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What Will Christian Fiction Become?


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I dread to ask this question, but is certainly relevant and valid.  I see Christian fiction changing, splitting and going two ways--the same old same old, and newer,  more innovative fiction that tells the gospel story in exciting new ways.

 

But the important question is, what do you think?

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In most ways, it's going to do the same thing the world's fiction is doing.

A. Continue to be predictable.

B. Create yet another gospel.

C. Be creative and newer.

D. All of the above.

E. Some of the above.

Or the one the world doesn't do -- include the real God.

 

I don't get telling the gospel in fiction. I thought I did when watching The Chosen, but then it ended up being too fiction. I can see a different kind of story, but more because the world purposely stays away from anything remotely including (the only) God. For instance, isn't it getting hard to believe there is a single scientist who will not believe the Evolution myth? Or, how about a pastor/priest who actually believes the God of the Bible? A teacher who calms a student down by praying with her, and yet does not work in a Christian school? (You may not relate because you don't watch TV.)

 

I didn't answer the question about the mission statement for that Christian writers' site for the reason I almost didn't answer this one.

 

I write fantasy. Urban fantasy. A teddy bear epic. And not a single character will be saved and redeemed by Christ by the end of it. I don't believe nonhumans need to be saved. Particularly stuffed animals. And yet, I do hope it will be different than most urban fantasy today, because some of the characters do/will believe God put them on earth to love one another and to "bear" each other's burden. (Okay, the teddy bear reference just comes with the verse, but I do chuckle over it. And it is something I do hope to have readers consider about Christianity, not as a method to save anyone. The world also teaches Christians are mean, arrogant, stand-offish, cruel...blahblahblah. I'm hoping to get past that one for grade school kids so they aren't indoctrinated into that.) But, I honestly believe, not all fiction is out to tell the gospel, even if it is Christian.

 

I do get that "Christian writer" includes writing academic papers, inspirational writing, how-to articles, philosophical, answering questions for everyday people, (as contrasted to academics), and reflective fiction, (like retelling Gilead's or Ruth's story.) But the first modern novel I ever read was about a teenage Christian girl with a mental disorder told from the POV of a teenage boy who had the hots for her. It's still a good story even though it didn't have the gospel in it, and very impressive considering it is fiction. (It feels very real, although the author assures me it wasn't.) 

 

Sometimes the writing isn't the choices you gave, but it's still Christian fiction. 🥴

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I read Christian fiction. I enjoy it. I feel that, like the world around us, that it can change. I don't know if it will be for the best or if it will go the way of the world.  I believe that the genre will split, depending on the thinking of its authors.  Just my two cent's worth. 

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

But the first modern novel I ever read was about a teenage Christian girl with a mental disorder told from the POV of a teenage boy who had the hots for her. It's still a good story even though it didn't have the gospel in it, and very impressive considering it is fiction.

 

Now that sounds like an interesting story, @Spaulding

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2 hours ago, Spaulding said:

the first modern novel I ever read was about a teenage Christian girl with a mental disorder told from the POV of a teenage boy who had the hots for her. It's still a good story even though it didn't have the gospel in it, and very impressive considering it is fiction.

 

Author Nicholas Sparks wrote a novel called "A Walk to Remember". The story is about a Christian girl, whose father was a preacher. She tried to stay distant from the kids at school and church because she had cancer.  One boy just couldn't stay away from her. It is a good story and it is semi-autobiographical, as are all his novels. 

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I think Christians tend to live in a bubble.  And so long as that continues to exist, media that is made for them will remain inside that bubble.

 

I've been watching quite a few interviews with Doug TenNapel (Earthwork Jim, Catscratch, Veggie Tales).  While he is a but of an abrasive personality  (so totally unlike me  😄 ), he nailed the problems with "Christian" literature - and literature in general - on the head.  The Pre-Modernists allowed their Christianity to influence their writing, even though what they were writing did not preach the Gospel.  You can be a good Christian and not write about Christianity.  All you needed to do is write well, and the underpinnings of your beliefs would flow though your work.

 

That has been lost.  Now, to be a good Christian artist, your stuff has to fit in the bubble.  Just like being a good "Christian" musician, you have to sing the songs that the Christian Music framework has predefined as being "Christian Music."  And that is how you cede the culture.

 

By the way, while my tastes in music are pretty obscure, I find most popular Christian music to be so sanitized of substance and style, that it makes elevator music seem "edgy."

 

Doug also mentioned that when it came to art, the great artists - the ones whose works fetch million and are known throughout the world - they didn't conform to the establishment art community of the time.  The community actually came to them.

 

Not that I endorse being poor, miserable, and bitter...

 

Art, like life, involves risk.  Unfortunately, we Christians shirk at risk, in my opinion.  Not all, but most.  If anything, the lives of Jesus, the Apostles, and those that came after them were nothing BUT risk.

 

Not that this will make anything that I write a best seller, as I see all of my collective works ruminating in the basement of the ultra obscure and roundly ignored.  But it is my observation.

 

(This is what happens when you don't have your morning coffee.)

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Jeff Potts said:

Art, like life, involves risk.  Unfortunately, we Christians shirk at risk, in my opinion.  Not all, but most.  If anything, the lives of Jesus, the Apostles, and those that came after them were nothing BUT risk.

 

I agree, Jeff.  Great art has to involve risk.

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4 hours ago, Emily Waldorf said:

I don't read new books, so, I guess I don't have an opinion. 🙂

Generally speaking, I don't go into the 21st century, but this was a book I suspect you will like. I'm hoping I can find it tomorrow. (Plants in window, so if I turn on the light, it blinds mu neighbor  as she is trying to sleep.) So incredibly good.

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13 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

Generally speaking, I don't go into the 21st century, but this was a book I suspect you will like. I'm hoping I can find it tomorrow. (Plants in window, so if I turn on the light, it blinds mu neighbor  as she is trying to sleep.) So incredibly good.

I'm sorry, I think I missed something. Which book is this?

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19 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

I think Christians tend to live in a bubble.  And so long as that continues to exist, media that is made for them will remain inside that bubble.

 

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19 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

Now, to be a good Christian artist, your stuff has to fit in the bubble.  Just like being a good "Christian" musician, you have to sing the songs that the Christian Music framework has predefined as being "Christian Music."

 

I can relate. I'm a writer who is a Christian aiming outside of the bubble. This tends to upset those inside the bubble, as if there's some commandment that all fiction writers who are Christians MUST write Christian fiction.

 

I have no idea where Christian fiction is heading. My gut tells me it won't really change much, mainly because culture inside the Christian bubble tends to change very, very slowly.  

 

 

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On 10/30/2021 at 7:49 PM, Jeff Potts said:

I find most popular Christian music to be so sanitized of substance and style, that it makes elevator music seem "edgy."

And most of it is about "us"-how we feel, what God can do for us, don't give up, be happy, what we are going through, etc.

 

There's a place for that. We see it in the psalms. However, most Biblical praise was God centered-who He is, what He did/can do. Sadly, there's not a lot of that in contemporary Christian music in general. 

 

That said, it's 10x better than the rest of the junk on the radio today, but I digress...

Edited by RockyMtn Gal
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4 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

 

I gave up on the radio about 30 years ago.  Pretty much for the same reason.

 

 

I gave up on Christian music in the early 80's. Had to get back into it because our new church doesn't sing the old standards. It surprises me how good it has gotten. 

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