There are so many cliches in Christian fiction writing. But worse than the cliches, are the people that assume that all Christian fiction that is written in a more modern time, contains them.
However, lately, I have seen a trend, that when Christian fiction writers break out of the cliche moulds, the ultimate put down is to say “It is not a Christian book.”
So, I would ask, what makes a Christian book?
Everyone has their opinions, their ideas. For myself, a book that demonstrates the Christian life, showing the characters walking it out, without using the words, but more actions. Through this, they offer hope.
Hope is what sums up the difference to me. There are certain things that will not be contained in a Christian novel, if the characters are living a Christian life.
For me, it comes down to personal standards. Everyone has different ones.
When I was growing up, often all fiction was looked down upon. If you ever said you enjoyed reading fiction, it was as if you said you enjoyed sinning on a regular basis. It was not something you said.
I remember reading or hearing women share about how romance novels were similar to porn, and being confused. I had never read a “real” romance novel until I had been married a long time and suddenly realized what they were speaking of. However, they swept all the books that had any type of romantic love into one basket and classified it all as the same. It was not until I saw the vast difference that I realized one very, very large difference.
Hope speaks through the lives of real Christian characters or characters that come to the Lord throughout the book. I have read some very good books that are not Christian, but the flavor stands apart.
I think sometimes we forget that when we judge a book on it’s standards of Christianity, we are judging the author. We are saying what we think of how they view their relationship with God. When we freely claim it is not a Christian book, when it is claiming to be one, we are judging the person, not the book.
We so often forget the person behind the book, as we see the printed page. The cutting “Christian” words we can use in a slighting book review or fast post on FB can really damage someone’s heart. While there can be a need for that, we can do it in a kind way.