Grace A. Johnson
What If...God Has Something Else in Mind?
Y’all will remember that last week, we talked about seeker-friendly churches/Christians and how we’re not supposed to be living or acting just like the world, how we have been consecrated for God and His way of life.
Well, this week, I want to come at the same subject from a different angle.
Particularly writing fiction.
We’re all writers here, aren’t we? Most of us, anyway. And the ones who aren’t are readers, yes? (Because it would be really weird if a non-reader was following an author’s blog.) We all know what Christian fiction is…and we all understand the struggles of writing it. In today’s culture, Christianity is suppressed, ignored, denounced, rejected, and reviled. Labeling yourself a “Christian” writer or categorizing your books as “Christian” fiction practically seals your fate in blood—your books will never be read by secular readers and your writing will never reach a lost soul, because no unbeliever would ever read Christian fiction.
On top of that, Christian readers are getting tired of sermonizers and are bored of the same messages they hear on Sunday repeated in their books. Most Christian readers would rather read popular mainstream novels—from the classics like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight to up-and-comers like the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Selection series.
So how do we solve this dilemma?
We dilute Christianity. Our Christian readers won’t get bored with our stories if we dial back Jesus to a few quick prayers and mentions of going to church. And our secular readers will connect more if we mention a gay couple in the book or throw in a few cuss words and some magic.
It’s not a big deal. It’s not like we live like we’re in a Harlequin romance, after all. We’re just depicting reality. We’re making “Christian” fiction accessible, inclusive. Seeker-friendly.
Or we’re not calling it Christian at all. Not really even spiritual, faith-based, or inspirational. Sure, there are some themes and faint allegories, and good wins out over evil in the end, but we keep the focus on fantasy worldbuilding and character relationships and action-packed plots. If the reader is meant to be affected by something in the story, then they will. Somehow. Besides, it’s not our job to proselytize. We write fiction to excite and engage, not nonfiction that bores you to death. That’s Max Lucado’s job, David Jeremiah’s job, Rick Joyner’s job, Priscilla Shirer’s job, Lysa Terkerst’s job, the local preacher’s job, the overseas missionary’s job, the Bible’s job.
Not ours. We’re just trying to make it through, right? Trying to live our own lives as best as we can.
But…what if God has something else in mind?
What if our job, our calling, our mission, and our whole purpose as Christians is to preach, to teach, to inspire other people? What if we, as writers, have been given a gift for the sole purpose of writing for Christ? What if it doesn’t matter if we market to the secular audience, if we sell a million copies, if we write a book that “depicts” reality, if we make Christianity relatable and inclusive? What if God wants to use our words to bring the lost to Him? What if He’ll put your book into the hands of that erotica-loving, black-magic-devouring secular reader, even though it’s nothing like what they’d usually read?
What if we’re meant to write for Him?
Y’all, I can’t tell you how many of my fellow writers have struggled with these questions. I can’t tell you how many Christians have written books that don’t at all reflect their faith. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a book marketed as “Christian” and been appalled by the lack of God within it.
All I can tell you is that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it’s not supposed to be this way. There isn’t supposed to be a question about whether or not we should write Christian fiction. There isn’t supposed to be a line between Godly and entertaining. There isn’t supposed to be this variation of Christianity in our media that’s watered-down and reduced to nothing but a few passing remarks about God.
Even the demons believe in God. Even they herald the Christ. Even they bow before Him. Even they shout as they see Him, “Messiah! The Christ! The Son of God! The Holy One!”
If they do, why shouldn’t we?
Why shouldn’t we write for God? We owe it all to Him, don’t we? He is the reason we’re even here to write in the first place. The least we can do is dedicate our words to Him.
I just want to remind you...this life...it doesn’t belong to us. The money we make isn’t ours. The position we hold isn’t ours. The very air we breathe isn’t ours. We can’t based our decisions on the assumption that our lives belong to us.
Because they don’t.
God made us for Him, not for us to work from nine-to-five, live modestly, and churn out a few bestsellers. We were made for the sole purpose of bringing glory and honor to God Most High.
So put God into the equation. Put His will for your life into the question. Consider His sovereignty and His calling your life the next time you put the pen to paper—or do whatever it is you’re doing. Remember that He wants to use you, and that if you submit to Him, He will. He’ll move mountains to get that message He wrote into your book into the hands of the one who needs to hear it.
I know that’s not easy. I know writing Christian fiction is hard. I know surrendering to God is hard. I know some of us have no idea how to do either of those things. I know a lot of writers still believe that the best way to reach nonbelievers is to blend it.
Which is why I’m starting Book Nations, a blog for writers who long to write for Christ to learn more about what Christian fiction is, how to write it, and why God has called us to bring the Gospel to all nations—even the “book nations.” The blog goes live later this month, and I’ll have uplifting interviews with other authors who have chosen to write for Christ, spotlights of books that showcase the Gospel, guest posts from other writers who’ve endured the same struggles you have, and articles to equip you to enter the mission field of fiction.
I know this post turned out to be more of a rant (that ended like an advertisement), but this has really been on my heart for some time now, and I hope that I’ve made you ask some questions, made you consider writing for Christ. If so, won’t you join me in navigating this minefield of media missions? We’ll discover why Christ has called us into this ministry and how to fight the good fight against the powers of darkness that want to put down our God and His followers and pollute the world with wickedness and sin.
Will you do it? Will you write for Christ as a sold-out believer instead of writing for yourself as a seeker-friendly drifter?
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