Why is Christian Fiction Important?

Posted: March 23, 2012 in Christian, Fiction, General, novels, writer, writing, Writing/Publishing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This morning as I read Mike Dellosso’s blog dealing with some of the misconceptions about  Christian fiction, it triggered a few other questions. The main question is reflected in today’s title: Why is Christian Fiction Important?

With the writers conference season gearing up there will be an increasing number of opportunities to gather with other writers and “talk shop.” If you are privy to some of these conversations you will notice certain common themes. A large number of people will be working on and talking about  their WIP (Work In Progress for you normal people). Many will be looking for an agent. Others will be commiserating on the fact that they have received yet another rejection letter. And whether the project is a novel, novella, short story, essay, or the copy on the back of a cereal box, another common theme will be the hope that what they have written will bring people to Christ.

While this is an admirable goal, it is not the only purpose of Christian fiction. As I see it, Christian fiction can do any combination of three things.

It serves as a catalyst to help lead someone to Christ. After all, it is called Christian fiction, and one of the primary responsibilities we have as Christians is to do what we can to lead others to Christ. We do it by the way we live our lives, by the things we say and do, and consequently, by the things we write. If our writing comes from a place informed by our Christian beliefs and a Christian worldview, the message will be there.

It teaches us something about faith or reiterates something we already believed. Have you ever read something and had one of those, I never considered that before moments? Or have you ever read a passage that resonated with something you already knew/believed? Something that made you think, that’s what I believe too? Christian fiction occupies the perfect place to do that.

It offers the reader, regardless of their beliefs, an alternative to fiction that contains gratuitous sex, violence, offensive language, and other things they may find objectionable. In short, Christian fiction can simply be a good story that doesn’t make the reader uncomfortable. Of course there may be themes that hit a nerve, but not in the way they are delivered. You may read about a character that betrays another and it really hits home because we’ve all done the same thing, but the vehicle for the story simply takes you deeper and deeper into the story…not brings you out of the story because some bas***d did some other bas***d wrong. And sometimes that’s enough. Maybe we should be more concerned with writing a good story steeped in our Christian beliefs and let God deal with what the story actually does for the reader.

He’s big enough to handle that. If God blessed the work, he’ll make sure it gets into the right hands.

So, why is Christian fiction important? Because Christian fiction is a metaphor for the Christian life writ large. Through the efforts of the Christian author, blessed by God, Christian fiction purposely stands apart. It is in the world but represents something greater. It meets needs that some secular fiction doesn’t. Or can’t. Whether the genre is romance, suspense, science fiction, historical fiction, or any other, Christian offers readers a choice not available anywhere else.

Just like our own Christian walk. That is what we’re called to do isn’t it?

  1. mikedellosso says:

    Great post, Thomas. I wholeheartedly believe our fiction should have a purpose, some driving point behind it, and you give three great ones here.

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