A.F. Roberts Home Page
Of Gates and Crosses
For as long as I can remember, I’m one of those who’s been entertained by comic books and science fiction. Also in hindsight’s view back to childhood, I can recall conversing with what was my perception of God, after Presbyterian church on Sundays. I can still recollect quiet moments after service where I’d ask that Jesus would come into my heart, like they would talk about. I know that at the time I had no clue about the sin of man or the knowledge of good and evil or any of that other stuff. I just knew what I heard, which was that an unseen Lord could come inside a person and abide, and if that were the case, I seemed to want that.
Whether or not that was the official ‘save,’ time passed as it does, without a great deal more thought to it. By the time teenage-hood arrived, I gave a lot more thought to superheroes, to when the next new issues were coming out, and oh yeah, to high school, yee-hah. Some of the distractions a youth can find himself into at such time, led my father to call the family back to church, which we’d tapered off from in the interim.
With the increased capacity from a boy to a teen, I found myself more tuned into the actual plight of mankind with God. Again there was the talk of asking Jesus in. And again, I would acquiesce, this time with the baptism, the church membership, the whole nine yards. Unlike before, as the little lad, I found that the perception of superpowers from the comics was allowing me to grasp the other-worldliness of God inherently better.
And this sense has stayed with me the rest of my life. It would eventually lead to a whimsical notion occurring to me in that very same church from high school and college. And this would be the birth of what has become the Cross Gate series. By this time, I’d ‘graduated’ from comics into reading novels. Don’t be insulted, comic book aficionados, the apple didn’t fall far; my vice is young adult supernatural thrillers, and I see just about every superhero movie that comes out.
I’ve found a certain, great depth to the character development of supernaturals in this material. And I say greater depth because the characters generally have to first, gain an understanding of their other-worldliness; and second, come to embrace it – have a relationship with that which was not known, or even believed, before. Given this genre’s success in books, movies and television; how so many, like myself, just gobble it up – it became my mission to bring this same sense into the realm where God is the supernatural. Where His powers would be intriguing, rather than cliché because they’re coming into people we’re getting to know and relating with. And they, in turn, are learning from and struggling with their bestowed gifts and abilities.
So, is it the goal of this series to ‘reach people for Christ’? Perhaps. If so, it’s to do it in a way that’s left of center, where it’s fun, sometimes funny, and engages because it’s relatable. Not to be seeking ‘the close’ to a bill of goods with a good pitch. It is to activate a reader’s imagination and delve into the greater possibilities and mysteries of God well beyond Sunday church and scripture reading.
Stories from the Bible, both New Testament and Old, can be perceived by many, much like all the fairy tales we grow up with; becoming exactly that: fairy tales. To which I reiterate the aforementioned success of the supernatural category; fairy tales too, have hit the big time as powerful stories, more meaningful perhaps, in their re-boots. People are clearly consuming this trend also, indicating to this author that the time is ripe for a series such as the Cross Gates.
Do not misinterpret my meaning here: I have not waited like some predator to prey, pouncing upon intended targets at the right time. I am as much a part of the fantasy movement as the storyweavers I read, and am truly blessed to have something to add to it. Thus, dear reader, plod onward – open the gate to the dream world and – the other side!