The controversy over and about Christian Fiction will undoubtedly continue beyond some of our lifetimes. Praise, complaints, commendations, and condemnations all accompany conversations concerning novels written with the Christian Fiction label. Readers who read it exclusively, readers who've never read it at all or have read very few offerings, and readers who occasionally read a few authors who write it, present opinions in multiple ways. Some hostile, some condescending, some ill-informed and some giddy, admiring, or some giving example-based words of respect for what they've read.
The different purposes of authors who proclaim to be Christians affect how their worldview will be expressed between the covers of a novel. Some have determined God's direction for their writing addresses the general market while others are clearly geared to the Christian market where the freedom to address the gospel in more specific ways is plainly easier.
Let me interject this right here: I'm not talking about "un-crafted" writers. I'm talking about writers who work at their craft and desire to produce quality. Granted, quality is always up for debate. And that quality can be lacking in all kinds of fiction, but to subdue even more debate on this topic, let's forego the discussion about quality writing and assume we're not talking about first drafts and pie-in-the-sky rookies.
It's possible some writers are caught somewhere in the "in-between". Although a sampling of secular publishing houses are less stringent regarding spiritual specifics to do with the Christian faith, others are not. Some of the big guns in publishing (i.e. Simon&Schuster; Random House) have acquired Christian houses to address the market that Christian books occupy. The in-between Christian authors can find themselves in the unenviable position of presenting material "too Christian" for some publishers and "too edgy, raw, pick-a-word" for the Christian houses.
So what? you ask. Well . . . there's this. If we're writing to impress an agency, an individual, and/or an industry, chances are there will be a considerable amount of compromise taking place. Notice I used the word "impress" because this word implies the world we live in. It involves either the seduction or the convincing of another human being(s) to believe in your work, in you. Factored into impressing someone(s) are that person's tastes, desires, inclinations, and purpose for his/her career. If you as a writer manage to gain an inroad to contribute to that career, you move forward toward a goal.
And? And if in the pursuit of your goal you forsake your purpose by altering your work to suit those in your path, then either your goal changes or your purpose does. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. It can simply be a washing away of naiveté . However, if you're left with the feeling of having compromised beyond what you intended, left empty and feel like you've sold out, take inventory and ask yourself for whom you write. Some people will never be impressed with what you do. However, we serve a Lord and lover of our souls who will be pleased with our efforts to honor Him in what we write in obedience to His desires.
Are you a Christian author who writes with no shame?
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Romans 1:16 (NIV)
Father, keep me solid for you. You're truly all that matters in this writing venue. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.