Writing excuses

I wrote the other day that all stories have a point, etc. and that those points generally reflect—intentionally or unintentionally—the views/opinions of the author. One of the things that has constantly given me both frequent chuckles and frequent confusion is when “Christian writers” try not to be Christian.

I’m still learning my way around the Christian fiction market, having only become a believer in 2000 but before I go on, let me be very clear in that I don’t think that every person who claims to be Christian must write Christian material. I think it’s probably a logical step in the progress (I want to see the new Pilgrim’s Progress movie! Anyone seen it?) of a believer, but I don’t think it’s a necessity.

However, I do find it funny to hear Christian writers try to get out from any responsibility as a writer. “It’s not me writing the graphic sex scene or cussing, it’s the characters.” This is just laughable. As the writer/author, the responsibility for all material falls on us. We have it within our power to change the words we do not like.

Writers have a responsibility to their audience not just to give them good reading material, but to be the writer they claim to be. Thus, if a writer claims to be “Christian,” then that writer owes it to his audience to write material that reflects that.

“Oh!” we’ve heard them say, “but that’s the way they really talk on the street.” So. So what?

When Jesus spoke with tax collectors, prostitutes and drunks, he didn’t participate in their activities—he pointed out their errors and told them—quite bluntly—to STOP it!

One of the most recent waves of excuses for overstepping the bounds in “Christian writing” is when the writers claim they don’t write “Christian fiction,” but they are a Christian who writes fiction. I do understand the point they’re attempting to make, but the only person they’re really trying to convince of their “rightness” is themselves…well, and maybe their editor who’s sitting on the same fence.

Or those who want to disguise their message and call it “allegory” and then point to the masters Tolkien and Lewis. The first question I always want to ask them is why they are ashamed of their Christianity. I’m reminded of the song pre-schoolers learn about hiding their lights under bushels. J

One of the things I like about the Bible and its depiction of believers is that there is no middle-ground. You’re either in…or you’re out. Smarter Bible thumpers than me can quickly find the passage which suggests God spits out the luke-warm believer.

And I know that, I, for one, do not want to be Godly spit!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Writing excuses

  1. Well, Roland-
    As a fellow believer, I think you got one thing not quite right here and that is the depiction of believers in the Bible. In fact, many of them are real doubters–a la Thomas, and even say so. And while Thomas gets a bad rap for being “doubting Thomas,” there is some truth to the fact that God works through doubters. One of my favorite quotations from the Bible, for it helps me all the time, is “I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.” That passage wouldn’t be in there if it weren’t a significant part of human response to faith. God regularly chooses people who are fervent believers and who have faith, but who also struggle with serious doubt about what they believe and why they believe it. It’s one of the reasons why Biblical–and human–history is filled with glorious stories of folks who have hearts for faith–but minds for doubt, as I do. That’s all over the Bible….yes? No?

  2. Hey Mark,
    Congrats on the weight loss, btw!
    Yes Thomas doubts in the Bible, but I don’t believe it’s “all over the Bible.”
    However, there is a difference in “doubting”–which is a natural event in the progress of any believer–and in just flat-out denial of one’s “professed” faith. Thomas doubted, but he never stopped “believing” and he didn’t suddenly hide his faith. Instead, he merely wanted PROOF that the Jesus the others claimed to have seen was the real one!
    Thomas doubted…but he never stopped living for Jesus. Fine line MAYBE…but there is, I believe, a difference.

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