NOTE: My apologies to those of you who received this post by email a week or two ago. I didn’t intend to use it then. I could undo the post itself, but I couldn’t undo the email.
What do you read when you’re bored with TV and want something engrossing–hopefully a book that will keep you turning pages chapter after chapter?
I admit it. For the greater part, I read Christian fiction. Not too surprising considering that’s what I write, huh?
There’s a lot of confusion about what constitutes Christian fiction, though.
- Does it have to have overt Christian content (e.g., someone gets “saved”)?
- Is it biblical fiction (e.g., fictionalized telling of Queen Esther’s story)?
- Does it reflect strong Christian values (e.g., strongly pro-life/anti-abortion or anti-alcohol/anti-drugs)?
- Is it anything that’s clean enough for your kids and your grandmother to read? (no vulgarity or cursing, minimum violence)
- Is it anything a Christian author has written, whether it contains Christian content/values or not?
- Can a non-Christian write legitimate Christian fiction?
As you can see, the possibilities are almost unlimited.
I have opinions, but no official answers. Referring to the points above,
- I hope Christian fiction has at least mild Christian content.
- It doesn’t have to be biblical fiction.
- It should have strong Christian values, but may need more.
- Wouldn’t safe readability by kids make Mother Goose eligible to be categorized as Christian fiction?
- John Grisham is a Christian–or so I understand–but I doubt you’ll find his books in the Christian fiction section of Barnes & Noble.
- I strongly doubt that a non-Christian author could write authentically or avoid incorrect popular stereotypes .
I don’t write biblical fiction, although I frequently refer to Scripture. Some of my books have more overt Christian content than others. They all reflect Christian values, though, and they are clean enough for anyone to read, although several of my unpublished manuscripts are more appropriate for adults..
I’m proud to call my novels Christian fiction, and I’m more interested in the positive effect they have on my readers than I am in the number of copies sold or the amount of money I make. Of course, even Christian publishers have to pay attention to sales, though–if they want to stay in business. So my main concern about earnings is to try to keep my publishers in the black.
If you’ve made it this far in this post–anyone who hasn’t won’t be reading this, of course–I commend you. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about this subject, and I’m not sure I’ve done it justice. But let me share some of my favorite Christian novelists with you. Look them up on Amazon if you’re interested and you’ll see what a wide variety of genres fall within the broader Christian fiction category.
- James Rubart
- Alton Gansky
- Brandilyn Collins
- Steven James
- Deb Raney
- Stacy Hawkins Adams
- Don (not Dan) Brown
- Randy Ingermanson
Making that list was dangerous. I’ve left out dozens of equally worthy novelists whose books I enjoy just as much. If you have a question about one of these or someone not listed here, please ask.
What’s your favorite novel–Christian or not? Please leave a comment. Do you have an opinion about Christian fiction? We’d love to hear it.
I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.
“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.
Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.