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Christian fiction & nonfiction > What exactly is Christian Fiction?

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message 1: by Easton (last edited Apr 24, 2015 03:35PM) (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments You know, I see this term and a lot of questions go off in my mind sometimes. I know the answer to the question but I'm curious what others think that is is because like the word church, people have a whole bunch of different ideas on what it means and many times they are in error.

Looking forward to your responses.


message 2: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Mark said: "4. Christian fiction is from the imagination, but grounded in a strong Christian faith."

Bingo. This is the best summary I've seen someone give. This is it in a nutshell. Number three is great also. At least one other person is on the same page with me. I don't feel so cold. And lonely.

Just kiddin. Blessings to you.


message 3: by Daniel (last edited Apr 27, 2015 01:58PM) (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments Christian Fiction isn't just one thing. It might be fiction written by a Christian. Fiction based on principles of Christian living, Fictional accounts of true experiences. Fiction written for Christian readers. There are more options.
I'm a Christian hoping I write good fiction. Because I'm a Christian, there are going to be elements of grace, mercy, justice, redemption, faith, hope and love. These are themes that are important to me, but life is also hard, there is evil in the world and I can't write Amish stories.


message 4: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Mark wrote: "Christian Fiction isn't just one thing…There are more options."

I respectfully disagree.

Christian fiction is really one thing which is summed up in Mark's first response which I will expand upon here.

Christian fiction is fiction that honors Christ from one of His own. All Christian fiction must fit into that category, otherwise it ceases to be Christian fiction. The rest of the descriptions I believe are just details that may help define it in its many facets. But the core is that it's fiction that honors God from one of His own.


message 5: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments I agree in the sense that all aspects of a Christian's life should honor Christ. But, a Christian who is a painter does not honor Christ by slapping a scripture verse on a bad painting- no matter how good his/her intention may be. A Christian who cooks an omelet does not produce a "Christian" omelet. There are things that are worthy of thought and conversation that a Christian writer of fiction might address. If he/she writes a good book, it honors Christ- even if there is no overt "Christian" focus of the book. A Christian writer who writes a poorly crafted "Christian" book may not be honoring Christ at all-even though that was the intention.
So, the question is whether the definition of "Christian fiction" is broad-encompassing Sci Fi, Romance, fantasy, thrillers, YA, etc., or narrow. This is why I suggest that "Christian fiction" is not just one thing. Or, if you prefer, the one thing is: any kind of fiction that honors Christ. Of course if we go with this definition, "Christian fiction" could be written by a Muslim speaking to the status of Christ as an important prophet, or even an atheist who is an admirer of Christ and writes a nice book about Jesus the good teacher of moral values.


message 6: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments I'll gladly go with: "fiction that honors God from one of His own."


message 7: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments Very well stated and I completely agree.


message 8: by Groovy (last edited May 13, 2015 07:55PM) (new)

Groovy Lee | 27 comments I now have a better view of what Christian fiction is thanks to all of you. There are so many definitions but they all make sense. I used to think it was books whose characters talked about God as their strength as they tried to get through whatever problem they're facing and went to church--a book whose main theme is their faith.

But as Karlton explained it further, like the authors he mentioned, I would be considered a Christian writer. I write wholesome romances with traditional Christian values, but the characters talking about Christ or their deep faith isn't a part of my stories, just the actions of morals and values.

I also write suspense where, as Karlton explained, my stories reflect the struggle of coping with everyday life, and the negative consequences of doing wrong--good always win over bad.

So, I'm proud to be a Christian writer of fiction--thanks!


message 9: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Groovy wrote: "I now have a better view of what Christian fiction is thanks to all of you. There are so many definitions but they all make sense."

Huh. Glad I could help if I did.

To continue…

I'm a Christian. I write fiction. Or, in other words, I'm a Christian that writes fiction. Now, the main thrust of those descriptions is the fact that I'm a Christian. What I do is secondary.

That being the case, whatever I do, writing, painting, putting together a website, or mowing grass, should be done with the sole purpose of glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31). The question then is, “What is glorifying God?” I think part of the answer to that is found in Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I run my fiction through the litmus test of those two verses. So as a Christian, my fiction is far from limited. I can write on too many topics to count but I write about them from a biblical view, a truth perspective. It doesn't mean I have to put a Bible verse in there as some requirement. At the same time, it shouldn't mean I should purposely shun it either if it's called for in the story. The goal is not just to entertain but to entertain with a purpose. That our fiction isn't just for a feel good time but part of our divine mission as God's people. When we look at it like that, writing fiction because much more serious and selfless yet still a joy to do.


message 10: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 27 comments you spelled Christian wrong in the heading--glad I could help.


message 11: by Howard (last edited Jun 06, 2015 10:11AM) (new)

Howard Clarke (howard_clarke) | 4 comments Interesting. I used the term "Christian" as an Amazon keyword for my novel, "The Cult Cop," because the book: 1.) explores a subject of particular interest to Christians: spiritual warfare, 2.) because the characters involved discuss the Son of God, Christ at a key juncture, and 3.) because the novel contains no explicit sex or graphic violence, therefore not being offensive, I would hope, to Christian sensibilities.

I think of John Grisham when I think of a Christian author, though his novels do not explore theological content, but actually more secular concerns, actually somewhat humanistic. Yet, I believe he is of the Christian faith.


message 12: by Lucas (new)

Lucas Cole (lucascole) | 3 comments (Disclaimer: I am posting this with the pen name, Lucas Cole. My real name is Howard Clarke--see previous post.)

I wanted to add to this discussion in my role as Lucas Cole because of a novel I wrote depicting a world coexisting with the Millennial Reign. As Christians, you may find this offensive, but I felt I was neither adding nor subtracting from the Bible in writing this--as warned against in Revelation--but wanted to put a spiritual spin on all the zombie crazed literature, and so, I did. Anyhow, feel free to stop by the Lucas Cole Goodreads site or go here for a "reveal" regarding some aspects of the novel, Resurrection Planet. https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog...


message 13: by Tui (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments What about a book that was written by a person who is not a practicing Christian and rather anti-church. The reason the author is anti-church is because of the bloodthirsty history of the church.
But the book they wrote is appealing to some very religious people. The book has deities as characters and these characters are shown as good guys, nothing like the Christian perception of God, because for a start there are two of them. They are all-powerful and all-seeing like God, but the main difference is these deities have small faults so they are not perfect. It makes them more interesting. One is a little conceited, though he is unaware of it and the other is a tad over-stern with the souls in her care, and also tone-deaf to music.
These deities are actually the main source of humour in the story and they are shown to have a certain amount of mild conflict between them.


message 14: by Tui (last edited Jun 12, 2015 10:33PM) (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments Mark, I see I was unclear above. Apologies. It is me that is anti-church and not the book. The book is set 20 million years ago before all churches and before Christ himself, so it would be a bit difficult for it to display any attitudes in that direction.
But it has these "divine" characters - the deities. And it completely took me by surprise, (being such a heathen myself) how Christian readers have responded so positively to those characters, and strangely, especially elderly readers. Those who are closer to the ends of their lives. The story faces death head-on in a way that comforts people. I have an aunt who is a devout Anglican and I was almost afraid for her to read it because I thought she might view my light-hearted treatment of the deities as disrespectful to religion. But she became my biggest advocate and she now makes me feel like some kind of closet "believer." Before reading this book she despaired of me but has now almost forgiven me my heathen-ness.
It is definitely NOT Christian fiction - its setting in a time long before Christ, makes that impossible, but it seems it nevertheless speaks to spiritual people of many religions because of its handling of spiritual matters. And its light-heartedness is managing to not seem disrespectful.


message 15: by Tui (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments Mark, I just looked at your profile and was interested to see you work with animation. You may be interested do know there is an animated film-maker (a small company - neither Peter Jackson nor James Cameron,) who is in discussions with me about making an animated movie of my story. I'm in New Zealand and we have great technology and expertise here for this task. Also as I'm a New Zealander, they hope to get government money to help with the task. I haven't signed anything yet though so its a very long shot, but the discussions are continuing. They have found a German composer who has put time and effort into writing a proposal for the music.
There is an amazing little true story about what happened when my agent sent the story to the film-maker. It might appeal to your view that "God sometimes works in mysterious ways" Would you like to hear it?


message 16: by Tui (last edited Jun 14, 2015 08:10PM) (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments I think perhaps where I differ from you most is in my attitude to the Bible. I think it is a great book but not divine. As far as church goes, to me there is no man-made church so beautiful as the cathedral made by Mother Nature in the native forests where I have walked in my life. My real deity is Mother Nature. However, I'm sure you would argue that she is made by God and if this is true, then God made the forest by working through her. If so, I prefer his "natural' cathedrals of the forest. I feel closer to divinity there, and on His magnificent mountainsides, and beside His great oceans, than I do in any man-made church. The reason for this is that in nature's cathedrals men of all creeds are equally welcome.
However, where I do agree with you, is in my belief in an ongoing spiritual existence and this shows itself in all my writings. Perhaps I was simply born in the wrong era. I should have been born in the time before The Bible was written and before Christ walked the earth. Perhaps that's why my stories are set in those pre-Christian eras.


message 17: by Tui (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments Karlton wrote: "The purpose is the thing. Is it written to entertain, or to teach, or present Christian Ethics and beliefs? "

I thought when I was writing that I was doing it to question Christian ethics and beliefs - not to teach them. Especially the ethic concerning man having dominion over all the animals and the birds and the creeping things. But no sooner did I finish than the pope himself suddenly re-interpreted that ethic to exactly fit with my view of how it should be interpreted. So perhaps Mark would say here that God worked in his mysterious ways, through me.


message 18: by Tui (last edited Jun 14, 2015 08:49PM) (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments Mark wrote: "Yes, I would be interested in more, and would like to hear what you have to say."

Mark, this is what happened. My agent was trying very hard (without my knowledge) to get a film company interested in the story, but conventional film just does not suit this kind of book. It would be impossible to make that way. So he sent it to a small film company specialising in animation.

The film-maker stood in his office overlooking Wellington Harbour and opened the parcel containing the book. He saw two leaping dolphins on the cover. Then he looked out the window and saw something he'd never seen before in his life, the whole of Wellington Harbour covered with leaping dolphins. He immediately phoned the agent and said "Is this a sign?"
The agent replied, "Just read it and see." He read it and has been talking to me ever since about his dream of making a film of the story.

The story has one aspect that might interest a Christian like you. It has a scene that suggests the origin of angels, and shows them being exalted to the angelic state through music. I knew that the function of angels is praise of The Divinity and music is one great instrument of praise. It was the discovery of music for the first time in the universe twenty million years ago, that powers the story.


message 19: by Tui (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments Mark wrote: "I just wrote a twelve part series entitled "Food for Thought" "The One and Only Almighty God" on LinkedIN, if you're interested.
"

I would be interested to read this.I am active on LinkedIn


message 20: by Davida (last edited Jun 14, 2015 10:30PM) (new)

Davida Chazan (chocolatelady) | 93 comments Interesting thread here, especially because it really is different from Jewish fiction. While, to my mind, Christian fiction usually adds things about devotion (or the lack thereof) to G-d and Jesus in the text, Jewish fiction can run the gamut from belief and religiosity, to just cultural references. If a book talks about characters celebrating Christmas, but there's nothing about prayer or Jesus in the story, I wouldn't call it Christian. However, if a book throws in words in Yiddish or refers to the Holocaust or Israel, but never puts any of the characters in synagogue, I'd still call it Jewish.


message 21: by Tui (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments David, that's an interesting angle. I agree about the Christmas thing. Christmas as it is currently celebrated by many people is a celebration of materialistic greed - nothing sacred about it. But it can be a Christian thing if handled as it should be, with reference to Christ. I abhor the commercialisation of Christmas and many other festivals.

I have a friend, a local author who lives near me, who wrote a book about the holocaust and although she is a devout Christian, her book went to number one on the Amazon Jewish fiction list and became a best-seller around the world. She has much to thank the Jewish community for and she is very grateful. She self-published her book but was quickly cherry-picked by HarperCollins New York and has since been translated into many languages.
Like me she wrote a story about music. Her story was about a violin and a Jewish family who owned an incredibly valuable one that was stolen in the holocaust.


message 22: by Davida (new)

Davida Chazan (chocolatelady) | 93 comments Yes, that would be a Jewish book, Tui - because despite the religion of the author, it was about a Jewish family.

On the other hand, "The Butterfly and the Violin" by Kristy Cambron, while it is about the Holocaust, is actually a Christian novel, not just because all the protagonists are Christian, but because the modern day protagonist is devout, and when she is troubled, she reads her bible or takes comfort in something related to her religion and religious beliefs.


message 23: by Tui (last edited Jun 15, 2015 12:48AM) (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments I wonder how others on this thread feel about a book like "Life of Pi" ?
Has anyone read it? Is it Christian? Moslem? Hindu? Because the protagonist of the story is ALL THREE! Yes, he is committed to all three of the religions I've named and sees the beauty and power in each of them. (It gets him into awful trouble with his devout Hindu parents when they find out.)

The whole point of this amazing story is that it's all about the STORY and all religions are simply another version of the story thru which humans like to visualise their worlds. The book itself presents a seeming reality that happens to a young man and tells us the best story about his incredible experiences, although there is another version which is only hinted at, because it is not such a nice story.
As it is, he is cast adrift in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, or is he?
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The book won the Booker prize and in my view was one of the most deserving winners ever.


message 24: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 361 comments I think it is important to not write your novel to be a sermon. Some Hollywood director once said, "If you got a message, use Western Union." People buy a novel to be entertained. You can slip in all kinds of message, sure. But your first promise was to give value for their money -- to write a good book. If you fail in that, then you have offered a fish and given them a stone.


message 25: by Sharon (last edited Jun 15, 2015 06:34AM) (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Easton wrote: "Christian fiction is fiction that honors Christ from one of His own. All Christian fiction must fit into that category, otherwise it ceases to be Christian fiction. The rest of the descriptions I believe are just details that may help define it in its many facets. But the core is that it's fiction that honors God from one of His own. "

A shorter version of this comment: "Christian fiction" is preachy as all get-out.

Which is why I avoid it. Sermons are for church, not for entertainment.


message 26: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Mark wrote: "Anything less would NOT be Christian. "

I am going to leave this thread after I say this: the "no true Scotsman" logical fallacy applies to your statement ... in spades.

Signed, someone who refuses to call herself "Christian" despite believing in Jesus' teachings ... because the word has been co-opted in the name of haters and purity tests


message 27: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 108 comments Mark wrote: "
...5. A safe place for children to enjoy something new without their parents worrying about subject material that could pollute their minds..."


This seems limiting. There are a number of topics I can think of that would not be appropriate for children. There are things in the Bible that children shouldn't read.


message 28: by Tui (last edited Jun 15, 2015 02:23PM) (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments Brenda wrote: "I think it is important to not write your novel to be a sermon. "

Couldn't agree more Brenda. Entertainment is tops. No need to push any barrow. Your values will come through in the end anyway. I can't bring myself to swear when writing so none of my characters do. Why do an anti-swearing lecture, when the characters are setting the example you need.

I did swear recently when I hit my thumb with a hammer. But when you see this photo of my thumb afterwards you will see that I had an excuse:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.ne...


message 29: by Daniel (last edited Jun 15, 2015 02:58PM) (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments Wow, we're bouncing all over the place. Here's a thought to consider. Christians are not just one thing, one color, one language, one denomination, etc. Christians are just myriad people throughout the world who have found a lasting relationship with the Christ. Christians revere Jesus as the Christ, believing He is the Word, the living Son of God, who with the Holy Spirit, is one with the Father. In the beginning was the Word, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He created all things and nothing was created without Him. The Word became flesh (a man) and dwelt among us (in the person of Jesus). Those are very basic Christian tenants. There are many more, but those are rather fundamental. If a writer thinks of themselves as Christian, but doesn't believe any of that, you have to wonder. It might be perfectly acceptable for a Hindu to believe in Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Allah, Thor, Poseidon, the zodiac and Bugs Bunny. Not so for Christians.
So, to be a "Christian" writer, you must have the core foundation of a Christian. I can't write fiction based on any particular religion, if I have no foundation in that religion. I have an active imagination, and I can do research, but having a wealth of information and fantastic story ideas won't qualify me as a member of their club. If I claimed to be a "*******" writer, without any real understanding of the tenets of the particular religion I was representing in my book, I would be sailing under a false flag.


message 30: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments Another thought. A Christian who writes fiction can write about anything, without it being labeled as "Christian" fiction. It might be historical fiction, science fiction, romantic fiction, mystery/thriller, dystopian, whatever. The thing is the Christian writer won't write anything they feel is inappropriate or dishonorable. Does this mean a Christian won't write erotica? Not necessarily. Is there erotica in the Bible? Yes, there certainly is. There's also lust, murder, violence, betrayal, occult practices, horror, etc. You name it, it's probably in there. The thing is, none of those things are the focus of the book. The focus of the Bible is not on any of those things. The Christian writer can write about anything, but they have to pass it through the filter of the WHOLE book. If someone claims to be a Christian writer, but they write books that violate the precepts and principles as outlined in the Bible, then you have to wonder.


message 31: by Tui (last edited Jun 15, 2015 09:56PM) (new)

Tui Allen (tuibird) | 41 comments Daniel, I've always been fascinated by that idea of "In the beginning there was THE WORD"
Words! Words are ideas and words are what we use to create stories. So we start with the word (read story) of the Hindu, the word or story of the Moslem, the Christian, the Heathen the Environmentalist. That religion uses WORDS to create a story by describing their take on the universe.
I'm fine with everything so far. That's what I do myself, use words to write a story to describe my take on the universe. I'm not doing anything wrong by doing that. Nor is the Christian, the Hindu, the Environmentalist nor the Moslem.
Where we start to go wrong is when we think OUR story is the best and only story and we must make others believe ours and not the ones of their choice.
When we do this we're saying,
"Don't think for yourself. Our story is the truth. Believe our story. Your story is not as true as my story"
I believe that humans were given good brains for thinking it out for themselves. We do not need to be told what to think. We should not be lazy and adopt another man's story - we should work it out for ourselves.
By all means enjoy other men's stories - enjoy reading of Christ, Mohammed, Mother Nature and the whole gang of deities, but in your heart of hearts, work it all out for yourself, according to what you feel deep inside is most honest for you. You're allowed to tell others of this. You can even write it down and let them read it. But please don't try to force others to believe what you believe. Let THEM decide for themselves.
Consider a dying child. Now a child is young and may not have had time to do this thinking and to work it out for themselves. I don't believe for one moment that rushing off to have the child baptised is likely to help that child. If I had a dying child and wanted to fill the child with hope about the nature of the spirit and the continuation of the spirit, I would read them as many different poems and stories as I could. Stories from any source, any religion, any author, as long as those stories demonstrated ideas of the nature of spirituality and the continuation of the spirit in the universe.
Because, "In the beginning there was the word" It is the word that allows us to impart hope from one being to another.Because words are only symbols - symbols for ideas, and it is IDEAS that give us hope.
God is not sitting up in Heaven saying, "I reject that child because he is not baptised."
Surely God has more sense than that!
That's what I liked about Life of Pi. The kid studied ALL the stories, and in so doing he found out about the power of stories. Then he made up his own and lived with it.


message 32: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 108 comments Mark wrote: "Andrea wrote: "Mark wrote: "
...5. A safe place for children to enjoy something new without their parents worrying about subject material that could pollute their minds..."

This seems limiting. Th..."


I don't think authors should have to write family friendly novels only. A family may read the Bible together. Say, David sending his commander out to die so he could take his wife. But a novel about lust and betrayal would not be appropriate for children, would it? Because that's a theme a Christian author might run with. And it might not be family-friendly at all.


message 33: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Sharon wrote: "A shorter version of this comment: "Christian fiction" is preachy as all get-out.

Which is why I avoid it. Sermons are for church, not for entertainment."


Well, if that's not a hostile and out of context assessment, I don't know what is.

All Christian fiction is not preachy and unless you had read every Christian novel on the market—which it's apparent that you have not—to give a blanket statement about all Christian fiction is no different than a racist saying all black people eat watermelon and fried chicken. Short-sighted and prejudiced with no sufficient argument to back up your claim. My quote that you cited is not even remotely related to preachy fiction.

And while we're on the subject, Christians aren't the only ones that can be preachy about their worldview. The Golden Compass is by an atheist and that is filled with it. Dan Brown is quite the agnostic and I think that shows quite clearly in his fiction.

Sermons are for those that are willing to listen to them and vacuous entertainment just for entertainment is useless and vain.


message 34: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments Easton wrote: "Sharon wrote: "A shorter version of this comment: "Christian fiction" is preachy as all get-out.

Which is why I avoid it. Sermons are for church, not for entertainment."

Well, if that's not a hos..."


Christians have a legitimate place in the marketplace of ideas. The idea that "preaching" should only be done in church is not in any sense correct. This notion that it might be offensive to have a strong Christian message in a novel is true. It could be offensive to someone, but I find things in "secular entertainment" offensive all the time. Why is there so much filthy language, sex, and gratuitous violence? It's OK to have all that, but Christians shouldn't be "preachy"?


message 35: by Open Books (new)

Open Books (openbookscom) | 3 comments Andrea wrote: "Mark wrote: "Andrea wrote: "Mark wrote: "
...5. A safe place for children to enjoy something new without their parents worrying about subject material that could pollute their minds..."

This seems..."

But a novel about lust and betrayal would not be appropriate for children, would it? Because that's a theme a Christian author might run with. And it might not be family-friendly at all.


I was wondering recently why a lot of people think that sex-related topics are inappropriate for children, but killing, war are quite ok? Military toys, battle scenes in "Narnia" and so on? Giving life by love is shameful, taking life is a heroism? Is it really "christian" approach?


message 36: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Sharon wrote: "Signed, someone who refuses to call herself "Christian" despite believing in Jesus' teachings ... because the word has been co-opted in the name of haters and purity tests "

I'm going to say something that most wouldn't in order to be politically correct or try not to hurt your feelings or some other reason. I'm going to give you the truth because that is what is called for and that is what is loving.

You're not a Christian. You're not even close to God. If you believed in the teachings of Jesus, you'd believe that He is the the ONLY way to heaven, that He's God in the flesh, that your life should be wrapped up in glorifying Him, that His church is precious and that love is the principal thing. None of your responses even hint at that. Therefore, your belief in His teachings isn't doing you a whole lot of good at the moment besides being a witness against you.

I don't know what your hang up is and where your vitriol is coming from but it's apparent that you have a disdain for the church and therefore you have a disdain for Christ Who the Bible says is the Head of the church. It could be you don't really know what the church is (note—it's not Roman Catholicism) but you wouldn't be alone there. Many people don't know. But your interjection into the conversation simply to troll your venomous thoughts towards Him and His people shows your heart contents.

Better that you should ignore God altogether than to use Him for something you value more highly, namely, yourself.


message 37: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Daniel wrote: "Another thought. A Christian who writes fiction can write about anything, without it being labeled as "Christian" fiction. It might be historical fiction, science fiction, romantic fiction, mystery/thriller, dystopian, whatever. The thing is the Christian writer won't write anything they feel is inappropriate or dishonorable."

I agree with this to an greater extent but I'm going to clarify one detail which is writing what we “feel is inappropriate or dishonorable.”

If you mean that by staying true to the Scriptures in ethics, values, worldview, and reflection, poetically and romantically presented through the story, then yes, I agree wholeheartedly.

However, if you mean some amorphous titillation within us that leads us to what is comfortable or palatable to our senses, I strongly disagree. Our feelings should have nothing to do with it but everything should pass through the litmus test of Scripture if our goal is to glorify God and reflect His beauty.


message 38: by Sharon (last edited Jun 19, 2015 06:25AM) (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Easton wrote: "You're not a Christian"

I didn't say I was Christian. In fact, I said I refuse to call myself one anymore. Pretty much because of people like you.

However, you can read up on the No True Scotsman logical fallacy on your own time.

Jesus commanded that his followers do three things: feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted (ailing), and love their neighbors as themselves.

I think you're failing on all three, just based on your preachy post. But thank you for doing such a bang-up job of proving my point. I don't have to read "all Christian fiction" to know that the sample I have read is preachy ... and so are you, as an author thereof.

If you want to turn more people off from believing in Jesus' teachings, just keep on as you are.

Sincerely,
*Rev.* (yes, you read that correctly) Sharon


message 39: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Andrea wrote: I don't think authors should have to write family friendly novels only. A family may read the Bible together. Say, David sending his commander out to die so he could take his wife. But a novel about lust and betrayal would not be appropriate for children, would it? Because that's a theme a Christian author might run with. And it might not be family-friendly at all."

I agree. I think in order to tackle the weightier subjects on the horizon, Christian authors who write fiction have to be willing to reflect the ugliness of the world without glorifying it or betraying the tenets of Scripture. My writing is a prime example of that. My first novel is about an assassin and not a good one.

There are many things in the Scripture that would be deemed “inappropriate” for younger children and yet we are not to hold that back from them. Let me give some examples:

1. The horror and injustice of the crucifixion of Christ.
2. The terror of Revelation 6.
3. The brutality of Samuel in 1 Samuel 15:33.
4. The perversion of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19.
5. The depravity of men in Judges 19:22-29.
6. The rage of Cain against Abel in Genesis 4.

That's a small sampling. All dark. All ugly. All a reflection of the reality in which we live. As Christian authors, depending on the genre, I think it would be disingenuous as well as irresponsible to try to sweep these things under the rug.


message 40: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 361 comments The really great Christian fictioneers knew how to do it. Read C.S. Lewis on what he was doing with the Narnia books. He was slipping Christian imagery in past watchful dragons, baptizing the imagination. He did it so well that there are plenty of people who read the books without being aware of the Christian subtext at all. It's there, like a depth charge in their imagination, waiting for the right time.
And that's all I'll ever do. The deal is, when people give me money for my books, I owe them entertainment. They come to me for a fish, they get a fish. They want a sermon, they know to go to church to get one.


message 41: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Sharon wrote: "Jesus commanded that his followers do three things: feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted (ailing), and love their neighbors as themselves.

I think you're failing on all three, just based on your preachy post. But thank you for doing such a bang-up job of proving my point. I don't have to read "all Christian fiction" to know that the sample I have read is preachy ... and so are you, as an author thereof."


Wait…I thought you were done posting? I thought you left this thread? Huh. Apparently not.

Jesus said to do more than three things and one of them was to love others, even your enemies. So you're proving my point as well, quite nicely I may add.

And as far as being preachy, you're a hypocrite. You don't like it when others are being preachy and yet you keep preaching about No True Scotsman. Then you continue to preach about what Christ said. Uh…pot calling the kettle black? Juuuust a little.

It doesn't matter what title you have behind your name. It doesn't validate you as true. I can wear a policeman's uniform everywhere I go. Wouldn't make me a true policeman. Actually, it would make me a false one and I could get arrested for that. So you can call yourself a reverend all day long if that's what floats your boat. It's just not of a reverend of Christ which means it's an empty, useless endeavor.

That you're here spouting vitriol is a clear sign that you're inconsequential in this discussion because you're not adding anything productive to the conversation. Just another one of the numerous online trolls. Feel free to fulfill your former commitment of not posting here anymore. Trust me. No one will hold it against you.


message 42: by Sharon (last edited Jun 19, 2015 08:30AM) (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Easton wrote: "Wait…I thought you were done posting? I thought you left this thread? Huh. Apparently not. "

So you expected me to leave your diatribe against me unanswered?

Learn to live with the disappointment.

You don't understand what a logical fallacy is, do you?

Let me try to put it in easy terms: you don't get to dictate who is and is not a Christian, a believer, or anything else. You are not the judge of any such thing. And that's to say nothing of your claiming that my ordination "isn't real." My credentials say otherwise and, frankly, I don't know you well enough to bother missing you if you were gone.

And with that, I'm blocking your preachy self.


message 43: by Open Books (new)

Open Books (openbookscom) | 3 comments Some notable priests of our church say that the books where magic is involved are praising Satan in disguise (exemplifying it with Harry Potter). What do you think about "christian fantasy" like the one by Rachel Starr Thomson?
Rachel Starr Thomson christian fantasy


message 44: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Brenda wrote: "The deal is, when people give me money for my books, I owe them entertainment. They come to me for a fish, they get a fish. They want a sermon, they know to go to church to get one. "

What in the world have I started? It's a munsta and it's out of control!!!

In all seriousness, I respectfully disagree. I don't owe anything to anyone buying my book from me except what I put in the description. I write the story how I write the story. Meaningless entertainment is vacuous nothingness which does nothing for nobody. C.S. Lewis even realized that which is why he put the Christian imagery in his stories to begin with. So much, in fact, that J.R.R. Tolkien—his friend— ridiculed him for it. He hated the Narnia Chronicles and The Screwtape Letters. Yet, millions disagree.

The one thing I believe is true is that the Christian whose conscience is being renewed by the Holy Spirit of God cannot betray that conscience to placate the masses for the sake of entertainment without meaning. If they do, they lose the soul of the reason God wanted them to write to begin with.

My 2.34487 cents.


message 45: by Easton (new)

Easton Livingston (eastonlivingston) | 1 comments Open Books wrote: "Some notable priests of our church say that the books where magic is involved are praising Satan in disguise (exemplifying it with Harry Potter). What do you think about "christian fantasy" like..."

Well, it depends on how that “magic” is portrayed. If any magic being portrayed in any book is off limits then the Bible is off limits as well.

It also depends on the definition of “magic”. Magic—as in divination, sorcery, witchcraft, the occult and the like—being presented with an overall theme and view as something good and useful in contradiction to what the Scripture says would be a view that is unbiblical, unscriptural, and therefore ungodly. In that context, they'd be correct.

However—using the same definition—if the magic that is presented in a story is through the eyes of a character that believes it's good and useful, that wouldn't be a violation. Also, if the “magic”—and we're redefining the term here—is not simply human manipulation and force of will but endowed and bestowed, then that wouldn't be off limits as well, especially if the endowment is explained as being divine, demonic, or even extra-dimensional in origin. However, there's no rule that says the origin must be explained in detail.

Lot's of variables to consider but in the end, it all must pass must through the lens of Scripture.


message 46: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Brenda wrote: " The deal is, when people give me money for my books, I owe them entertainment. They come to me for a fish, they get a fish. They want a sermon, they know to go to church to get one. "

Thank you. The point that the LaHayes, et al, seem to miss is that their preachy, holier-than-thou tone is only appealing to other preachy, holier-than-thou people. Fortunately for the LaHayes' bank account, there seem to be a lot of those folks out there. :-/

It is possible to write a good book, regardless of one's faith or lack thereof, that entertains people, sends a good message (about things like equality, for example) and so on without shouting "LOOK WHAT A GOOD CHRISTIAN I AM."

In fact, the people who make a point of shouting such things via their writing would, IMO, be well-advised to revisit Matthew 6:6. There comes a point when what you are doing is *not* about Jesus or anything else but "LOOK WHAT A GOOD CHRISTIAN I AM."

Thus endeth the lesson. ;-)


message 47: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments I think I'm having trouble understanding the definition of "preachy". I wonder if what one person finds enlightening or thoughtful, another person might find preachy.
As far as whether or not it's appropriate for Christians to write fiction that might have a clearly discernible message... Christians are called to go into the world and preach the gospel (good news about how God loves us so much that He sent His son...). There is no "except" to that, as in; except literary fiction or music or dance or theater or...any other form of artistic expression.
The challenge is can we write a genuinely good story, that has broad appeal and brings a little light into a dark corner. If any writer started to write anything with the question hanging over his head of whether or not someone might be offended, why bother?
That being said, there are plenty of Christian writers who can't write a descent story. Some who will bludgeon the reader with so much "message' that the book is completely unpalatable for anyone to read. Those writers won't succeed, just as secular writers who write poorly or who have too strong a message won't succeed, either.


message 48: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Daniel wrote: "I think I'm having trouble understanding the definition of "preachy". "

That bludgeoning the reader thing that you mentioned would be a good example. :-)


message 49: by Brenda (last edited Jun 19, 2015 10:15AM) (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 361 comments Hmm. Well actually that is not difficult.
A novel should be storytelling. That's what it's about. Just like football is about getting the ball down the field to the goal line.
Extra stuff (the cheerleaders and the half-time show in the case of football, the 'message' or the descriptions of space battles or all the great information on whale-hunting in the 1800s in the book) is just that -- not why they paid to get in. The wax on the hood and the fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror are certainly features of the car, but if the engine doesn't turn over, it's a lemon.
Another way to think about it: what wins? If the football players are all devout Christians, opening the game with prayer and Bible study every time, but they can't get the ball down over the goal line -- would the people in the stands be satisfied?
And so it is with novels. If the story can't stand by itself, it doesn't matter how marvelous the sermon I have stuffed into it is.


message 50: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Banks | 22 comments Brend said:"If the story can't stand by itself, it doesn't matter how marvelous the sermon I have stuffed into it is."

I quite agree. I feel the same way about people slapping a scripture reference onto a poor quality work of art. How about having a Christian symbol on their vehicle while they're honking the horn and flipping someone off. Counterproductive and annoying. The issue was whether it was inappropriate to have something "preachy" in a fiction novel The notion being that it was false advertising to suggest it might be entertaining, but if it has something "preachy" in it, then it can't be entertaining. I wonder if different people might not have differing views about what the terms entertaining and preachy mean.


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