November 15, 2018 at 11:44 pm #59909
@karthmin – I am pretty much speechless. In the best possible way. =)
That. All of it.
Thank you for wording it so perfectly. I wouldn’t attempt to add a thing.
I was starting to think I was the only one, and that is what I was praying I would find here at SE.
Thank you, sir. I give you the highest of salutes. (And, I humbly request to be placed in your Guild. =))
Clumsy but cute. Apologizes a lot. Doesn't shed. Much.November 16, 2018 at 12:23 am #59910Hope Ann@hope-ann
@mlbolangerauthor By the way, a straw man is basically when you set up a wrong viewpoint… say ‘all atheists are evil people with no moral code’ and then use that to show how atheists are wrong and have them become saved or defeated. Because in that case you’ve proved your point, but you’ve proved it based on a ‘lie’ not on the truth of how atheists actually think and act. It’s creating a ‘mask’ for what you are arguing against and then breaking the mask without paying attention to what is actually behind it.
The most important step a man can take is always the next one.November 16, 2018 at 5:55 pm #59953Daeus Lamb@daeus-lamb
By the way, you mentioned racial tensions as a theme. Alan Paton handles this so so well. If you haven’t read Cry the Beloved Country, you really should.
👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢November 19, 2018 at 1:40 am #60329Brie Donning@brie-donning
@mlbolangerauthor I don’t have much to say on this topic, but I thought it could be helpful to mention a couple of Christian novels that deal with some of these things.
Finding Fireflies by A. C. Williams, deals with trafficking and prostitution without shoving undesirable things in your face. It doesn’t avoid them, but doesn’t describe them. It’s also a comedy which makes for an odd juxtaposition.
I can also think of a number of kids adventure books that touch on human trafficking and other issues. There’s a series called the Reel Kids Adventures by Dave Gustaveson. I know I was reading them back when I was 13. They don’t go into all the details, but they didn’t ignore them. (And now I’m remembering everything in the books, and I’m slightly less eager to travel the world.)
The other issues you mentioned seem a little trickier. Human trafficking is easier, because though it’s something people need to be informed about, and something that needs to be stopped (and the people in it helped very carefully), it’s not something many people would argue is not wrong. Unless you do it terribly, the only people you’re likely to offend are those who insist of everything being ‘clean’ in books.
ENFP - Introspective extrovert
Exploring reality, yearning for adventure.November 19, 2018 at 2:19 pm #60381Princess Foo@princess-foo
@mlbolangerauthor Echoing what others have said, I think the biggest reason Christians books don’t deal in these topics is because they would involve a lot of research. I think the biggest danger in these areas are straw man arguments. That is when someone assigns me an opinion that is not my own, then judges me based off of that opinion. For example, if someone, over the course of a debate, said “All Christians hate LGBT people”, I would stop listening, and it would actually turn me against whatever else they say, no matter how reasonable or knowledgeable the rest of their argument was. (That stuff is a sin, but we are all sinners, and all in need of grace.) Then there is the additional danger that someone who doesn’t know better listens to that and now walks around under the mistaken assumption that Christians hate LGBT people, which would hinder us from having a useful dialogue about the truth.
The example I gave reflects poorly on non-Christians, but Christians can and sometimes do use straw arguments against non-Christians, which turns people who know better away, and prevents understanding of the true issue. This, plus the amount of research involved, research that probably would need to involve talking to someone victimized by whatever the topic is—which would be painful to talk about, is why there aren’t many books on controversial topics.
The cake is a lie. acaylor.comNovember 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm #60393
@karthmin – I wanted to take some time to think through your response before writing my own. Obviously, based on my shorter response, I completely agree with you, but there is a LOT of meat here, and I wanted to take it a bite at a time.
The themes you mentioned definitely fall well within the scope of Christian fiction, and should be addressed more than they are currently. One reason they are not addressed very frequently, is because the majority of Christian fiction is marketed as “clean”, like Josiah DeGraaf mentioned in his first blog post in the series mentioned. This has to do, fundamentally, with content, like you said, rather than theme, but I think there is an unspoken expectation that Christian fiction should be suitable for a child to pick up and read without being negatively effected. I think that’s one of the problems in the world of Christian publishing today. There is an unspoken expectation of suitability for all ages. This has had two effects, in my opinion: 1. It has shunted popular Christian fiction towards the direction of children’s literature, and 2. It has stunted popular adult Christian fiction towards the barest and most banal of ‘deep’ themes. It is quite telling that “Amish novels” are one of the biggest selling niches within Christian fiction even today.
I honestly never thought about the expectation of Christian Fiction being suitable for children, but you are right. Even when I pitch my stories to potential readers, I find myself adding that they are “Young Adult suitable” just to drive home the point that they are clean enough to be considered Christian Fiction in spite of the themes.
A few myths need to be dispelled: 1. Christian literature does not mean family-friendly. Just because it is Christian fiction, does not mean that anyone and everyone can read it and be edified. There are stories that I wish to tell, stories that deserve to be told powerfully and unabashedly, which would be frankly unhelpful to someone at a young age, who is unsuited to handle the themes, and fully comprehend the message and its implications. Most Christian fiction will be family-friendly. But just because it isn’t, does not mean that it has lost any of it’s salt or light. Perhaps, it has gained more by refusing to dampen it’s themes or content. 2. Christian literature is not a genre. That is to say, Christian fiction should be just as varied and far-reaching in scope as non-Christian fiction, and it should be perceived in that way. Granted, this makes it far harder to market (from the publisher’s perspective), but there is no long-lasting benefit to anyone by artificially defining Christian fiction as it’s own “genre”. It can be fantasy, romance, sci-fi, dystopian, children’s, high-school drama, or whatever. There are few genres that Christian writers cannot legitimately tackle and be considered a full-ranking member of. But the label “Christian” seems to put us in a box with children’s stories and Amish novels.
I very nearly shouted when I read this point. =) I have fought this label from the moment I started writing. I have yet to find a marketable way to avoid it. This is easier for my fantasy novels since they make no mention of God, but my other two are overtly Christian story lines. Promoting them without including the fact that they are heavily faith based feels a bit like a ‘bait and switch’ maneuver. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on that.
It’s a high goal, but if I’m going to be found in bookstores at any point in my life, I don’t want to be found in the “Christian Fiction” section. Don’t get me wrong, my stories will always be unabashedly and thoroughly Christian in approach, perspective, and message. But if they can’t stand on their own two feet as legitimate works of literature, then they don’t deserve to be in the bookstore in the first place. Not that everything the Christian Fiction section isn’t worth reading. Again, don’t get me wrong on that, either. But I don’t want to be marketed in that way, because that’s not the audience I want to impact primarily.
I think THIS is where I am truly torn when it comes to making the decision to market and brand my books Christian or not. My idea reader IS Christian. The stories are targeted to Christians, and are meant to raise awareness of how poorly the Church in general has been handling these topics.
But – I am finding most Christians don’t want to know; and if they are curious, they certainly don’t want to engage with these topics. More than a few of the responses to this thread have fallen into this category. They are right when they claim it takes research and requires us to engage with those who are directly affected by these topics. That takes time, effort, and a willingness to engage with broken and hurting people to the degree that you feel what they feel. To do that, we must be unshakable in what we believe to be true, which allows us to accept people who believe differently than we do and give them the freedom to be who they are without trying to change them. Loving someone who lives in a way that is opposed to our beliefs challenges and sometimes shifts the way we apply our beliefs to our everyday life. That can be difficult to internalize, but it is necessary if we hope to truly reach and influence society in these areas.
Okay, so somewhere along the line, I got away from tackling difficult themes and started talking about publishing and marketing and bookstores. *clears throat* Excuse me. So, when it comes to the difficult topics that you mentioned, there are two ways to tackle them: One the one hand, you can trace the root of the problems back to their source, and address that source problem in the themes of your stories. For example: if I were to tackle an LGBTQetc issue, I would trace the ultimate theme in play back to the question of identity. What does it mean to be me? Human? Broken? Who am I? Who am I when I am different from everyone else? Who am I when I am trying to ignore or suppress a part of me that is real, and yet broken? So. My basic theme changes from a specifically LGBTQetc issue to one that is universally applicable to all humans everywhere. Granted, if I am intending to address that audience in particular, I will craft my story in such a way that gets at the root of their particular struggles more specifically; but still, the underlying theme is a more universal one that each person can benefit from. This seems to be a far more common way to address these kinds of topics in Christian fiction. Second, you can make your character a POV character who embodies these difficult issues and tackle them head-on. This is by far more difficult, easier to muff, and yet perhaps more beautiful and impactful when done well. I really don’t know which is better, to be honest.
I think what makes this second approach so difficult and ‘easier to muff’ is because of our lack of willingness to engage as noted above. All it took was one moment of overhearing a mom lament about her lesbian daughter’s struggle, and she changed my entire approach to those who believe differently from me. It forced me to have empathy for an entire demographic of people I once wrote off as making a ‘lifestyle’ choice. Whether or not they did, doesn’t negate their very real emotions, struggles, and needs. Being able to write a story from the POV of a person in any demographic outside out own (whatever it might be – sex worker, LGBTQ+, trafficking victim) and doing it in such a way that causes someone to see and understand them differently – THAT is my goal as a writer.
I want to tell great stories, yes – of course, but my ultimate goal is to impact hearts and minds for Christ. Especially those who already know Him so that THEY can then be better equipped to impact the lost and hurting they come in contact with every day.
Done well, and approached with sensitivity – either option you mentioned is equally powerful.
Clumsy but cute. Apologizes a lot. Doesn't shed. Much.November 19, 2018 at 7:41 pm #60445Hope Ann@hope-ann
@mlbolangerauthor I had one thought about your last post your thoughts on what to label your stories.
Someone… I think it was @Josiah wrote a really good article on that not too long ago. But basically, there are two kinds of stories (in general) that Christians write.
There is the overt Christian fiction that is meant for Christians. The target audience is Christians and the idea is to help them learn and move forward in their faith. But the basics are assumed. There might be a redemption arc, for example, but only if absolutely needed and even then the Gospel message doesn’t need to be spelled out because the readers already know.
The other type of fiction is for a broader range of readers. It is meant to show truths to people who aren’t necessarily Christians and because of that, the themes may be more subtle. The themes are there, simply because the writers are Christians, but the focuses are different.
So who your readers will be and what they expect is quite important when writing. Showing how Christians should love everyone is a great theme. If it were told from the pov of an LGBTQ character, however, a number of Christian readers would probably not read it because that’s not the kind of story they are looking for, even if it could be very powerful that way. (yet if your message is for Christians, it isn’t going to do you much good if the general audience picks it up) If it were told from the pov of a Christain who is involved, and then maybe get pov scenes from others later, you’d be much more likely to draw people into the story. I’m not saying one is better than the other. Just that the reader perception and what they expect is going to be important, even if it’s not the one it should/you want it to be. Because the most powerful message in the world won’t do any good if no one reads the book.
Readers and writers alike seem to be rethinking the whole ‘Christian means clean’ deal but it’s not going to change overnight. And… I’m rambling and not sure where I was going with this. XD Karthmin put it really well though. So yeah, I don’t really have much else to add.
The most important step a man can take is always the next one.November 19, 2018 at 9:55 pm #60472Josiah DeGraaf@josiah
@mlbolangerauthor I see I’m late to a really good discussion here! It would be awesome to eventually do another blog series about tricky themes sometime in the future (though it would be a while before we’d fully consider that given how much time it takes to put these series together… If anyone has great thoughts on these ideas and wants to submit an article, though, we’re always looking for great content to publish! 😉 )
I agree with a lot of @karthmin’s thoughts on why Christian storytellers don’t often tackle these subjects. I think there are also specific challenges raised by some of these topics that also explains why Christian storytellers don’t often tackle them.
On race, while you certainly will sometimes get some generic/light themes regarding this in fantasy/sci-fi works when dealing with fantasy/alien races, I wonder how much the absence of this theme in some Christian novels is due to blindness. America’s struggle with racism is unfortunately politicized in such a way where some see racism where they shouldn’t and others ignore racism when it’s clearly present. :/ In conservative evangelical circles (where I am most often), I see the latter temptation pop up more likely than the former, and I wonder if that affects fiction as well. If you’re less likely to see racism in today’s society where it exists, you’re less likely to try to tackle it in stories as well.
With LGBTQ+ themes or themes dealing with other religions, I think there are certain hard limits that traditional Christians run into. Many of the greatest works of literature are written by authors who are in a certain community and who are also critiquing that community. Both qualities are essential for great stories: one for building empathy with readers, the other for making meaningful and needed points.
In light of this, if a Christian wants to critique an outside movement, it’s hard to see where they have room to do so; building empathy in a story in a way that readers feel it despite the author’s status as an “enemy” of some sort seems like an insurmountable challenge to me. It’s hard to see where the audience for that is. For myself, if I know a novel is going to severely critique Christianity, I know that would dissuade me. I do try to read these kinds of books to grow and challenge myself, but I don’t know how many readers think the same way as I do. 😛 I’d tend to say that Christian authors are better off exploring themes regarding how Christians should interact with other religions or members of the LGBTQ+ movement, since there’s a better audience for those and a better mechanism for both establishing empathy and making meaningful points. We certainly need stories like that today.
Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.comNovember 20, 2018 at 10:30 am #60510
If it were told from the pov of an LGBTQ character, however, a number of Christian readers would probably not read it because that’s not the kind of story they are looking for, even if it could be very powerful that way. (yet if your message is for Christians, it isn’t going to do you much good if the general audience picks it up) If it were told from the pov of a Christain who is involved, and then maybe get pov scenes from others later, you’d be much more likely to draw people into the story. I’m not saying one is better than the other. Just that the reader perception and what they expect is going to be important, even if it’s not the one it should/you want it to be. Because the most powerful message in the world won’t do any good if no one reads the book. .
This is exactly what I’ve found to be true. A book written for the Christian church, from the POV of a non-Christian of ANY kind, is not well received. Which I don’t truly understand, and find this is part of the reason the Church and – to keep with our topic – the reason Christian fiction feels mostly irrelevant or out of touch with the rest of the world. (Present company excluded, of course.) We have taken that position that it is ‘wrong’ or ‘dangerous’ to make an attempt to see things from a point of view that is different than ours, even if that opposing view is presented as non-hostile in attitude.
Empathy and acceptance for the lost seems to have vanished. I clearly remember what it was like to be on the outside, and to be treated as such. Perhaps that has given me a unique desire to get to know people who believe differently than the Bible teaches.
Readers and writers alike seem to be rethinking the whole ‘Christian means clean’ deal but it’s not going to change overnight.
This one makes me giggle a little. The funny thing about it is, I am in a ‘Clean Reads’ author group that is comprised of a serious mix of believers and non-believers, and none of us can ever agree on what ‘clean’ actually means. Though you are right, anything with a Christian label on it with a single curse word will make the reader clutch their pearls in horror. =)
Clumsy but cute. Apologizes a lot. Doesn't shed. Much.November 20, 2018 at 10:45 am #60511
I agree with a lot of @karthmin‘s thoughts on why Christian storytellers don’t often tackle these subjects. I think there are also specific challenges raised by some of these topics that also explains why Christian storytellers don’t often tackle them. On race, while you certainly will sometimes get some generic/light themes regarding this in fantasy/sci-fi works when dealing with fantasy/alien races, I wonder how much the absence of this theme in some Christian novels is due to blindness. America’s struggle with racism is unfortunately politicized in such a way where some see racism where they shouldn’t and others ignore racism when it’s clearly present. :/ In conservative evangelical circles (where I am most often), I see the latter temptation pop up more likely than the former, and I wonder if that affects fiction as well. If you’re less likely to see racism in today’s society where it exists, you’re less likely to try to tackle it in stories as well.
I’m starting to see a theme… Our reluctance to address these topics appears to stem from a reluctance to leave the perceived safety of our evangelical friends/community to actually engage with people we are supposed to be evangelizing. =)
With LGBTQ+ themes or themes dealing with other religions, I think there are certain hard limits that traditional Christians run into.
Can you define what you mean by ‘hard limits?’
In light of this, if a Christian wants to critique an outside movement, it’s hard to see where they have room to do so; building empathy in a story in a way that readers feel it despite the author’s status as an “enemy” of some sort seems like an insurmountable challenge to me. It’s hard to see where the audience for that is. For myself, if I know a novel is going to severely critique Christianity, I know that would dissuade me.
As a Christian, I believe we must all respect the Church as the Bride of Christ. Attacking her in a severe critique would be to attack the Bridegroom Himself. And that’s a bad idea no matter who you are. =)
But – What if the story isn’t a critique of either community, but rather a lowering of defenses on both sides to better understand each other? What if the story pointed out a more Biblical approach to evangelism by approaching it from the POV of a person in the community we wish to evangelize?
I do try to read these kinds of books to grow and challenge myself, but I don’t know how many readers think the same way as I do.
You might be surprised how many of us there actually are. =)
I’d tend to say that Christian authors are better off exploring themes regarding how Christians should interact with other religions or members of the LGBTQ+ movement, since there’s a better audience for those and a better mechanism for both establishing empathy and making meaningful points. We certainly need stories like that today.
Exactly! And these are the kinds of books I most want to write. =)
Clumsy but cute. Apologizes a lot. Doesn't shed. Much.November 20, 2018 at 11:45 am #60517
@sarah-inkdragon – I apologize! I forgot to respond to your comments.
I’d personally have to agree with Daeus on this one. I’d love to see more books that handle issues like this, but then again some people can write things like this and some people can’t. It depends on a person’s God-given gifts and convictions. Also, as Daeus said, Christians don’t usually get involved with any of these subjects, and therefore know little about them or simply don’t want to know anything about them because they are hard topics to understand and think about from a Christian perspective. We try to shut out anything that does not agree with our worldview because it’s hard to deal with, and we don’t have the time or the money or the patience or the strength to take on such a topic in our eyes.
It is so true that we have to follow our God-given gifts and convictions before engaging deeply in these topics. We have to know not only what we believe, but WHY we believe it. It took me a lot of research and study to solidify what I believe, and my beliefs only got firmer the more I engaged with these topics.
It is difficult to open ourselves up to differing worldviews, because it means ours might be challenged in a way we aren’t prepared to give answer for. =) But, how else will we grow if we aren’t challenged?
I for one have a couple friends that consider themselves LGTBQA, and while our worldviews certainly don’t agree, I can say that they are not bad people. Let me correct that–what they’re doing is evil, yes, and they and their sin nature are evil, yes, but I don’t believe you can pin the “bad guy” sticker on someone just like that. Yes, they’re living in sin. But that doesn’t mean we should avoid them like the plague and never give them a chance to see what they’re doing is wrong because we don’t know how to handle it. Yes, different people have different convictions and different gifts for dealing with different things. But if we can get a second chance, so should they. And no one has ever been saved by us ignoring them or hating them.
I think this is kind of a hot button for me because I was personally attacked by the church for ‘living in sin.’ That’s sort of the definition of being lost. =) And the lost are the very people we, the church, are called to reach out to by doing what Jesus did – He did life with them, ate at their houses, and spent so much time with them He even got accused of being one of them…But – getting that involved leads back to being absolutely sure of what you believe, so that you can not be convinced otherwise. Not for the sake of convincing THEM, but so that you yourself don’t fall to the same temptations.
And I think THAT is the real reason it is easier to avoid engaging with those who live opposed to what we believe. We are afraid of being accused of being like them, or we are afraid they will influence us instead of the other way around. =)
Human rights are a little trickier–in some ways, some things benefit society and people but then hurt someone else. It’s like dumping waste into the ocean–you get it away from the city/land and therefore make the people’s homes better and cleaner and safer, but then you end up killing a major food source for the entire world and enraging all the animal activists. (I have nothing against animal activists–but you have to admit they get riled up pretty easily sometimes.) Things like free will–that’s a paradox right there. We supposedly, with free will and everything else the constitution entails, are given the freedom to do basically whatever is right in the eyes of the government, ourselves, and society. Sure, that’s great. But the problem is is that society and people’s own standards of what is right or “true” are changing all the time because they don’t know what is right and true, because they don’t have God. The latest truth-fad is “be true to yourself”. Which when you first look at it, is great. Don’t let people look down on you for who you are, nice. But look again–what it’s saying is that the inescapable and resolute truth that was set down by God is now able to be defined by us–humans. That we can define our own truth, and therefore can change the laws of what is right, good, acceptable, just, fair, and true on a whim. So yes, human rights are touchy subject.
You are so right. Human rights are far trickier than the other ‘sin’ issues addressed here, because the topic has been so politicized. It isn’t always about morality, and that is a hard pill for the church to swallow. It is about basic human dignity and every life being treated honorably, even if that life is ultimately lived in direct opposition to the Bible.
As for religions–I personally believe all religions other than the true and faithful belief in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit and what wisdom he has given us in the Bible to be wrong and to put it bluntly, Satanic. Yes, that might sound blunt, especially when you look at all the different “versions” of Christianity(Mormonism, Catholicism, JW, etc…) that hold similar views, but are still not in accordance to the Bible. But it’s the truth. So I believe that anything less than that true and faithful belief in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy spirit to not be right. And in fiction, it should not be portrayed as right. We are Christians–we’re not here to bend to someone’s wants or worldview, we’re here to blow them all away and show people what they are is doing is wrong. So yeah. I have a lot of opinions on this, but like I said before, the world was never changed by ignoring it’s problems and living a happy life. So yes, I think all of these things should be in fiction, to a certain degree and only written by people who know they can portray them correctly, accurately, and truthfully as the evil they are. There’s my two cents. I hope you enjoyed it. XD
Those are some strong thoughts! =) And I don’t disagree with the origins of the other religions. Satan seeks to counterfeit what God has done, and many of the world’s religions are the result of his deception. However, if we change our focus from the religion itself and narrow our attention to the individual who has been deceived – I think we can approach the topic of religion the same way we do any other sin. They need to know the love and truth of Christ so that they can know and understand the lie the enemy has sold them.
Clumsy but cute. Apologizes a lot. Doesn't shed. Much.November 20, 2018 at 1:02 pm #60530Sink@sarah-inkdragon
Haha, no problem! 😉 I forget to reply all the time and then a month later I’ll look back and be like “oops, forgot to reply to another one…” XD
As for getting involved with things like LGTBQA, I agree with you on that. I, personally, am not a person that is going to be swayed by other people’s thoughts, just because honestly half the time when it comes to people’s impression of me or what they think of me in relation to what I wear or what I like or what I believe, I don’t really care. Yes, everyone I know knows I’m Christian, and nothing they say is going to change that. At the same time, they can say what they like about what I wear(I wear a lot of black, so many people, Christians included, think I’m trying to be edgy or even goth, and I’m not, I just like dark clothing. It’s my thing, just like how some people like bright clothing.) or how I act(I’m a little… eccentric?). It’s just something that has never concerned me.
But at the same time, I understand that there are people who are not as… resolute? Firm? In their beliefs because they are new Christians or haven’t really faced any trials yet that will test their faith or whatever. And that’s fine. Like I said before, some people are given the gift of being able to tackle such issues, and some people are not. The problem, however, in my eyes is not the fact that people have different gifts and talents and some people can handle witnessing to LGTBQA people and some cannot–but that people shut out things they do not understand, like, or agree with. Christians especially–don’t like LGTBQA? Ignore it. Don’t like the president? Ignore it. Don’t like Muslims? Ignore them too. If you don’t think about it, the problem will magically disappear.
*cough* Sorry people, but that’s not how the world works. If you ignore your taxes, they’re not going to magically disappear either.
On the topic of human rights–all it really boils down to is that in the course of humanity idealizing truth and trying to “find their own truth,” they’ve in turn idealized morality and turned it into a “choice”. Oh, you want to be considered a good person but also like doing obviously wrong and evil things? Don’t worry, just find your own truth!
*clears throat* Again, sorry people, but that’s not how the world works. There are consequences for everything you do, and you will pay for them. I think this is where most people go wrong–consequences. In modern worldview, people are told to do whatever the heck they want, if it feels good or makes them happy. Notice the focus on them. This is all about how one individual feels, and nothing more. It’s the epitome of selfishness–If I feel good, then everything will be alright. Great. Sex feels good, so that means it’s perfectly fine to go get a 14yro girl pregnant and then run off, never to be heard of again. Drugs feel good, so that means it’s perfectly alright to get high all the time. Alcohol feels good, so that means it’s perfectly alright to drink until your so wasted you can’t see straight, then drive home and on the way hit a family out for an evening drive.
That’s the way the world thinks, and to an extent, even Christians think this way–If I pray about what I want, I’ll get it. If I raise my hands while worshiping, God will be happy with me and bless me. No. That’s not what this is about. The world does not revolve around you, in fact, you’re so minuscule that only around 50 people probably know who you really are. Sure, the world knows who Billy Graham was. But how many people knew him personally? Probably fewer than you think.
That’s my main problem with modern worldview–it revolves around yourself and how you feel. It says that you can make your own truth, when in reality truth is just as unmovable and unchangeable as God. Jesus is the Truth, and if you think that you can change Jesus you’ve got one heck of a ride coming for you. Humanity is not powerful–morality is not optional. The only people who believe so are those that are so deceived by the world that they cannot see what is right in front of them.
In the same way, the church has problems with accepting things. I once heard a preacher say he could tell how good a church was by how many cigarette butts were in the parking lot–the healthy do not need to be healed, the sick do. If the church can’t pull itself together to help those in need, how can they expect God to help them? Back on the topic of my LGTBQA friends, I don’t accept their worldview. I don’t accept that they think it’s right to be LGTBQA, but I accept them. As people. As humans, that deserve to be treated with basic human dignity and that in truth are just as broken, complex, and needy of God as every last one of us Christians. And if the church cannot accept the broken, then I don’t think it deserves to be called a church. Back on to the topic of treating everyone honorably–that is very true. The church thinks they can nitpick and whitewash the world into what they want it to be, just like people think they can decide truth for themselves. In return the church treats non-Christians like some sort of taboo cult, and the non-Christians treat the Christians like the uptight jerks they sometimes are. (More often than you think.) Then the church treats the non-Christians even more like taboo, and the non-Christians think the church is just even more uptight…. it’s a vicious cycle, and it’s not going to end if we Christians don’t get past our misconception that anyone doing anything outside of what the Bible says is just this evil, evil, stupid, taboo person that we must never treat with basic human dignity, honor, and courtesy. Last time I checked, Jesus chose sinners as his disciples, not Pharisees. If someone hadn’t witnessed to the sinners first, we would all be those evil, evil, stupid, taboo people that the church likes to blame everything on.
On to religion–exactly. Satan seeks to destroy us from the inside and out, so he has deceived people into defacing the Bible or altering it to fit their wants and needs. In a way, this leads back to modern worldview and the pursuit of truth–they think that they can change the only truth that is on this earth and decide for themselves what truth is, so they alter the Bible or just write their own. Even Christians do this to an extent–they pick and choose with parts of the Bible they like, and ignore the rest. That is not Christianity, or following God.
Honestly, I think one of the biggest problems with these topics is self-imposed ignorance. I think it just really comes down to the fact that people think that they can ignore things, or someone else will fix them, or that it’s not their problem. Newsflash, people, you live in this worlds so yes, it is your problem to.
(Really, more people need to watch the Lorax. UNLESS. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. That about sums up everything right there. If you don’t try, nothing is going to change. No one is going to swoop in and take the problem on for you, you need to overcome your self-imposed ignorance and unwillingness and do it yourself, with the help of God.)
My two cents, version 2.0
*vader vibes*November 20, 2018 at 8:23 pm #60678Princess Foo@princess-foo
I probably wouldn’t read a book knowing it was about LGBT stuff. If it wasn’t marketed as Christian, I would assume that it would be pro-LGBT, and I am not the type of person who can read a book like that and can come away unscratched. It would subtly affect my thinking into think that that is okay. Even secondhand exposure to the Supernatural fandom with Dean and Castiel shipping online shifts my thinking. I don’t even watch the show. So I can’t read stuff like that, for my own sake.
If it was marketed as Christian, I still probably wouldn’t read it, unless it was recommended to me. There are a couple of reasons why. 1) I don’t have a huge amount of respect for books marketed as “Christian”. I feel like they get a pass for being of a lesser quality because they are “Christian”. 2) I don’t really read outside of fantasy/sci-fi/historical/occasionally-mystery. I just don’t find general fiction interesting. 3) As people have said, Christians don’t have a lot of experience in these areas, and I wouldn’t trust them to handle it correctly.
Last time I checked, Jesus chose sinners as his disciples, not Pharisees.
I have thought that so many times!
The cake is a lie. acaylor.comNovember 20, 2018 at 10:43 pm #60719Josiah DeGraaf@josiah
@mlbolangerauthor Yeah–that seems like a pretty reasonable hypothesis. It reminds me of one of Lewis’ points in That Hideous Strength: humans are willing to reject a lot of people and ideas simply to be a part of the “in group..”
Yes–basically what I mean there is that if you need to be a part of a group to critique it effectively in fiction (which is, to be fair, a debatable hypothesis), the challenge of a Christian writing a book specifically toward a non-Christian or otherwise hostile audience about Christian issues seems to not just be practically difficult but theoretically difficult as well. I’m not sure it’s just a matter of “you just need to work very hard to do so,” and wonder if just lacks feasibility as an approach.
I agree with you on the subject of critique. There’s a whole sub-genre of articles out today that’s focused on complaining about the Church and that bothers me a lot. Not that Christians don’t have problems–but if Christ loved the Church to die for her despite her flaws, we ought to have a similar mindset. Love that proposal about how novels could tackle those kinds of themes!
Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.comNovember 21, 2018 at 9:19 am #60792Thomas (CrØss_Bl₳de)@thewirelessblade
Sorry to interrupt but, LGTBQA? What? I thought it was only LGTB. What are they adding now?
Probably shouldn’t ask, as I probably don’t wanna know.
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