As Christian writers, we often lose touch with the real state of the world in which we live. A continued observance of mine is that real sin and real life challenges are not present in Christian fiction--not in any meaningful way. Many friends no longer read Christian novels because they do not speak to today's Christian woman, nor today's Christian. They focus on a narrow sliver of the book-buying market because it's less of a risk. This leaves the rest of us craving for a heroine that has her wits about her--and demonstrates it; who isn't afraid to get a little stink on her when witnessing to a drunk; who doesn't back down from today's social issues. You don't see this in Christian novels.
It's not there.
What we get is a gaggle of sickening-sweet female characters with no more idea how do pray with a drug-addicted mom than she can fly under her own power. But she is entertaining. You, me, each of us are placed here in this period of time to minister to this generation--for such a time as this. If God wanted us living in the 1950's, He would have placed us there. We can't live blissfully unaware of how deeply sin permeates the world.
Our novels reflect an abject refusal to minister to this generation.
Our novels do not reflect child abuse, drunkenness, drug addiction, infidelity, incest, spiritual warfare, intercessory prayer or sacrificial living. They do not reflect the power of God to heal, restore, transform, and regenerate the most diseased soul. They do not reflect God as Almighty, God of the Angel Armies, Jehovah-jireh, King of kings, Lord of lords. The God that still works miracles on a daily basis. But He is portrayed as very nice.
Christian novels do reflect the overwhelming focus on the buck (rather than evangelism nor even accurate Biblical information). Here's an example: In the secular market, vampire books are all the rage. So, hey, let's write Christian vampire novels. Right. Christian and vampire, they belong in the same sentence. Not. Yet many novelists (who also claim Christianity) will convince themselves that "God gave me this story" and that somehow everyone is supposed to overlook a book steeped in satanic imagery. We're not supposed to see it for what it is: a travesty. There's nothing Christian about such books. But, they are entertaining.
How can we, as Christian writers, speak to this generation? Begin first by creating real characters. I say this specifically of females in Christian novels. I've worked with women of God who put the devil to his heels as a matter of course. Who are not afraid to perspire in prayer; not afraid to get wrap their arms around a homeless person and welcome them in the church; not afraid to get a little dirt on them. We need characters with grit, tenacity, and meat to their substance. Women who know God and how to pray. When Christian writers start crafting relevant messages to this generation, then I will start reading Christian fiction again.
Until then, I'll stick with the Bible.
It has strong women, not afraid to risk public condemnation, not afraid to lead appropriately, not afraid to stand on God's word no matter what. Ever heard of Deborah? Abigail? Phoebe? Rahab? Ruth? Mary Magdalene? Women with some meat to their character.
What else of human nature is in the Bible? Rape, incest, murder, drunkenness, greed, deceit, stealing, adultery, lying, corrupt governments, oppression of lower classes, wickedness at every level. If God set the standard to face life issues head-on, why then aren't we following suit? Why aren't we writing to our generation? Many use the pat answer that the business end of the writing world gives: no market. I'd like to make a correction to that statement: No tapped market. I'm here and I'd like to see such books, many of my friends who no longer read Christian novels feel the same way.
We're here. We're untapped. We're waiting.