I can't take a steady diet of it, but when reading Vince Flynn, I do understand why the Christian reading world resorts to reading secular literature. Most general market fare contains cussing, but if it's used sparingly, I confess it works to establish a reality that can fit the scenes and plots of stories centered on life in this world.
I'm very selective of my reading material. Since most of what I read falls into the Christian Fiction category, when I branch out into worldly literature, there are only a very few genres I'll explore. Graphic "romance" doesn't interest me and actually takes the real romance right out of the story and inserts explicit lust in its place.
However, those of us who've been in multiple discussions about Christian literature have participated in the conflicts raised over the use of certain words and situations. Extremes sit on both sides of the invisible fence that exists to allow restrictive requirements in order to qualify for what the CBA is willing to support and promote.
What suffers from sitting on this fictitious fence or residing on the favored side of restrictions is the simple reality of life. The heart of Christianity reaches out to a lost world where bad behavior and language rule. While in our lives we turn away from those things that serve to drive a wedge between us and our Lord, the world has little knowledge of what constitutes sin. If we can't illustrate a desirable contrast to a life of sin, we serve no real purpose in this life. And for a writer, we have a wonderful opportunity to portray little bits of real life within our stories.
Here's where the crux of the dilemma is exposed. If, as an author of Christian Fiction, a writer decides to write stories to entertain the saints, which is a noble goal in itself, the restrictive nature of the requirements can be less of a problem for both writers and readers. If an author desires to branch out in his/her appeal, it's much trickier to adhere to the requirements. It's not a matter of joining the world's behaviors, it becomes a matter of contrast. An accurate contrast to expose the ways of the world as opposed to the ways of a loving God necessitates giving a dose of reality to the words and actions in the story. The characters must come alive on the pages and be relatable to those who read about them.
I love Vince Flynn's novels. They're thrilling, realistic, sometimes contain more cussing than I'd prefer, but the characters are alive on the pages. Real. It's refreshing to read his stories for that one word: real.
Father, help me to be real when I write. Real. You're the author of real. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.