A couple of weeks ago I discussed different categories of books written by Christians, and last week I laid out some reasons Christian fiction is important. In this post, I want to provide some encouragement and maybe even a little bit of challenge to those of you who are also Christian authors, regardless of what category you write.
For the “Clean” Authors
Thank you for writing quality books that are safe for all ages. Thank you for exploring deep themes without venturing too far into the specifics of the dark. Thank you for providing witness to Christian values through your works.
If “clean” fiction is what you’re called to, keep doing what you’re doing! We need fiction that’s “easy” and “feel-good.” We need fiction that can be appreciated by both young folk and adults. We need your writing. Keep it up. Keep learning about the craft. Keep improving your work. Keep striving for quality, working not only unto men but also as unto God.
Consider your purpose in writing. Don’t sacrifice depth for cleanliness, if a theme would be better served with more detail. And don’t grow too easy in your content levels and grow shallow in your themes. May our work never be considered “idle babbling”! But hold fast to prayerful conviction and keep serving the Church, glorifying God, and ministering to others through meaningful and approachable books.
For the “Raw” Authors
Thank you for fearlessly exposing the works of wickedness. Thank you for opening eyes to hard issues that need to be seen and addressed. Thank you for using realistic content to minister to people and to spread truth and to ultimately highlight hope and light all the brighter in the end.
If you’re called to be “raw,” be fearless! We need fiction that’s real. We need fiction that’s honest about both darkness and light. We need fiction that reaches out to unbelievers where they are and is honest about brokenness and healing. Keep it up. Keep strengthening your craft. Keep improving your work. Keep striving for quality as you work both to reach men and to glorify God.
Consider your purpose in writing. Be careful to show the light even stronger than the dark. Be careful not to slip into detail for its own sake. But hold fast to prayerful conviction and keep ministering to readers, glorifying God, and revealing truth through deep and sometimes gritty books.
For All Authors
It’s my prayer that all Christian authors, regardless of where on the spectrum we fall, would grow in our knowledge of God, first and foremost, and our understanding of His purpose for our writing; would grow in their knowledge of the writing craft, so that the quality of our work might contribute to more effective storytelling; and would strive to build up others in the Christian writing community, regardless of where we stand on the “cleanliness” spectrum.
I also want to challenge all of you to consider what your passions are outside of writing and to consider working them into your fiction, if you don’t already. If there’s a topic that God has placed on your heart, a cause that you fight for in your day-to-day life, why not combine it with your God-given gift of writing to bring more awareness to it and to write stories that are even more uniquely yours? While obviously it’s not always appropriate to combine the two, I do believe that involving our God-given passions in our writing can lead to richer and more meaningful stories.
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Just as our interests and gifts are used for the edification of the Church in classically “spiritual” matters, I believe those interests are also what will lead to a rich diversity in Christian fiction and, ideally, a body of work that ministers to people of all kinds, should we focus on nurturing those interests and encouraging one another in the writing that we’ve each been uniquely called to do.
And that sort of encouragement is what I’m going to talk about in the next post. Until then, keep pressing on.