Hello and welcome back to Life of Heritage Corner! I’m sorta nervous about today’s post, not gonna lie. I want to make clear from the beginning that this post is not aimed at anyone. I just noticed some things in Christian fiction in general that bothered me and I decided to write a post about it. This has been weighing on my mind for quite some time and I felt it needed to be shared.
Please don’t take offense if you happen to disagree. That’s totally fine! I just couldn’t get away from this post and felt God wanted me to share it with y’all. Think of this as one of Ryana Lynn’s Ramblings *halo* So! Without further ado, let’s begin, shall we?
1| Calling your book clean Romance, but actually, it’s not.
*Ducks as a million books are thrown at me*
*Drags myself out from under the mountain and dusts myself off as I sit on top*
Please keep an open mind here. I don’t mind a story that includes a couple falling in love and getting married, though I tend to get bored if that is the main plot of the story. I’m just not a huge romance fan. But every once in a while, one stands out to me as amazingly good and I so enjoy it.
I’m tired of recommending the book and having to say, “This book is so good, but there’s a lot of kissing in it,” or “I marked out the bad parts, but the message is so good!”
People. I know everyone has their own beliefs about touching and kissing before marriage, biblical or not. And I’m not here to fight that battle with you right now. I have a Bible reason that I didn’t hold hands, hug, or kiss my husband until my wedding day, but that’s for another time.
As a married woman, I look back over books that I adore and cringe. Couples are hugging, patting a shoulder, touching their hair, kissing (though not necessarily detailed), and getting electrocuted…
Okay, so that last one is me making fun of a cliché romance writing technique. *halo* if you know, you know 😊
I’m gonna keep this as G-rated as possible, but writers, words are powerful. Words paint pictures and evoke emotions. That’s not a bad thing! But when used wrongly, they can lead minds astray. Talking with my husband about things I never even thought were issues in writing has opened my eyes to just how bad a seemingly innocent touch can be.
Can we control our readers’ minds? No. Can we be sure that even something written innocently won’t lead someone down the wrong path? Absolutely not. We have no control over that. But we do have control over what we write. My rule of thumb is as follows when having couples (even married ones!) interact. I ask myself, would I behave this way in front of someone? Would I be embarrassed if my internal thoughts about this moment were played over a loudspeaker? Is this something lovely, holy, honest, pure (Philippians 4:8)? If the answer is no…
I won’t write it.
Keep things pure and holy in your writing; you represent the King.
This is not to say I’m perfect. I may have written something in innocence that in hindsight, I would like to change. And I’m not judging you if this is you. We all make mistakes! We need to show grace to each other and be understanding. Give each other the benefit of the doubt! But ultimately, remember Who you are writing for. God is our ultimate audience.
2| Calling God by a name other than His Own.
*takes a deep breath and screams as another hailstorm of books come reigning from the sky*
*Climbs back out of the pile and pants for air*
Seriously, where are y’all finding all these books?
This some is more of a matter of opinion. I get SUPER annoyed when reading a Christian non-magical fantasy and God doesn’t have His rightful Name. *suppresses a scream*
Okay, I get it, it sounds neat, especially if you are writing a world with less than common names. And I have read and LOVED some books where God was given a different name.
You are probably thinking of some right now.
I am NOT shaming any of the books you might have thought of. NOT IN THE LEAST.
THIS IS MY OWN OPINION *halo*
But here is what comes to my mind when this happens. I’m afraid we are trying to trick people into reading our books.
Again, hear me out.
I’m not saying that is the intent. And again, I’m not judging anyone because I honestly don’t think this is the goal of most. But by not calling God by His Name, I almost feel like it’s a way to trick non-believers into reading a Christian book. Are we ashamed of Who our God is? Are we afraid of offending someone? Are we more worried about getting the lost world to read our books that we will hide our intentions under a pseudo-diety?
There are so many Names for God, there’s no need to invent new ones! Pilgrim’s Progress refers to Him as God and the Lord of That Place and the King of the Celestial City (another name for Heaven, which was common in its time). The Holy War refers to God as King Shaddai (El-Shaddai, a well-known Name for God), and Jesus as Prince Emmanuel. I would love to read a book that used more names of God! There’s El-Roi (the God Who Hears) for example! Or Elohim (Creator), Jehovah-Jireh (God Provides), or I AM??? There are so many others and I’m just scratching the surface with some basic ones!
I’m not against fantasy (as long as it’s a non-magical, totally different subject, please don’t hurt me 😉), and I will still read books that include different names for God as long as the book is Biblically sound. But if I ever write a fantasy, well, let’s just say that I am gonna have fun picking just the right name from God’s long list of Majestic and Awesome Names!
3| Writing “clean” books.
*Lowers my hands when nothing happens*
*Gets hit in the head by a few books*
Well, at least it wasn’t a mountain this time!
I love clean books. Don’t get me wrong. I love my middle-grade Scholastic books about soldiers and marines or animals or whatever the topic was. I love them!
But I just want to give a friendly little warning.
We are Christian writers, right? We don’t just write for pleasure or profit, though those tend to come with the territory. We write with a higher purpose. We write for Someone.
And that Someone is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Master Author.
The Creator of the Universe.
The God Who literally is giving you the ability to breathe, read this post, or have it read to you.
Um, the One Who blessed you with the ability and desire to write.
The One Who gave you readers in the first place.
Need I continue?
We don’t write for ourselves. We write for Him. And as such, it’s a shame when we waste our talents writing “good books.” There’s so much more to writing than that! Yes, we need clean, but we need Light! A lantern is useless without the flame! Salt is no good left in the shaker! The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12)! And He said to us in Matthew 5:14 &16, “Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
There is so much to unpack here.
Notice first that word light. It’s not saying that we are Jesus or a god. It is referring to us being a reflection of Christ, like the moon is to the sun. He is the Son, we are the moon (yes, that spelling is intentional 😉). We are to reflect Christ so they can see our…
It says it right there.
What do we call our books?
Our WORKS in progress.
Our good works. God didn’t give you the ability to write so people could read it and pat us on the back. He gave us the ability so we can show people our talent and GIVE. GOD. GLORY! That is the whole point of writing! That is why we suffer through the agony of writing, revising, beta reader comments, and editor feedback. And we can’t forget those reviewers either.
It's all for God’s Glory! Not our own! What a high calling and privilege! What an honor and responsibility!
See why writing clean fiction just doesn’t cut it?
Write with purpose. Write the Light into your story and don’t disguise it with a bushel basket! LET IT SHINE AND BURN THAT BASKET OF SATAN!
*0.0 clears throat again as I step off my soapbox*
That’s all I have for you today. I sincerely hope this has been a blessing or an encouragement to someone. I don’t know why God wanted me to write this. I honestly don’t. But please think over what has been said and see how God can use it in your life!
Did I miss anything? What are your thoughts on the matter? What are some things you think Christian Authors need to improve in? Comment below (keep it Christ-honoring please and no calling anyone out by book or name)!
Have a Blessed Day and God Bless America!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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