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My Two Cents on Christian Fiction

For a few weeks I've been praying and thinking about writing a post on Christian fiction. During this time I've come across other blogger's posts on the same subject, I gave the links for a few of them on my previous Roundabout last week.

My main objective in writing this piece on Christian fiction is 2 parts:
#1 to not rehash the same debates over Christian fiction such as book covers or whether or not Christian Fiction books are edgy enough, and
#2 to emphasis the most important point that is seemingly being overlooked.

The most important point that is being overlooked is that Christian fiction is not just fiction. When placing the word Christian in front of fiction, what it is proclaiming is that this book is following the teachings of Christ Jesus, and with that comes a huge responsibility and even an accountability to uphold this.

"Christian fiction includes God in the equation of a story. Today's secular fiction focuses on the underbelly of humanity--without purpose, without meaning, without helping people move to a higher place. Christian fiction lifts a readers eyes to see God's involvement on Earth. The best Christian fiction invites the reader to take a step forward in his/her faith journey. It isn't meant to act as the Holy Spirit in a person's life, or to provide buttoned-up-theology. It acts as an invitation to seek faith in a deeper way."
Suzanne Fisher

Christian fiction cannot fall in to the abyss of thinking we must appeal to a wider audience to sell books, so thus we must compromise and be more worldly. I am aware that publishing companies want to stay in business and they want to be profitable; but from what I've read from interviews with publishers they are sensitive in wanting to uphold a strong standard of Christ's teachings in their books. No Christian fiction audience will ever be in full agreement about what they want in a book, because in the Christian community there are conservative, moderate, and liberal groups. What we should all three be in agreement about is that the word Christian, in fiction, means more than just a noun, it is attributing the characteristics of Christ.

"Christian fiction, like any fiction, is meant to evoke emotions in the reader, to entertain, inspire or to make someone look at or think about something in a different way. It's narrative that is 'made up' by the authors that provokes interest in a reader's mind.
Christian ficiton has a story thread about faith-or the lack of it-in the protagonists' lives. It should be a "good read" no matter what the theme and should also honor God. Some books are more overtly "Christian" than others but it is unlikely that you will ever find a piece of Christian fiction without the message of God's love and grace.
Christian fiction also provides wholesome reading for those who don't enjoy bad language, sex, etc. in their literature."
Judy Baer

I'm glad there are subtitles such as mystery, romance, historical, Amish, young adult, and suspense that readers can choose from. Plus authors have their own writing styles that attract particular readers. We have a veritable wealth of books to choose from in Christian fiction, and it is up to the reader to be discerning in what they will read. I've heard remarks about branding a book in order to help the reader choose. Branding reminds me a little of branding cattle; branding is a mark and aren't we already marked and sealed with the Holy Spirit? If then we are marked and sealed with the Holy Spirit then we are living our lives with the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and it is evident in our voice and in our actions; this then carries over to the writing of Christian fiction books.

"I love to think of my writing as reflecting God's great truths: salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins and healing of diseases (of all types).
Rustle your Bible pages and let God's Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (acronym for Bible!) outline themes of Christian fiction. My prayer is that Christian fiction will run the gamut of experiences to reach the gamut of humanity (from pre-believers to consecrated and sanctifiied saints). We need diversity because we LIVE in such a diverse world!
My three novels have captured the truism of Romans 8:28, God working for good in all things. Even a mother giving away her child (My first novel, An Irishwoman's Tale). Even a rape (My second novel, What the Bayou Saw). The terrible dilemma of saving a son only to lose a husband (My third novel, The Rhythm of Secrets).
My goal is to capture on paper the stories whispered by my muse, The Holy Spirit. I pray that each work honors my Maker and shares the wonderful truths of our Triune God."
Patti Lacy

In conclusion I feel strongly that God is using Christian fiction to reach readers period. Even in a fictional story He can prick a persons heart that will then lead them in to a relationship with Him; and a Christian fiction story can and does encourage, inspire, uplift, edify, and teach.

In my next post I will be writing a piece on my suggestions for newer topics in the Christian fiction market.

Thank you to Suzanne Woods Fisher, Judy Baer, Patti Lacy, and Amy Lathrop of Litfuse Publicity Group for contributing to this article. 

Blissful Blogging!
Annette

Comments

Linda Dietz said…
Thank you for your thoughts! I have been thinking through some issues regarding Christians and what we CHOOSE to read, watch & hear. While Christian authors have a responsibility, Christian readers...also have a responsibility to guard "sensory entrances" into their lives. The verse in Philippians 4:8 reverberates in my mind...and thus, in my soul.
Annette said…
Thank you so much for your comment! I was beginning to wonder if this post was offensive since I'd not had any comments. I'd hoped it was taken in the right spirit.
I agree with you, and I feel we (I'm including myself as well) have a tendency to be desensitized in this era to what we see in any type of media. Also some of us seem to be more sensitive, sensitive in our personality and more sensitive to the Holy Spirit's promptings.
Thanks again!
Becky said…
I agree with so much of what you've said, what you've shared. I do think that Christian fiction is more than just fiction. That there should be something more to it--it should entertain, yes, but also speak truthfully about God, about faith.