The subtitle of my site is “where faith and creativity cross.” Though I’m sure there are exceptions, many writers wish to deliver a message that resonates deeper than just the story line. This may be especially true for Christian writers (writers who are Christian, not necessarily those writing for the Christian market) who desire to glorify God in all that we do. The question is how do we do this without compromising the story or the message. This been the focus of my journey these last six years as I’ve sought to find my voice as a Christian writer. On one hand, you don’t want to hit someone over the head with a message. On the other, you don’t want to water down the message until it is no longer clear.
The answer, at least in part, will depend upon the audience the writer is trying to reach. Someone writing specifically for the Christian market may be able to have more overt Christian plotlines (for instance, the Left Behind series). In the secular market, storylines may not be able to be as overt, but this is also an important market for Christian voices. It’s one thing to preach to the choir, but as Christians we are called to bring the good news of Christ to a lost and dying world.
As Christians, I think we’ve separated ourselves into our own camp (in this case Christian fiction) and in doing so may have lost the ability to speak into society at large. There’s certainly a place for separation spelled out in Scripture when it comes to our conduct and our desires, but we are called to be in the world, not of it. When we remove our voices, even if only to a different area of the book store, we lose our ability to engage culture. All writing has meaning behind it, shaped by the worldview of the author. Is it possible that part of the reason we’re losing the “cultural war” is because we’ve relegated Christian thought to our own section?
I’m obviously still on this journey, so may not have all the right answers, but I think the focus needs to be integrating themes in a genuine manner that is integral to the story. At its heart, nearly every story is a reflection of the redemption story, involving deep personal change in the way the protagonist views the world and their interaction in it. All the emotions that make good fiction—love, betrayal, fear, anger, etc. are deeply rooted within the human condition. Fiction should move us viscerally and inspire a desire for change and as Christians we realize Christ is the ultimate source of lasting change. We not only have the ability share our perspective, but Biblically speaking, we have a responsibility. In this sense, the story and moral are both intricately intertwined.