Christian Fiction…Or Fiction, written by a Christian?

People sometimes ask me if I write Christian fiction. I always want to say “no,” but the whole truth is not quite so simple.

The truth is books or movies or poems or songs, cannot be Christian. Only people can be Christians. We have gotten confused by the creation of what we call “the Christian market.”

The Christian market is basically a set of definitions used by advertisers to try and sell products to a specific group of people (Christians). In my opinion, there are two great problems with the Christian market.

The first is that it creates the idea that products themselves are somehow either “Christian” or not. This results in the fact that many books, movies songs etc are produced not by people expressing their faith through their art, but rather by people who are writing to satisfy a certain set of “Christian parameters.” I know for a fact that many so-called “Christian songs” are written by professional songwriters who rarely go to church and certainly do not share the faith of the people they are writing for. I know this because I know some of the actual songwriters personally.

The second problem created by the Christian market is that it defines very narrowly and legalistically what is acceptable for “Christian art.” Can you use the word “crap”? Can your characters kiss? Is it OK if your protagonist suffers from an anger problem? These are the stupid questions that are frequently answered by the companies that dominate the market.

My approach is different. And better (what the heck, it’s my blog!). (Can I say “heck?”) At least it’s more fun. And so my take on it all is this: I am who I am, and in my case being a person of faith in Jesus Christ is core to my being. So I write what I want to write, and I assume that, because my faith is real, it impacts my writing. In other words, it isn’t “Christian fiction” – it is fiction written by a Christian. I believe there’s a difference.

I have found that people of faith enjoy my writing. I have also found that quite a few people who would not call themselves Christians, still enjoy my writing.

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One comment

  1. Colleen Hitchcock

    Although the French have decided the gender of objects, we have found the religion in writing. Most writers are going to run the gamut of life from birth to death,from anger to joy, from Heaven to Hell, from conversation to murder. It can’t be a great story without the spectrum of life and all the characters in between. The Bible figured that out long ago.

    The pathetic thing is there are actually people with nothing better to do than write book reviews and bomb books for books they merely suspect they may not like
    or books they have been told they should have a negative opinion about–when there is probably nothing in the book, that isn’t found in The Bible. This is tragic.
    But alas, without a true love and acceptance of others in their hearts and their inability to enjoy and applaud the dances in life, they may find only find great power in their put-down and judgment of authors and books they have not read.

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