UF Author Kicked Out of Church for writing about vampires

author-photo-high-res1Author of Staked, J.F. Lewis was recently kicked out of his non-denomiational church for writing about vampires, “committing the sins contained within it”, aiming the book at children, and teaching and encouraging the use of vulgarities.

Say what? Never heard of fiction?

Staked, Lewis’s writing debut released by Pocket in March 2008, is about a vampire who just can’t catch a break.

lewis1[From Amazon] Eric’s got issues. He has short-term and long-term memory problems; he can’t remember who he ate for dinner yesterday, much less how he became a vampire in the first place. His best friend, Roger, is souring on the strip club he and Eric own together. And his girlfriend, Tabitha, keeps pressuring him to turn her so she can join him in undeath. It’s almost enough to put a Vlad off his appetite. Almost.

Eric tries to solve one problem, only to create another: he turns Tabitha into a vampire, but finds that once he does, his desire for her fades — and her younger sister, Rachel, sure is cute. And when he kills a werewolf in self-defense, things really get out of hand. Now a pack of born-again lycanthropes is out for holy retribution, while Tabitha and Rachel have their own agendas — which may or may not include helping Eric stay in one piece.

All Eric wants to do is run his strip club, drink a little blood, and be left alone. Instead, he must survive car crashes, enchanted bullets, sunlight, sex magic, and werewolves on ice — not to mention his own nasty temper and forgetfulness.

Because being undead isn’t easy, but it sure beats the alternative.

More on this bizarre story at Asimovs.com forum.
Show the author some support and visit his website.
Lewis can also be found at A League of Reluctant Adults.

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31 comments on “UF Author Kicked Out of Church for writing about vampires

  1. I’m a christian who reads paranormal. I haven’t read Jeremy’s book yet, but i think its knowing the difference between reality and fantasy. Seriously.

  2. Quite true… unfortunately.

    Thanks for posting this, Lyndsay! As I’ve told some of the nice folks that have emailed me, I was tired of feeling ashamed about it and being worried that people would find out and think poorly of me or something.

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  4. I heard about this when Jeremy’s blood pressure was still in triple digits (I’m part of his writing group). I’m still just as steamed. In particular by the “in old testament times” comment. All I could think was “And which of you picks up the first rock?”

    I’m a Christian, raised in a Christian family, and my daddy was a Southern Baptist preacher. Somehow, even with this potential disadvantage, I could tell that “Staked” was fiction (as well as a great read).

  5. I’m a Christian and I write about vampires. It’s called fiction and you bet your ass I’m not ashamed (yup, there are vulgarities in my books, too). I’m stunned to hear about this church’s decision. Did they not know that CS Lewis, a devout Christian, wrote the Narnia Chronicles (with witches and magic and mythical creaturs, gasp!). Or that J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings and a giant among fantasy writers, was also a Christian?

    Fiction writing is fiction writing, and personal faith is personal faith. It’s not a betrayal of one to have the other. JF Lewis, here’s raising a glass to you and hoping your faith helps you through the irrational decision of your church.

  6. Hell, I would buy the book now just for this news to support you in what amounts to censorship, bullying and intimidation (what it all amounts to when you get down to it). Since I already own the book (and enjoyed!), I’ll instead purchase it for a friend (or three).

    To be honest, I feel sad for the church because this is not going to help them in the long run to be so…”judgemental” over something as simple as fiction. This presents an image that most christians are not, but seems to be getting louder every day.

    Sorry. End of rant. Hit me on a sore spot after listening to various in my area being told similar things by their churches or parents ect.

  7. So I’m surprised folk are surprised.

    Christianity is the religion (or is supposed to be) founded by Jesus Christ. The one quoted in Matthew 5:27 & 28? where it says to look on a woman and lust after her is to commit adultery with her in your heart? and there’s no premarital sex, there’s no erotica in your books right?

    Of course there is! So don’t trip out that a Church actually has the balls to stand up for what they believe and say someone who claims to be a follower of Christ should actually endorse the belief system that speaks against sin rather than promotes it!

    And the author who mentioned Tolkien and Lewis. Have you ever read Tolkien and Lewis?

    I don’t see a bunch of naked elves and hobbits getting it on! Nor do you see the talking animals fornicating in the woods!

    I for one applaud the Church for taking a stand. But I mean, why would they need to read the book? the main protagonist runs a Strip club? Is in a relationship but lusts after the sister? sheesh.

    The shame is that Christians want to be just like the world and cry foul when someone calls them on it. Why call a Church judgmental when it tried to correct and help someone they saw going astray? Why would they want to endorse fiction that shows lifestyles and habits that would make Jesus sad?

  8. So I’m surprised folk are surprised.

    Christianity is the religion (or is supposed to be) founded by Jesus Christ. The one quoted in Matthew 5:27 & 28? where it says to look on a woman and lust after her is to commit adultery with her in your heart? and there’s no premarital sex, there’s no erotica in your books right?

    Of course there is! So don’t trip out that a Church actually has the balls to stand up for what they believe and say someone who claims to be a follower of Christ should actually endorse the belief system that speaks against sin rather than promotes it!

    And the author who mentioned Tolkien and Lewis. Have you ever read Tolkien and Lewis?

    I don’t see a bunch of naked elves and hobbits getting it on! Nor do you see the talking animals fornicating in the woods!

    I for one applaud the Church for taking a stand. But I mean, why would they need to read the book? the main protagonist runs a Strip club? Is in a relationship but lusts after the sister? sheesh.

    The shame is that Christians want to be just like the world and cry foul when someone calls them on it. Why call a Church judgmental when it tried to correct and help someone they saw going astray? Why would they want to endorse fiction that shows lifestyles and habits that would make Jesus sad?

  9. This is not so surprising to me. In Florida, I had a taxi driver ask me if I was “saved” when he found out I wrote vampire books. Of course, he waited until AFTER I had paid and tipped him to ask the question…

    The world is full of idiots.

    Jeanne

  10. Wow! What century are we living in anyways? That is just sad, and I hope that Jeremy and his family will continue to find support and friends to help them through this hard time. My thoughts are with you Lewis family.

  11. “And the author who mentioned Tolkien and Lewis. Have you ever read Tolkien and Lewis?”

    Yep. But are you saying that as long as a book doesn’t have sex in it, then it’s acceptable? Because that’s pretty extreme (ever read the Song of Solomon in the Bible, for example?).

    As far as, “Why would they [the church] want to endorse fiction that shows lifestyles and habits that would make Jesus sad?”

    I don’t remember hearing that this author asked for an endorsement on his novel by the church. That would be a completely different topic. The way I read Mr. Lewis’s story is that the church found out what he’d written and objected to it so strongly that they removed him from their congregation – which begs the question, does that church remove everyone with a secular job from their congregation? What about stock brokers, lawyers, mortgage bankers, people who repossess cars – those jobs aren’t about promoting the word of Christ. Are those people kicked out, too? Because if in Mr. Lewis’s former church – like in most church congregations – the majority of parishioner jobs are outside of the faith-based field, then singling out one person to be ejected from the congregation because their job was considered too sinful smacks of hypocrisy.

  12. Well said Jeaniene! I agree with you completely.

    Has anyone else noticed that “Seraphim” and “Robert Walters” both posted the EXACT same comment? Strange. Psychic twins perhaps?

    I believe something similar happened to Laurell K. Hamilton years ago and she switched religions because of it. I find it so un-enlightened in this day and age that a person should be shunned or judged on a fictional work. It makes me wonder if we as the human race will ever completely evolve into better people.

  13. Robert and Seraphim, you two should meet. You seem to have very similar tastes.

    For the record, Jeaniene is right. I did *not* ask the church to endorse my book. I do, however, remain confused by their need to act after it was published (or rather after it made the local news) and not a year or so beforehand… when I told them about it and offered to let them read it.

  14. mea culpa on the two postings. I didn’t realize they were moderated and thought I’d lost one of them so I tried again under a different screen name. Please feel free to delete one of them.

    Jeanne. We’re talking about morals here. Not fiction. And Church is not a ‘where’ it should be a ‘who’ the Body of Christ. It’s not that what we do ‘in church’ is different then what we do ‘in the world’ we should lead lives that are pleasing to God whatever we do.

    It’s not about secular and sacred, the neat little compartments we place things into so we can make things okay.

    Do you write fiction? Then write fiction. Does it have to have fornication and sex in it to sell? I can tell you it does not.

    I mean what do you guys do with your bible? cut out the verses you don’t like? If your fiction doesn’t fall under Philippians 4:8 how is that okay?

    Did the local body do things correctly? I dunno. Just amazed that folk are surprised.

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  16. Seraphim, by your standard, then anyone who has a job description that *doesn’t* fall under Philipians 4:8 should be kicked out of church? Or is this specific to just fiction writers?

    What about Tom Hanks, outspoken born-again Christian actor…or, according to Philippians, maybe he’s not a Christian, since he doesn’t ONLY act in Christian films playing Christian roles that extol Phil 4:8. Should he be banned from church, too?

    We could throw Bible verses at each other all day (one I’m thinking of right now is Luke 18:9-14) but I suspect neither of us will budge the other’s opinion. To me, it doesn’t seem that Mr. Lewis’s church acted in an across-the-board manner, unless every parishioner who has a job outside Scripture’s standards was thrown out of the fellowship, too.

    If the church did that, I’d actually take less issue with them, because at least it would mean they were being impartial.

  17. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, unfortunately not really surprised. Unless you are doing blood sacrafices during the service I dont see how writing about vampires has anything to do with your faith. I grew up roman catholic but have turned to the study of wicca because of closed mindedness of the christian religion.
    I’ve added your book to my list of books I want to read!

  18. Jeanne, so am I the self righteous idiot, or the sinner beating his breast?

    I don’t think anyone should be banned from Church, but they shouldn’t be surprised when a church wants to uphold morality. now, to me the gospel is I’m too screwed up to ever get it right, and by accepting Jesus free gift I’m a part of the body.

    btw do you advocate the sinner beating his breast should just leave his prayers and continue a lifestyle of sin?

    DO you think there is such a thing? and btw Phil 4:8 isn’t ‘my standard……’

  19. “Jeanne, so am I the self righteous idiot, or the sinner beating his breast?”

    That example wasn’t specific to you. I think Mr. Lewis’s church, in this instance, was too busy looking to the left and right instead of inward. I can’t understand how they thought expelling Mr. Lewis from their fellowship would do anything to strengthen his faith. Unless Mr. Lewis was trying to sell his books in church (and he wasn’t), what was the point of expelling him? Who did that “protect”?

    “I don’t think anyone should be banned from Church”

    We agree.

    “to me the gospel is I’m too screwed up to ever get it right, and by accepting Jesus free gift I’m a part of the body.”

    We agree again – sort of. I see it as being forgiven more than being part of the body, but we might be splitting hairs there.

    “btw Phil 4:8 isn’t ‘my standard……”

    That was poor phrasing on my part. You pointed to Phil 4:8 as, I thought, a reason why the church was justified in expelling Mr. Lewis. My response was then that church should apply the same standard to ALL its parishioners, because if it doesn’t, Mr. Lewis was unfairly singled out.

    “do you advocate the sinner beating his breast should just leave his prayers and continue a lifestyle of sin?”

    I think if you (and I’m referring to the plural “you”, not you specifically) believe yourself to be a Christian, then you have more than enough reason to beat your breast and look upward, versus busying yourself with looking to your right or left to judge others on who’s being more sinful. And honestly, I don’t see God getting any glory from Mr. Lewis being kicked out of church. Instead, I see a lot of people saying, “Hm, judgmental hypocritical Christians, sure don’t want to spend any of my time learning more about *their* faith.”

  20. Hey Cat.

    I agree with everything you say here:

    I think if you (and I’m referring to the plural “you”, not you specifically) believe yourself to be a Christian, then you have more than enough reason to beat your breast and look upward, versus busying yourself with looking to your right or left to judge others on who’s being more sinful. And honestly, I don’t see God getting any glory from Mr. Lewis being kicked out of church. Instead, I see a lot of people saying, “Hm, judgmental hypocritical Christians, sure don’t want to spend any of my time learning more about *their* faith.”

    so. then the question is, should Mr. Lewis have mentioned it at all? or just moved to a different church?

    Or did the ‘church elders’ fear of his work become self fulfilling vis a vi “This is why I left the church to become wiccan….”

  21. I’m a bit behind in this news but all I can say is…Wow! I’m also a Christian who happens to read paranormal. I have the ability to separate fiction from reality though. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly so called religious leaders can condemn something be it a book, music, or whatever without having really looked into what it is they are condemning. And I see it on a regular basis at my own church where I’m a youth Sunday School teacher. The elders there would probably flip out over the fact I’ve read the Harry Potter books and have discussed them with the pre-teen class.

    Jeremy, I’m truly sorry you’ve been subjected to this kind of narrow mindedness, but sometimes these things happen for a reason. Maybe God is letting you know that it is time for you to move to another church. I just hope you won’t allow these people to weaken or doubt your faith. I’ll be keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  22. Jeremy,
    As I told you in a earlier e m ail…you rock and so does your book. You can’t help it if the world and yes unfortunately the church is filled with closed minded people who probably need to look at their own life, instead of judging others. But I agree with the earlier post about god telling you that it’s time to move on to another church. Sometimes things happen for a reason and at the moment we might not understand it, but then a year down the road we say…oh ok that’s why it happened. You are a wonderful author as we all know and we are all awaiting “Revamped”. No fear this will have people wanting to read your book and then they will be just as hooked as all of us are….lol. We love ya and the family keep on keeping on. Your fans will pray for you and your family.

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