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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Community, Community, Community

When I began working as a full time writer, I realized I needed to connect with others in the profession. I went online hoping to find information about live writing groups in my area. Instead I found a budding online community of Christian writers.

First it was an email group, then a blog. A discussion board followed, and there I stayed for a long, long time—until more and more of the participants deserted to start their own blogs. At long last, I caved and started A Christian Worldview of Fiction. Only to discover an excellent community growing up here. And at another writer’s forum, which led to the formation of the CSFF Blog Tour (and Spec Faith) and a greater community.

Why this little trot down Memory Trail? I mentioned in my last promotion post, Going to the Dogs Again, that an author’s best bet in promoting through online sources is through “organic discussion.” This kind of communication is in contrast to a “mass market blogging” approach.

But who do you “discuss” with? Not strangers. You discuss with people you know or people who are interested in the same things you are. You discuss with your friends, those you work with, those you sit next to in church.

And online? You discuss with those in community: group blogs, bloggers you meet on tours, email groups, discussion forums, online book clubs. There are probably other options, too. The point is, the chance to connect with others in a meaningful way has expanded beyond the furtherest reaches of my imagination.

But with so many voices clamoring for attention, does anyone listen?

We’re back to the many dogs yammering analogy. People listen if they care.

One way to make people care is to speak about something vital. When my dog would bark in the middle of the night, he got my attention. No stranger should have been within his “danger range” to cause him to bark that deep-throated warning bark of his, so if he woof-woofed his loudest, it was vital that I listen.

People also care if they are engaged with others. The first writer’s forum I went to was by invitation—someone I already knew told me about it and suggested I stop by. One of the email loops I’m on came about because of people I met at a writer’s conference. Later, I joined a writing group, and became involved in their forums, because of a blogger/writer I met at a conference.

Of course, the reverse happens, too. As I enter into discussions, I make friends with those I’ve never actually met. But their ideas influence me. I respect their opinions. What they say matters.

The drawback to all this community involvement, of course, is that it is time consuming. But aren’t booksignings and speaking engagements time consuming as well?

And now I realize, my time today is half past up, so I’ll continue this another day.

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