Much of mainstream fiction is filled with bad language, graphic sex scenes, and all manner of wrong-thinking. Considering that, you’d think more Christians would want to read books that come from a Christian worldview–and yet I know many Christians who don’t read Christian Fiction. So why don’t they?
They haven’t even heard of Christian Fiction or if they have…
They think Christian fiction is all based in Bible times.
They think all Christian fiction is sweet romances.
They think Christian fiction is really a sermon disguised as a book.
They think it’s not as professional as mainstream fiction.
They think it’s corny, cheesy, or too preachy.
They think it’s not fun, interesting, or exciting.
They think Christian fiction is not socially relevant.
Whatever the reason, I’m here to say they’re wrong. Modern Christian fiction has something for everyone, no matter what they enjoy. It ranges from very mild Christian content to strong. It has every imaginable genre you could want except for erotica or porn. It ranges from sweet to edgy to even more edgy. It has characters ranging from facing the realities of this life to characters facing aliens or magical beings in another time or place.
So what puts the Christian in Christian Fiction?
In my opinion, there are two things that make Christian Fiction Christian Fiction.
First you have to follow some rules…I know…writers hate rules. It stifles our creativity, right? But without rules there would be anarchy! And that’s never a good thing.
To me Christian Fiction is a label, much like the movie-rating system and that label should mean something. Readers should be able to trust that label when they make their reading choices. The traditional list for Christian Fiction included: conservative Christian values; Christian characters who didn’t drink alcohol, play cards, dance, or gamble; no profanity; no strong violence; chaste relationships that focuses on the emotional side of love, not the physical. In recent years these rules have relaxed. In fact, some publishers have relaxed beyond a point that is uncomfortable for me.
My own list includes these DO NOT HAVES:
Explicit sex scenes.
Four letter words or any other words that might offend my readers
Second of all, there must be Christian content—how much depends on your specific story.
One of the ways I describe the Christian part of my stories is to say that all of my main characters are on a spiritual journey but they aren’t all in the same place spiritually. Some are devout Christians; some are lukewarm and some are even backsliders. And some are not Christian at all but searching for answers. As Christian Fiction writers, we need to help our characters find the answers. And in the process we might just help our readers find some answers they’re searching for as well.
So I hope this post has got you thinking that you might like to give Christian fiction a chance. Tomorrow, I’ll post a list of books that can get you started!
UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!
As a filmmaker, I’ve found the same issues apply to faith-based films. So many people are only familiar with the Kendrick movies or Pure Flix and have no idea there are so many more movies available.
I admit, that for many years I was hesitant to embrace modern Christian fiction. I loved Grace Livingston Hill but was afraid no one else could stand up to her standards. I was happy to discover, though, that there are many wonderful modern authors with great books to read.
So true. And I think a lot of people don’t realize the variety available including fantasy and science-fiction.
I only read Christian Ficton……….A good story does not have to have filthy words or sexual scenes or sex before marriage……when a new book is offered to me I try to find out all I can about author before I add it to my collection. I really enjoyed your thoughts on the subject.
I agree, Linda. Who are some of your favorite authors?