Saturday, December 6, 2008

Faith N Fiction Saturday: The Christian Fiction Label

Today's question is inspired by a conversation Lilly started over at Book Blogs. What do you think about labeling books as Christian fiction? As you know, the range of spiritual content in Christian books varies tremendously. Some books barely even mention God while others use a lot of Scripture. Do you think Christian fiction books should be in a separate section of the bookstore or library? Do you think this limits who might read these books? Do you have any idea of how they could be arranged differently? And a little off topic but do you have a preference about whether or not books have a lot of spiritual content or only a little?

Wow Amy! A LOT of discussion on this one! Personally, I prefer Christian fiction that contains an overt message. I am challenged, encouraged and uplifted to read those types of stories. However, I am also a HUGE fan of suspense/thriller novels, and the message within those types of books tends to be more covert - as in Christian writers writing good stories minus the sex/violence/language. I fully understand the wide range of writing styles, and I feel like Christians have the opportunity to be a huge witness even in fiction writing.

While the books are located in a separate part of the store at most major book stores, it is clearly marked fiction so that anyone looking for a good fiction read can find them. I know when I go to any bookstore, I browse practically the entire store if the word "fiction" appears simply because I love to read. However, it is conveneint and helpful to find all of the Christian authors in one place and that way I can quickly make my choices and be on my way. I can only hope non-Christian readers are as interested in books as I am and also puruse the entire store not just one particular section.

The same thing applies at the library. They don't section off the Christian fiction, but most titles sport a specific sticker on the spine indication Christian fiction so that readers seeking that type of read can find it easily. I find it both courteous and convenient as a reader.

As Christians, we are called to be a light, to be separate. I don't want the books I read to contain foul language, sex and the like. I avoid it on television for the same reason. I am thrilled so many books are available to me that allow me to enjoy reading without all of that nonsense. I also appreciate a good, realistic look at the lives of other Christians struggling with issues just like I do - all the while drawing strength and turning to Christ instead of hopelessly clinging to their own strength and selfish motives. Christians to have a hope beyond this life, and it should naturally shine in all we do.

I've never heard of secular writer clamoring to be like Christ, and I would think Christians wouldn't be too eager to clamor to be like the world. So what if our books are on a different shelf? It's labeled fiction - take a look. The main point is that Christ is reflected in all of our lives. Writing is a gift God has blessed His people with. We should be honored to have such great books to read and reflect His likeness.

I do know I've spoken with Christian authors whose books don't have an overt Christian message - who had secular publishers offering contracts for their stories. They purposely chose a Christian publishing house because they want their work to be associated with other Christians and they want their work to reflect the fact that they recognize Who gifted them with their stories. To me, that's what it's all about. Honoring Christ and recognizing His gifts in our lives whether we are authors or avid readers.

Another great question Amy! Stop by Amy's to see what other's have to say!


Stormi said...

Great answer!

Anonymous said...

Your answer was well thought out and sincere - I could feel that. I respect your stance.

Mine is at:

Pam said...

I like the overt, subtle messages much better than the preachy messages in a book.

SmilingSally said...

Good point that author seek publishing houses that match their work!

Sunny said...

I am also thankful that we have Christian fiction so we dont have to wade through offensive content and know that if we grab a CF book it's most likely a safe bet.

Amy said...

I like your winter background Kim!

Well thought out answer. I hope that some our authors get wider recognition sometimes though! ;)

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