The Post I Wish I’d Written

It turns out author Mike Dellosso wrote the response I wish I’d written to Eric Wilson‘s article, “Is It Time for Christian Fiction to Die?”

Well, I couldn’t have written the article in just the way Mike did because he’s a published author and I’m not. But he said many of the things that I believe. Here’s the key paragraph:

I don’t think it’s the author’s job to reach lost people and share Christ with them. How can we? Our only contact with them is words on a page? Yes, stories are powerful and can be thought-provoking and challenging and uplifting. That’s what I go for in my own stories. They can even protray Christians in a positive light and point the spotlight at God. But how will they hear unless someone tells them? If our books plainly preach Christ and him crucified, risen, and coming again they won’t make it into the general market where the lost people are, heck, they probably won’t even make it into the CBA. Rather, I feel it is the author’s job to give Christians a tool so they can then take that tool and reach the lost around them with it. To me, that’s evangelistic writing. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe you disagree, that’s fine, but that’s where I am. (Emphasis mine.)

While I believe that stories are important, especially in this day and age, that stories can “till the soil,” and that the Holy Spirit can use them to point to Christ, primarily people come to God as a result of another person telling them the good news about the Savior who died for them.

But books can be the means by which a conversation about God might start. They can open up avenues of discussion that might not come about in another way. Books can give Christians the opportunity of saying to their non-Christian friends, So what do you think?

Think about he eunuch the Holy Spirit sent Philip to. He had Scripture, but he still needed someone to explain what he was reading. How much more so if a person is reading a novel, does he need a believer to extrapolate to real life and point to God.

Should Christians write for other Christians? Absolutely—we are to stimulate each other to love and good works, and I believe novels can do this.

Should Christians write for non-Christians? Absolutely—we are to let our light shine, and I believe novels can do this.

God calls some to write for believers and some to write for unbelievers.

The critical point to understand is this: in either case, God brings our labor to fruition. We may never see until eternity dawns what influence and effect our writing has had, but we are to remain faithful. That’s our responsibility and all we can control.

I think Mike said that too in the post I wish I’d written. 😉

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 Comments

  1. Well put. I was just talking to my writer friend today about reaching people. In fact, I recall an article in Christianity Today where a pastor got a part-time job at a coffee shop and began to befriend people (for real, not just to sell Jesus). I loved that article.

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  2. Thanks for that one as well, Becky,

    Someday we’ll be published and have that open door. Until then, I’m glad you’re writing such articulate posts that do reach people and do provoke thought and discussion.

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  3. Well, I pretty much agree with that. But it still leaves a HUGE question unanswered. This was the way I posed it to Chip MacGregor on my Novel Journey post: “I find it troubling that Christian authors who want to write for ‘seekers or nonChristians’ must do so apart from Christian publishers. Doesn’t this prove the very thing Eric is saying, that the CBA is aimed exclusively at the people in the pews and can potentially become myopic? Shouldn’t Christians be the ones casting their nets and ‘going into all the world’? I dunno, it just seems ironic that we must seek secular houses to do that.”

    Yes, Becky, “God calls some to write for believers and some to write for unbelievers.” Amen. The irony is that if I am called to write for seekers, I must look outside the very industry that should exist for them.

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  4. Mike, I think we’re back to the tangle of business with ministry and writers with readers.

    Lets say publishers DO want to reach the lost and therefore publish books that might appeal to the seeker—who doesn’t know the books exist and doesn’t darken the doors or the shelves of the places where they could be found. What’s more, the Christian, who is not a seeker, says, in essence, That book’s not for me because no one seems to be addressing the idea that books can be conversation starters with non-Christian friends.

    Chances are, those books are going to languish.

    So my idea is, Let’s write good stories that Christians will want to buy and along the way they’ll discover that this is a story their non-Christian friends would also enjoy, one they could happily give to them and use as a catalyst for greater discussion.

    If we’re writing for seekers alone, the Holy Spirit can guide someone to their side in the same way He did Philip.

    I don’t think it’s an either/or; I don’t think the Christian arm of publishing needs to feel apologetic for books that Christians want to read.

    I think we Christian readers need to grow less myopic and raise our sights and be more discerning and think about reaching the lost. Inevitably, if that happens, changes will occur in the book business.

    Becky

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  5. Normandie, thanks so much for your encouragement. There certainly has been a lot of discussion (I wonder if I was on the other side of most of these issues when we were discussing them over at FIF years ago. :-P)

    Becky

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  6. I wish we would all stop attacking Christian publishers. That’s the way it feels. Aren’t we all on the same team? Plus, Christian stories ARE still popular. People are still buying them whether they are clean and rose scented or raw and honest.

    This is all about taste in books in my opinion. Just write the story and let the Holy Spirit guide you. Stay true to the story. A mere story isn’t going to bring someone to Christ, but it could plant seeds or induce conversation from the people an unbeliever or struggling Christian or seeker hangs around with.

    If you want to reach your readers, you engage them and talk to them.

    Before I was saved, I read Grace Livingstone Hill. I was a teenager. And you know what? Her morals and clean stories about romance that always held some danger to them influenced me far more than any blood sucking vampires. I learned alot from her writing–who I wanted to be, what kind of relationships I wanted in my life (though of course no guidance there so went wild in my young adult years), and believed that somewhere out there was a guy just like in her books who might love me for me and encourage me to be the woman I wanted to be. And I met one of those and married him. I still read her stories over and over again.

    She also spoke the message of Salvation. Her heroine was always a staunch believer, quiet, beautiful, and strong. That message combined with an Aunt I met once who sent me poems about God told me there was hope for me out there and that something bigger than me existed.

    I think all Christian stories written for either secular readers or the CHristian crowd all have a purpose. Even as Christians we’re still sinners and need encouragement and guideance. We need to know if someone else experienced what we experience in our daily lives.

    I think berating an effective industry is unproductive.

    Just write. Follow the story.

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