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Controversial Topics

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Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 105 total)
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  • #60793
    Martin Detwiler
    @karthmin

    It has expanded in various ways that haven’t been universally agreed upon, @thewirelessblade.

    myths don't die

    #60795
    Thomas (CrØss_Bl₳de)
    @thewirelessblade

    Great…… Just great….

    You’re a new face. Then again, a lot of folks ’round here are gonna be.

    *Forum Signature here*

    #60796
    Michelle
    @mlbolangerauthor

    @thewirelessblade – @karthmin is correct. It is pretty standard now to include the “QA” which stand for Queer and Asexual. I associate with many in that community, and try my best to be respectful of the way they ask to be addressed, but it is not universal.

    Clumsy but cute. Apologizes a lot. Doesn't shed. Much.

    #60797
    Michelle
    @mlbolangerauthor

    Great…… Just great…. You’re a new face. Then again, a lot of folks ’round here are gonna be.

    I am new. =) I’ll stumble around and trip over a few unspoken lines before I get this all figured out. I’m a bit of a rebel that way.

    Clumsy but cute. Apologizes a lot. Doesn't shed. Much.

    #60798
    Martin Detwiler
    @karthmin

    It’s really just a communication short-hand; nothing wrong with the acronym itself.

    Yes, I joined in the beginning of August. 🙂

    myths don't die

    #60800
    Thomas (CrØss_Bl₳de)
    @thewirelessblade

    @Karthmin and @mlbolangerauthor

    Welcome to Story Embers then! That was late.

    *Forum Signature here*

    #60801
    Thomas (CrØss_Bl₳de)
    @thewirelessblade

    @mlbolangerauthor

    *Forum Signature here*

    #60802
    Thomas (CrØss_Bl₳de)
    @thewirelessblade

    Hm, weird.

    *Forum Signature here*

    #60803
    Martin Detwiler
    @karthmin

    Btw, @mlbolangerauthor I am glad you found my comment so helpful. 😛

    I am going to reply to some of the later comments as well. This is a very important discussion and I don’t want to miss out on it completely! The past few days have just been a bit busy…

    (Also, I’d love to have you in my guild, per your request. 🙂 I’ve mentioned it to Daeus and we’re going to work something out.)

    myths don't die

    #60965
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    *pops back in* I keep meaning to get back to this conversation and then get busy. 😛 So, I agree with a lot of what’s being said… and I think most of us are saying similar things in different manners. 😉 A few thoughts, @mlbolangerauthor

    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.

    Now I do agree this can and does happen. And that we should be able to see things from other people’s povs. As a writer, I love doing that with all my characters, making them understandable and relatable, no matter how good or bad they are.

    At the same time, while I don’t think it’s at all ‘wrong’ to attempt to see things from another view point, I do think it’s something one needs to be cautious in the executing of. Namely, sin needs to be shown as sin, and the repercussions of sin also need to be shown. The value in understanding others comes in that we can see ourselves and understand ourselves better. We can see how we are similar to these people (be it a LGBTQ character or any other kind) and hence how we need the truth all the more.

    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.

    From what I’ve seen in other posts, one of your passions is showing the church how they ought to treat and view the unsaved. It’s not a theme I’ve thought about a lot, probably because I’ve not had to deal with this problem myself and have a number of good examples of this in my own life instead of the the less than perfect ones you seem to have interacted with. 🙁 Anyways, I think it’s a cool theme and one that could be very powerful.

    My main question though is what this empathy and acceptance looks like and what the end goal is. I’m assuming your goal goes beyond ‘accept them for who they are’. That’s what the world is teaching already. As Christians, we are to love everyone, no matter their sin (because let’s face it, we’re all sinners) because Christ loved us. The end goal of this is to show them the truth and bring them to God though, not just like them because we should like them.

    I’m not even sure acceptance is the right word, because when one accepts something, there is this stamp of unspoken approval as well as a sense of normalcy. And something that is sin should never be ‘accepted and normal’ in this sense, be it LGBTQ or other kinds of immorality or abortion or human trafficking. Yes, we love because God loved us. Yes, they are just people with struggles like us. In writing, as in life, the sin needs to be separated from the sinner, with love being shown to the sinner while one doesn’t ignore the sin just to make people feel good.

    Back to one of the things you mentioned, this is related to the reason I’d not write a LGBTQ main character. If the point of your book is to teach Christians, then generally the MC goes through an arc related to what you want to teach. Hence, you’d be much more likely to bring across your message with a Christian character confronted with these problems. Because if your target audience is a Christian with these problems, then you can’t expect them to ‘step outside those’ and read your book when it falls outside the lines of what they’d read already because of the MC. Not… sure that made any sense. *furrows brow* But if I were trying to convince, say, a target audience that abortion was wrong, I wouldn’t give them a MC who was on the ‘opposite side’ and marched in pro life rallies. Instead I’d give them an MC they could relate and agree with, then gradually draw them in and open up more points of view and show, through the events of the story, how right and wrong really lay.

    But I will say this. I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing if a Christian decides to not read a book with, say, a LGBTQ main character. Yes, I like books that challenge me. But if I think a book is going to normalize sin, such as a couple who lives together out of wedlock or a gay couple, I probably won’t read it. Not because I hate those kinds of people or because I think they are somehow less than human. But, as Christians, we are supposed to be in the world, but not of it. We are supposed to think on good things. And yes, that does include darkness that makes the light brighter. Yet it’s also a matter of controlling what one puts in their mind. If I read or watch a lot of stuff with swearing, those words will pop up in my head without me meaning it and I’ll realize I need to stop watching such things for a bit. Same thing with all kinds of immorality and other sin. If I watch or read a lot of that, it tends to become more and more normal and less and less a sin in my own mind… something I don’t think is the goal of anyone here. 😉

    With topics like these, I think they can make great themes and books. I also think not everyone is called to write on themes like this, nor is everyone prepared and able to write on them. And that’s fine. But for me the issue is not so much ‘I don’t want to learn about these people’ as ‘how is sin treated, alongside grace and mercy’?

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #61604
    Martin Detwiler
    @karthmin

    Wow. So much has been said since my last long comment. I’m having a hard time collating it all into a cohesive whole, so I think I’ll just ramble on until I feel that I’ve said what I need to say.

    First, @mlbolangerauthor , I wanted to address your question about how to market our undeniably Christian books without getting boxed into the “Christian fiction” corner, and at the same time not coming across as using a “bait-and-switch” tactic. It’s a hard question, and one that I haven’t personally had to deal with yet, so pardon me if my thoughts are scattered. I have had zero marketing experience.

    I think it’s safe to say that we shouldn’t hide the faith based elements of our books, but at the same time I think there are ways that we can re-frame the discussion by using different ‘catch-phrases’ in our marketing. I think Christian authors who have the goals and intended audience like you do should find new ways to describe their books. Avoiding cliches like “faith-based”, and “Christian fiction,” and instead focusing on how your books challenge the norm may be a better way to market them. Just like in storytelling, conflict can be a selling-point.

    I feel like I’m the least qualified person to say anything more about marketing, though.

    Second, when it comes to how the church approaches and deals with LGBTQ individuals, I think there are at least three different ways that people look at it, and this causes a lot of confusion and contradiction – both when someone tries to address the real problems from the inside, and when people try to approach the church from the outside. Rather than blanketing a “hypocrisy” label across all the church, then, because of these contradictions, I like to break it down into the individual perspectives that create this patchwork of contradictory approaches.

    1. There is the perspective that those who identify as LGBTQ and/or are part of those communities, have done so as a result of choosing to do so. There is a whole segment of the church (my own parents included) who find the argument that people are “born that way” extremely problematic and would never acknowledge it as true. From their perspective, then, LBGTQ individuals are confronted with temptations to sin just like everyone else, but they have made a series of choices to take the route towards those specific sins.

    I think there is a measure of truth to this perspective. It is one thing to engage with temptations, but it is another thing altogether to use them as identifiers. So, those who have joined the LGBTQ community and live in a lifestyle that accommodates their particular orientation did make a choice to do so. So in that sense, this first perspective is right. There is a measure of choice involved. However, to say that they chose to go down that route in the first place, and were not born with an internal proclivity to those temptations – that’s another statement altogether.

    Here’s where this perspective effects our discussion. People who have this viewpoint are not going to approach the LGBTQ question with an attitude of compassion first and foremost, because in their minds, these people have made a series of evil mental/spiritual/physical choices that resulted in the struggle that they have. So their solution is repentance and a new series of choices that will reverse (or even undo) these sexual proclivities and/or orientations. So then, there’s no need to address this issue in fiction. There’s no need for a lowering of defenses for open communication to take place. There’s no need for prolonged discussion. The message is clear and simple: repent and change your ways.

    While not 100% incorrect, this is a tone-deaf, highly flawed, and incomplete answer; because of that, it does more to drive these individuals away than to draw them in.

    2. Second, there is the “accept you as you are” position, which does not offer the Gospel, real grace, or hope for change, but only presents people with bland acceptance. It is a manifestly unChristian perspective, and frankly does nothing to attract people to Christ, because those individuals can find the same kind of acceptance within their own circles – people with whom they have far more in common.

    3. Third, there is the perspective that I hold to, which is that every individual is born with unique proclivities to unique temptations. Everyone is born broken, and in very different ways. There are an infinite number of ways to draw a line crooked, not just one way. So when we maintain that all people are born under the mastery of sin, we are not saying that all people face the exact same temptations. Far from it.

    Instead, I believe that we are are all “born that way”, with respect to the temptations that we uniquely struggle with. That is, every one of us is broken and flawed in a specific way, with a peculiar conglomeration of proclivities and temptations that nobody else faces in the same combination. This levels the playing field between all people. So then, we do not approach an LGBTQ individual with the off-putting premise of, “You chose this for yourself!” Instead, we approach them with the premise that, “I too am broken in ways that I did not choose.”

    This does not give room for fatalism, or for the excuse, “I can’t help it, I was born this way!” Yes, you were born this way. But we all were. And none of us has an excuse. To all of us, the Gospel comes and says, “I am your healing, I am your cleansing, I am your restoration, I am your purity.” To all of us, the Gospel then says, “Take up your cross, and follow Me.” To all of us, the Gospel says, “Be holy, as I am holy.” To all of us, the Gospel says, “Be merciful, as your heavenly father is merciful.” To all of us, the Gospel is the same: “You are broken, and you cannot help or change yourself, but Christ is perfect, and He can and will save you in the midst of your particular brokenness. Your temptations may change, or they may well remain the same, but either way, in Christ you will have a fountain that is open for continual, repeated cleansing, because in Him you are already perfect.”

    To me, this underscores the universal sameness and humanity of all people, regardless of their particular struggle or temptation. Even if someone has given in to their temptation and has identified themselves by it, they are still fundamentally the same as me: a person who is broken and in need of Christ. Now, out of brokenness, someone who identifies and lives as LGBTQ has embraced their brokenness and taken pride in it, which is evil. And that is a choice. It is something that should be repented of. But apart from a premise that levels the playing field between all of humanity and allows us to actually enter their perspective with compassion and empathy, that message of repentance will only alienate. And I’m not talking about tritely saying, “I’m a sinner, too.” I’m talking about letting the walls down and saying, “I did not choose the temptations that I struggle with day in and day out, and I daily wonder why God made me the way that I am, knowing that these temptations would be a daily issue, and knowing that I would fail Him so frequently. I struggle with feeling worthless and broken and dispensable. I struggle with the fear that my weaknesses will be present for all of my life and make me useless for the kingdom. But in Christ I have an unshakeable hope that my brokenness has been made whole in the eyes of God, and that one day I will be made whole in the new heavens and new earth. And I have an unshakeable hope in the promise of God that that while I am here on this earth, step by step, my brokenness will begin to be undone and I will advance closer to the Christ I love.

    When it comes to applying this perspective to storytelling, I hope some of the conclusions are obvious:

    1. We are to highlight our universal brokenness, our universal tendency to identify ourselves by our temptations, and the uncommon hope of redemption. Whether we are doing this in a book with the theme of how to properly balance reason and emotion, or in a book with the theme of dealing with same-sex attraction, the fundamental message is the same. So in a sense, instead of being abnormal, a book that deals with these so-called controversial topics ought to be little different (in basic thrust) than a book that deals with ‘tamer’ themes. It ought to be the same transformative hope that we present, regardless of the theme we’re dealing with.

    I’m not denying the sensitivity of these topics. Because of the first and second perspectives I talked about, this issue is one which the church has monumentally mishandled, and which needs to be addressed both in real life and through influential fiction. But what I’m trying to get at is that the solution is not all that complicated. And it may not even take as much research and preparation as some of us seem to think. How we address this in our stories ought not to be any more complicated than the way we address other themes. We get to the universal human root of the issue and examine the universal human tendencies through our characters, and then we mythologize it and address it with redemption solutions through the plot. It’s that complicated and yet that simple.

    +++

    I feel as if I have bypassed meaningful interaction with a lot of the comments made in this discussion, and that saddens me. But let it be known that I have read this whole thread and appreciate many of the comments made. I wish I had further time to interact with them on an individual basis.

     

     

    myths don't die

    #61716
    Eden Anderson
    @eden-anderson

    @mlbolangerauthor

    I know I am super late, and know like nothing compared to the rest of you educated, smart people, but…

    WOW! This is amazing! I love this…I think I have learned more just reading though this one thread than I have since the time I joined three months ago!

    I feel like there is a huge need for honest writing of hard topics in the Christian genre. To everything said on here…”A-men”

    One topic that nobody mentioned that I would love to see someone address is about females who deal with porn. I feel like women who struggle with porn addictions are hugely misunderstood in the Church. There’s all this fuss about guys “being visual” and guys “guarding their eyes” and there are all these books and classes and seminars for them but I think women who struggle with porn go mostly ignored and this can lead to them feeling alone, and like they are weird, and abnormal. That’s my idea anyway…ya’ll might have different experiences/ideas.

    What do you all think of addressing this in fiction?


    @karthmin

    Are you a professor or something?? You have an amazing way of getting your point across well and clearly. I have really enjoyed reading your posts.

    You too, @hope-ann

    "But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    #61787
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    *peeks back in* I have nothing to add to what you just said, @karthmin. Only that I’ve never heard it put quite that way before but it makes so much sense and I agree with it so much. *salutes* Thank ye, Professor.

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #62160
    Martin Detwiler
    @karthmin

    @eden-anderson I agree with you about the topic of women who struggle with lust/pornography. It is one that needs to be addressed honestly. For that matter, I don’t think I’ve really seen that same issue addressed in fiction with respect to men, either. It is a problem that can effect anyone, regardless of gender. Sure, there are generalizations that we can make, but as soon as we get hung up on them and act like women *shouldn’t* struggle with such-and-such, and/or men *shouldn’t* struggle with this-or-that, that’s really problematic. Because, again, we’re all broken in unique ways.

    At heart, I think the way to address this in fiction is just like the other so-called controversial topics: we get to the thematic heart of the sin issue and address that theme (or themes) with our stories and characters.

    *laughs* No, I am by no means a professor. 😀 But thank you very much, that’s a high compliment! And at the end of the day, I’m just glad that what I’ve said has been helpful!


    @hope-ann
    *returns salute* Thank you!

    {Haha, so… is Professor going to be my informal nickname, then? XD}

    myths don't die

    #62197
    Michelle
    @mlbolangerauthor

    @karthmin

    I’ve been super busy and haven’t had time to respond or even read all the responses. **insert joy for having a wonderfully full life** I plan to get caught up this weekend.

    However, I do have to take a moment to say I agree with @hope-ann. You put into words the convictions I have come to live by yet hadn’t been able to fully articulate. I also have never heard it worded as clearly as you did. THANK YOU!

    I also salute you, sir, and put forth a motion to formally affirm your informal nickname as “Professor Karthim” henceforth. Is there a second?

     

    Clumsy but cute. Apologizes a lot. Doesn't shed. Much.

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