1. Kessie says:

    One thing I have seen is the effect of popular novels on the public conscience. The real racy stuff, erotica and whatnot, are constantly pushing boundaries. M/m and orgy have become boring, so the hot trend right now is stepbrother romance. (Any outright incest gets it kicked off Amazon.) We see all those things slowly becoming normalized in our culture. As the bestselling garbage goes, so goes the hearts and minds of the nation.

    As a Christian, I see that not only am I doing a service by portraying actual love, with all its bumps and warts, but I have to write something REALLY GOOD. Nobody wants to read a “meh” book. Bestsellers are the ones that grab you by the throat and never let go, no matter how poorly-written they are, otherwise.

    How can we impact the culture unless we aim for the peak, the cream of the crop?

  2. Lisa says:

    Wow, excellent article, with much food for thought. You have encapsulated some of the vague uncomfortableness that exists around this topic and put it into the light, where we can examine it better. I think most Christians (at least the ones I know) are very comfortable with fiction that is “Christian” – has all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed and which provides answers to all the questions that might be raised in the story – and generally, that answer is, “Jesus”. They are far less comfortable with novels that raise questions but leave them unanswered, and very uncomfortable with Christians who write those kinds of books, because, after all, the answer IS Jesus, so why not just say it!

    It’s all so very interesting and I appreciate this series, which is certainly a help to me. I can’t say I really enjoy Christian fiction, to tell you the truth, and I’m pretty sure my novel is a bit more outside the box than your typical CBA reader will like. Although, who knows, it isn’t published yet so we’ll see.

    Looking forward to more conversation on this topic.

  3. Lisa says:

    Oh, and I agree with Kessie. Whatever else it may or may not be, the novel must be held to a high standard of excellence. I really think we need to set the bar higher when it comes to the mechanics of writing.

  4. Julie D says:

    The whole Great Commission issue is just…I can’t stand it some times. Because while it is “as you go” and making disciples has many angles, it generally comes out as ‘preach at everyone everywhere all the time,” which makes it hard to see how anything else fits into it.

    • Julie, I believe this results from two chronic challenges among Christians.

      First, we neglect that the Great Commission exists as a way to “repair” human nature, which is now naturally rebellious against God, in order to fulfill the far greater commission of glorifying God in all that we do. (It’s difficult to say this without seeming to minimize the Great Commission. Not so. We need to become disciples of Jesus, versed in His word and prayer and spiritual disciplines, before we can even hope to be restored humans.)

      Second, we neglect the doctrines of Christian vocation such as Austin has been exploring. Christianity is not a multilevel marketing scheme–get saved, only so you can get others saved. (And yet, again, it is difficult to say this without seeming to minimize evangelism–we must be challenged to take our faith seriously, including the truth that only in Jesus can we live forever.)

  5. notleia says:

    And now I have this image of Joe the Mechanic buying a misguidedly attempt-at-cool T-shirt saying, “JESUS’ SUGAR DADDY: Make it rain at church next Sunday!”

What do you think?