Saturday, June 14, 2008

Christian fiction (and other Night Ranger songs)

A while back I read The Shack. Honestly, not because I wanted to, but out of respect for the sweet older woman who gave it to me. It turned out to be the most profound and thought-provoking book I’ve read this year. And it’s Christian fiction.

Since then a small enclave of my friends have vehemently stated, “I will never read Christian fiction!”

Now I’m reading Crazy Love by Frances Chan. And as I read it I realize that it is chalked full of his views on life and his bias on how to interpret theology. And as a writer I realize we all take a little literary or poetic license when telling true stories. As I try to now look at Christian non-fiction objectively, I realize that between God’s Words, actual events and interpretation, there is lots of conjecture, bias, spin, personal worldview and intent to get the reader to some emotional, mental and or spiritual place.

So maybe outside the Bible, the books I love by D. Miller, Eldredge, Sweet, and this sure-to-be controversial book by Chan, are closer to Christian fiction than we might like to believe.

And here’s another thought: my friends and I are probably very cool with fiction. We’re probably ok with authors like Steinbeck, Salinger, Hemingway, Thoreau etc. So why marginalize a book or genre because the author is a Christian? Or hey—isn’t C.S. Lewis ’ The Screwtape Letters (a Christian classic) also Christian fiction? Hmm, I think it is.

Maybe Christian fiction isn’t the problem. Maybe it’s the people who read the Left Behind series and there’s a stigma there. But if that’s the case, why be a Christian at all---there’s a boatload of goofy stigma attached with that ;-)