Every once in awhile you’ll see articles that talk about how terrible Christian fiction is. As an avid reader (I read over 75 books a year) and writer (I’ve seen 20 books + 3 repackages in print in ten years) I avidly disagree. Christian fiction can fill a gaping hole in our world and communicate messages we desperately need.
And because I love spinning things positively, today I thought we could chat about the benefits. So grab your mug of coffee or tea, and let’s talk about Christian fiction and whether it inspires us.
First, Christian fiction fills the space of parables, those stories Jesus so often used to illustrate profound spiritual truths. As a teacher, I know that if I can tie a principle to a story, my students are much more likely to remember the concept. A story takes an esoteric term or idea and gives it meat and weight. We see how things work in the story world and can then extrapolate to our world and lives.
Second, Christian fiction shares concepts that are missing in our world and in much (though certainly not all) ABA fiction. That concept is HOPE. The world can be a scary place. It is dark and some days feels oppressively so. It would be easy to give up and say things and situations will never improve. There are certain books that were raved about that I read and got to the last page and was left with a weighted down feeling. The storytelling was good, the characters real, but the tone so dark and hopeless that I felt depressed at the end. If I want that, I can read the headlines. When I pick up a book, I want the hope that at the end of the novel I will be more aware of how God interacts in our lives and how that can give us hope in the darkest circumstances. That is my sincerest hope that readers get that takeaway from my novels.
Third, Christian fiction is diverse to reach a diversity of people from all walks of life. Christian fiction is so broad now, there’s practically something for most readers. Romance? Check. Historical? Check. Women’s fiction? Check. Amish? Check. Romantic Suspense and Thriller? Check. There’s something for every reader. Heavy spiritual content? Check. Light spiritual thread? Check. It’s a great time to be a reader (and writer!)!
Fourth, Christian fiction is something a hurting friend might read when the thought of another how-to book makes them want to scream. There have been times in my life where I couldn’t read certain styles of books because life was plain hard. And I couldn’t handle reading books where people were struggling hard…or where one more person was going to tell me how I should feel. I needed something to help me laugh and see light at the end of the tunnel. Books written by this talented group of bloggers filled that heart-level need.
Fifth, Christian fiction can challenge us to think deeply about issues and struggles. Again, the guise of fiction can help us see issues on a complex level versus the surface level we get in many conversations or media recounts. There have been so many books where I walk away thinking about the very real struggles, and am challenged when I consider what my response would be.
What do you think? Am I off my rocker or do you have anecdotes of how Christian fiction has built your faith?