A bit of a firestorm has been whipping up on Facebook and various blogs the last few days over the subject of Christian fiction and whether it should be labeled that way at all. Rather than rehash the thoughts of my brothers and sisters in Christ and further aggravate some pretty obvious wounds I would like to remind us of some basic truths we share as believers and writers who claim the name of Christ. I review on average two novels from the CBA every week of my life. Some are great, some are good, and some need more work. But every writer I have read and interviewed falls into one category – they love God and feel they are doing what He has led them to do. I know everyone is nodding his or head at this point but are we really agreeing in our hearts?
There was a time I spent my life fighting for causes and “taking a stand” for issues. If you weren’t with me you were against me. But now, approaching 54, I find myself leaving that to others and striving more to make sure I am with Him. Some have called for more edgy fiction that challenges the saved and convicts the lost. Other see a place for clean, safe, whatever you want to call it novels for Christians to read. Some are called to write evangelistically, seeking to be salt and light to unbelievers. Other see their calling to be to write to those within the Body of Christ to challenge them to rethink things that have either become forgotten or off-limits.
As for me, I write from the universe of my own experience. And, I write what reflects my personal worldview. “But that’s not a writer’s job,” some protest. We are to entertain and hopefully offer something that touches our readers. The only difference between me and many writers in the general market and some in the CBA market is I know I write from the perspective of my worldview. Many of them are convinced they are neutral, offering great stories totally separate from what they may or may not believe about life, death, and eternity. Since I know the basement from which I draw my visceral reflections on life and the mountain top to which I climb to offer something of redemption and hope I know there will be some that like what and how I write and others who will consider it refuse. So be it.
If this seems likes rambling please hang in there with me a little longer. Yesterday I was prepared to further the discussion of Christian vs. no label fiction with some very willing and knowledgeable volunteers. My own agent who has been in this industry since day one, acquisition editors, those that place novels on that precious real estate of book store shelves, a couple of noted authors, and a publisher were all ready to join the conversation with me. Today, after seeing another round of salvos shot across the social-media bow I just don’t have the heart for it. For now I will keep reading those great stories so many gifted men and women have poured their life into.
Maybe I’ll pursue this conversation at a better time. For now, I have a guy named Rand stuck in a place called Last Chance, Texas who desperately needs to find resolution in his life. Who knows, maybe when he finds it and I get it all on paper someone out there will just read the story, fall in love with its characters and themes, and offer Rand a chance to tell his story to whoever decides to pick it up. Naïve? Sure. Hopeful? You bet.