1. Hm, yeah. With edginess, whether it glorifies God or not probably has to do partly with the context of the edginess, what it’s trying to communicate, etc.

    When I was younger I know I tried to make my stories a lot more sanitized than I do now. When I handled romance, for instance, I never wrote about people that cheated on their spouses or had sex outside marriage. That was partly because I was younger and probably had less interest in writing complex romantic subplots in the first place. But at that time, I probably saw that approach as more moral, too, or a way of modeling how people should behave. Everything I write is more complex now, though, so each of my characters currently has a different perspective on romance and sex and behaves accordingly. Technically the romance is still pretty clean, with no detailed sex scenes or anything. But there’s a lot implied from conversations chars have and the way they behave, so an adult would probably be able to understand what’s happening behind the scenes. Having stories be edgy from that standpoint tends to help the plot a lot, and for me at least it’s more glorifying to God that way.

    At the very least it shows people how they could handle certain situations in real life, or why those situations happen in the first place. God calls us to sexual morality, for instance, yet we are built in a way that makes that difficult. Many of my stories explore why that is. My version of demon and angel descendants, for instance, tend to have physical forms that are designed to be sexually moral in certain respects. That means their entire culture is vastly different than humanity’s, so when they interact with humans it’s practically like running a simulation to see the pros and cons of human culture vs a culture that is instinctively moral on certain fronts.

    Some of the answers from that ‘simulation’ have been pretty interesting, and in many cases show why God’s design for us is actually best, even if we struggle to meet his expectations sometimes. That is important to write about, because a lot of people question why God would allow us to be built in a way that tempts us to break his rules. So we sometimes need to write in an edgy way to answer important theological questions like that.

  2. Thanks Mark. I knew my latest novella, “Jesus Loves Pornstars” had a purpose, though I’ve questioned myself persistently about how to tell the story in the most effective way possible. I think we’re being naive if we treat readers too gently, wearing kid gloves, and pretending the world isn’t the way it is. It doesn’t need to be gratuitous; it needs to be with a clear purpose. I want to read a satisfying character arc that goes extreme to extreme. This was a great counterpoint to the Altered Carbon discussion.

What do you think?