see how the characters (and perhaps the author) show how God is involved in the ley lines and hopefully in the characters’ lives themselves. I’m especially interested to see if Etzel’s beliefs have affected Wilhelmina.
Until I am able to read more in the series, my vote is out on how much of a Spiritual Factor there is in The Skin Map. I sure do hope the direction of God is not towards the quote I have above.