A kindergarten teacher observed her class while they were drawing pictures during art time. She would occasionally stroll around the room to see their work, offering compliments as she moved from desk to desk. She noticed that one little girl was working ferociously, her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth and her tiny hand moving the colored marker with firm strokes.
The curious teacher halted beside her desk. “You are really concentrating, dear. What are you drawing?”
Without taking her eyes off her paper, the little girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.”
It took a few seconds for the teacher to catch her breath and her thoughts. “But, sweetheart, no one knows what God looks like.”
“Well, they will in a minute!”
As writers, are we just as convinced that we can put the Divine on display in our stories? If not, why not?
No, we can’t produce a drawing of deity or a take a supernatural snapshot. But we can reveal His heart. In Christian fiction, it isn’t just our privilege but our duty to do so. Whether between the lines or in the words, we should work hard to help people see God, to find hope in despair, and light in darkness. Writing is one way we live out our discipleship in this world, and, as disciples, we are commanded to be salt and light.
Is there potential for your readers to step closer to God because they read one of your stories? Ever heard back from a reader who told you just such a thing happened?
Should Christian fiction use dark topics to tell a story?
Let me answer that question by asking another: Can light shine in darkness?
Of course light can shine in darkness. So why not show how the light brings hope, peace, security, or direction? As a suspense writer, I’m aware of the struggle to be realistic about the darkness while being optimistic about the light. Many of my favorite Christian writers tackle hard–and uncomfortable–issues with vivid skill. Their desire is not to glorify evil or a reader to enter into that evil, but their prayer is that their writing will grab a reader’s heart and mind with the liberating hope that is available in God. We want to describe the “real” world in which evil lurks, but only to set the stage for the light.
It’s my opinion that as a Christian writer I do not need to use profanity or sex as props in my stories. I can show a person’s anger or tell that they “cursed” or something like that without getting graphic. Yet I’m not going to shy away from tough issues (like divorce, death, abortion, rape, abuse, deceit, etc…) just because those are hard to deal with. I’m of the opinion that some Christians are way to squeamish. They are the ones who probably skip the Old Testament. It can be pretty gory.
What are some books you’ve read that were set in tough settings? What topics do you wish Christian fiction writers would deal with?
If you want to see what topics Christian fiction addresses, you can go to Fiction Finder and search for books by topic. It’s an incredible resource.
Make yourself familiar with angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you. (St. Francis de Sales)
The longer I walk the journey of discipleship I become more and more convinced that the call to write for God is a call to battle. This call to duty is not based on my value as a human being, but on the particular stewardship that God has entrusted to me: the stewardship of story. Every Christian has a place on the spiritual battlefield. All followers of Jesus are participants. There are no bleachers in which we can leisurely sit and chomp popcorn and drink the beverage of our choice. We are soldiers, not fans.
Every Christian is gifted…which is another way of saying that every Christian is equipped to take part in the warfare between light and darkness. There’s no sitting this one out. Stewardship brings responsibility.
I believe that my writing is a part of the battle. I want to show how God’s light can penetrate the darkness. I want to use the power of story to testify to how God’s power can reverse the curse. What an awesome privilege indeed! God can use our stories to bring victory in readers lives.
How do you think Christian fiction has helped you fight the spiritual battle in your life?