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Should Christians Write Fiction?


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I've often struggled with this, and my answer, after much debate, has been yes.  We can spread the Word through our fiction.  And we don't always have to be about the Lord's business in everything we, do we?  I sometimes struggle with why write fiction at all since it takes so much time, and as a Christian, I could better apply my time to something else.

 

But I feel that the Lord calls me to write fiction.  Does that make sense when there are so many arguments against it, am I wasting my time?

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Personally, I don't see any conflict with Christians writing fiction. If anything, I think the world needs more stories and entertainment options told from a moral, Christian viewpoint.

 

Even Jesus used parables in his teachings. 🙂

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I struggled with this question for a long time, until I read The Slumber of Christianity by Ted Dekker. I would recommend it from a Christian perspective, but what I really loved about it was how Dekker speaks the storyteller's language. In it, he explains how God uses metaphors and stories to illustrate heaven and eternity to us because without those images, we wouldn't be able to picture heaven and therefore won't be able to cultivate a longing for heaven while we're alive on earth. For me, it really opened my eyes to the power of stories and the intention for using them. It powerfully illustrated to me what Christian storytellers are capable of doing. Through stories, we can illustrate heaven to readers. We can craft pictures showing them eternity, illustrating God and His glory and power and the wonder of living with Him and pursuing Him.

 

In short, yes, Christians should write fiction.

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Someone already wrote the greatest story ever told.

 

I don't know about you guys, but you can only read that so many times.

 

C. S, Lewis reached a lot of people by writing fiction.  And he is recognized not only for that, but also his conversion and his apologetics.  So, if he can do that, I think the rest of us can as well.

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( Just because Wes has this tendency to pay attention to the wrong words... )

 

I tend to be very cautious about applying the word "should" to anybody, except myself. Yes, there are times when it may be appropriate applied to others, but there seem to be so many, many (ManyManyManyMany) more instances where it just seems like a bad idea.

 

And just to mess with people's minds, that doesn't mean I think that others "should" or "should not" do it. I'm just very uncomfortable doing it myself, most times, and am rarely impressed when I hear it done.

 

As to whether or not you're "wasting your time," I'd suspect it will vary by individual, and vary in the specific situation. Does every activity we do have to have a specific purpose in mind, and if so, what purposes are useful or not? Are we permitted some activity for recreational reasons alone, and if so, how much? Is there value in exploring to find new purposes, and if so, is there a specific line, not to cross? Where is the line? 

 

These are just the easiest questions that come to mind; there will be many more. Some may have absolute answers, and some not. I don't have any of the answers, but I do think there can be value in pondering lots and lots of questions...

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Should Christians write fiction?

 

My first reaction when I saw this title was...

 

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5 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Does that make sense when there are so many arguments against it...

 

Sorry, but what arguments? I've heard plenty of debate over how far Christians should take their fiction, or how explicit we should get, etc., but I've honestly never heard any debate over if we should even write fiction. Where is this debate coming from?

 

 

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6 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Does that make sense when there are so many arguments against it, am I wasting my time?

 

I think there are two things to consider: 

  1. Should I write fiction?
  2. How do I get people to read my fiction?

I think we're free to do whatever it is in us to do, but I also think we should at least be a little reasonable thinking about our intended audience. Jesus spoke in very plain terms when relating his parables, and in very unapologetic language when he preached. In both cases, he knew his audience. He told parables to believers and unbelievers, and used language specific to each. 

I know we have a call to evangelism: 'the fields are white, and the workers are few.' I know it would be easier and perhaps more fun to write to fellow Christians, and there's certainly a place for that. But I also think there's an urgency and our writing gifts may be put to better kingdom use in writing for unbelievers. Knowing that unbelievers cannot see everything we can see, I'm always looking at how others tell stories which can slice through the veil and reach unbelievers.

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6 hours ago, Accord64 said:

but I've honestly never heard any debate over if we should even write fiction. Where is this debate coming from?

 

Back in May of 2011 Mike Duran (whom I think Johne knows) wrote a thoughtful post on this titled Why Christians Can't Agree About Christian Fiction which makes some valid points about this discussion.

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5 hours ago, Johne said:

But I also think there's an urgency and our writing gifts may be put to better kingdom use in writing for unbelievers. Knowing that unbelievers cannot see everything we can see, I'm always looking at how others tell stories which can slice through the veil and reach unbelievers.

 

I agree, Johne!

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7 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Back in May of 2011 Mike Duran (whom I think Johne knows) wrote a thoughtful post on this titled Why Christians Can't Agree About Christian Fiction which makes some valid points about this discussion.

 

Interesting. Thanks for elaborating. I've always found that the "Holiness Camp" is a rather small but vocal minority in the Christian community. Mainly because, well, look at Jesus's ministry. He spent all of his time engaging the fallen.

 

To paraphrase something CS Lewis once said, I believe that the world dosen't need more Christian fiction, it needs more Christians writing good fiction.

 

  

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20 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

I've often struggled with this, and my answer, after much debate, has been yes.  We can spread the Word through our fiction.  And we don't always have to be about the Lord's business in everything we, do we?  I sometimes struggle with why write fiction at all since it takes so much time, and as a Christian, I could better apply my time to something else.

 

But I feel that the Lord calls me to write fiction.  Does that make sense when there are so many arguments against it, am I wasting my time?

 

I must respectfully disagree with one thing you said—any believer should be “about the Lord’s business” at all times, no matter what he or she is doing. The “what” of that matters much less than the “why” or even the “how.”

 

I think if you feel that writing fiction is what God calls you to do, then you are in fact about the Lord’s business when you are doing so, and no, there probably isn’t a better way for you (personally) to be spending that time. God gave you the talent for a reason after all. Would be a shame to waste it.

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2 hours ago, Zee said:

I think if you feel that writing fiction is what God calls you to do, then you are in fact about the Lord’s business when you are doing so, and no, there probably isn’t a better way for you (personally) to be spending that time. God gave you the talent for a reason after all. Would be a shame to waste it.

 

I happen to agree with this, Zee, but the question is do you really feel that God calls you to do it?

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17 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

 

I happen to agree with this, Zee, but the question is do you really feel that God calls you to do it.

 

I'd suspect that it never hurts to reflect and pray on whether our current direction is truly God's calling. Even if it has the approval of the strictest rule-mongers among us, God may have other plans. 

 

That said, being uncertain as to God's calling doesn't mean we're doing things wrong. It might instead be a reminder that regular reflection and prayer can be a healthy part of our spiritual lives.

 

No matter what we do, we'll find some Christians somewhere, who'll disapprove of it. The world will have its share of self-appointed spiritual cops, and sometimes, their pronouncements are even right. Even at their worst, they can still serve as reminders to pray more than whatever it is we're currently doing. 'cuz it's only the account we'll be giving before Our Lord that will really matter...

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8 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

 

I happen to agree with this, Zee, but the question is do you really feel that God calls you to do it?

 

Do you mean me personally?

 

Personally, I believe God has given me a talent for words/writing, so I’d do well to use it (along with other abilities and talents I’ve received) but if you mean did I receive a vision or a strong, specific conviction that I must write fiction, no, I didn’t.

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     I've written many fictional stories, in which Christian beliefs are expressed.  Some of them are posted here on christianwriters.com, in the reading room.  One of them is titled, "See Lord, Here Are Two Swords".  It's a fanfiction crossover between the former TV Series "Xena, Warrior Princess", and the Bible, in which Xena and Gabrielle meet Jesus.

     I posted it in the reading room on July 5, 2019.  So far it has received 512 views and 0  comments.  Any comments from my fellow members would be appreciated.

     Thank you.

Edited by William D'Andrea
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I've heard that an argument exists about this--that perhaps fiction is lying etc. I strongly disagree.

Martin Luther, I think it was, noted that you don't have to always be explicit in your service for the Lord and/or witness. Say you're a shoemaker You don't have to suddenly put crosses on all your shoes in order to show that you're a believer in Jesus. You have to make the best shoes you know how to make, and do it for the glory of the Lord. Now apply that to story-making. You don't have to put Christian-themes in your story or have your characters pray etc. You just have to write your best and do it for the Lord.

 

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7 minutes ago, Emily Waldorf said:

I've heard that an argument exists about this--that perhaps fiction is lying etc. I strongly disagree.

Jesus told moral tales as parables, fiction that told a story which told the truth in a way the people could understand. This approach works for me.

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2 minutes ago, Johne said:

Jesus told moral tales as parables, fiction that told a story which told the truth in a way the people could understand. This approach works for me.

I think it's a weird argument, even without that fact. Nobody expects it to be true. Lying is by nature dishonest; if you were claiming to be historically accurate or biographical and wrote fiction that would be lying. But saying "this isn't true" and proceeding to tell it as untrue not lying in the least.

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3 minutes ago, Emily Waldorf said:

I think it's a weird argument, even without that fact. Nobody expects it to be true.

I agree it's a weird argument. Stories don't have to be factual to be true. If anything, fiction tells us the truth about ourselves in a way mere facts can't replicate. I like that Jesus both spun parables and preached, two different forms of communication, both effective.

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On 11/8/2021 at 11:06 PM, suspensewriter said:

 

Back in May of 2011 Mike Duran (whom I think Johne knows) wrote a thoughtful post on this titled Why Christians Can't Agree About Christian Fiction which makes some valid points about this discussion.

Abraham through Moses (and his older people) had something in common. They were sojourners in foreign lands. (Some were also slaves in a foreign land.) But they all had something in common. Their lives did not shut down simply because they didn't have their own land yet. Abraham, his son, grandsons, and great grandsons, (I'm assuming there were daughters in there most of the time, except for Abraham), all worked, fell in love, had families, and did some things they wanted to do. (Esau was a hunter and Jacob was a farmer, so their choices. Herder became later.)

 

A couple of years ago, we paid off our house. The bank owns no part of it anymore. In the summer of 2020, there was a riot two blocks from my house. Not only did I fear it would spill to here, but I also got some dark thoughts of where this city and country is heading. (I still think it.) But one thing impressed on me from the Lord is even this house, even this small piece of land, (our plot is the width and length of the house plus 16' X 16' of backyard, so not much difference between house and land 😊), even this city and this country is not our home. We are but sojourners.

 

We have a garden out back. We're fixing the house gradually. My number of houseplants have increased. I make crocheted stuffed animals for people who need something physical and comforting during a hard time. I've joined forums and FB. And sometimes I write fiction. Not much different than the world, but oh well. I am but a sojourner. This world is a scary place. And I'm doing what I can to make it less scary. Strangely, the biggest thing I can do for it has never been the stuffed animals or my hobbies. The biggest thing I can do is pray, "Not my will, but yours, Father."

 

And that is the part that brought me back from the panic of the summer of 2020, despite the world having become a bit more frightening since then.

 

If someone has problems with me writing fiction? Get in line. Anymore, there isn't a thing anyone can do that doesn't offend someone else.

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