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Melody Green: Finding God in fantasy, science fiction, and mythology

Dr. Melody Green, Dean of Urbana Theological Seminary, headshot showing smiling woman with grey shoulder-lenght hair and glasses in a black suit with blue shirt

 

In today’s episode, Kelly nerds out with Dr. Melody Green about books and stories. Particularly children’s fantasy and science fiction with characters, plots, or symbols that provide insight into the nature of God in Christianity. And how this might provide new and imaginative ways to connect to the Divine.

Melody gives examples of how imagery that’s used in fantasy is already familiar and lets us talk about the bigger picture and the human condition. In fact, children’s fantasy and science fiction stories are the perfect genres for exploring spiritual questions.

In her classes and research, she dives into the themes and messages about God that show up in the popular and lesser-known works of authors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. But her classes aren’t just for those who identify as Christian. Students come from different backgrounds and beliefs, and Melody meets them just where they are on their spiritual journey.

Listen in on our conversation around how spiritual themes in children’s fantasy and science fiction, and other books, films, and even TV shows can challenge and inspire us. She shares LOTS of recommended titles you can add to your reading list. And we even get into talking about Dr. Who and Harry Potter a bit.

Meet Melody

Dr. Melody Green is the Dean at Urbana Theological Seminary and an Assistant Professor of Christianity and Culture. You’ll find her teaching courses there on literature and theology. Melody’s research interests include the intersection of faith and literature, especially focusing on the authors J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and George MacDonald. She has spoken at a wide variety of conferences and published quite a few articles and book chapters on these and related topics.

You can find out more about Urbana Seminary (where you’ll find the classes she teaches) here, and more about the annual Tolkien Conference she organizes here.

Resources We Mention

  • 1979 animated television movie – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • 1977 animated television movie – The Hobbit
  • C. S. Lewis’ Letters to Children by Lyle W. Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead 
  • The Mythopoeic Society
  • Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald
  • The Wingfeather Saga Book Series (including North! or Be Eaten and On The Edge of The Dark Sea of Darkness) by Andrew Peterson
  • The Chronicles of Prydain Book Series (including The Black Cauldron and The Book of Three) by Lloyd Alexander
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • Ursula LeGuin books
  • The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
  • Smith of Wooten Major by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • “Leaf by Niggle” a short story by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis
  • The Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength) by C.S. Lewis

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