Forums Fiction Themes Disappointment


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    Have you ever tried to portray “disappointment with the church” on any writting of yours?

    Do you have any suggestion?

    I’m wrinting about a man (40 years old, single) who lost something very precious due to bad counsel from brothers.  I didn’t decided yet if it will have an happy end.


    Hi @candide !

    I have not yet written this novel, but one of the stories of my heart is about young people hurt very seriously by the church, inspired by things I’ve witnessed and heard about in the past couple years. So I’m not sure if I have any real advice to give on the topic, but I’m really excited that someone is writing and thinking about similar themes.

    I guess maybe consider if your character is disappointed in the church, God, or both. How have others in the church reacted to him? Is he still in the church, or has he left it? How has he responded spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and relationally?

    I hope this helps, and I’d love to read your story when you write it!


    "Can't have dirty garbage."



    So, I’ve never written a story about disappointment with the church but it’s something I’m familiar with. Like sparrowhawke said, I’m really glad someone wants to write about it! It’s definitely a topic that should be addressed in fiction.

    I have had a bit of experience with writing about the church, only because I have a character in my novel that represents it. She lets the protagonist down a few times, though that’s not a big part of the story.

    When writing your story I think it would be really important to clarify whether the MC is only disappointed in his church, or disappointed in his church and God, because that will make a big difference in the story. I’d also suggest spending some time in prayer about how to portray the Church in your story. It’s really easy to make it seem like a villain (rather than just an antagonist). I made this mistake at first when writing my novel, but God reminded me that He loves His bride, no matter how flawed she is. So it’s definitely a tricky thing to balance.

    I hope that makes sense!


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@epicaddie2 and @sparrowhawke</p>
    Thanks for the answers! And the good questions you mentioned. It seems they can help me to develop my writing.

    I think this character is disappointed in the church. His arc will be: how to trust again the children of God?

    Thanks also for suggesting to pray over this theme. Yes, The Bride! I really forgot doing that!



    Taylor Clogston

    I haven’t written a story about this, but I need to some day. I have the question, but don’t yet have good answers.

    I’ve seen a lot of friends thrown into hopelessness by the church.

    Usually it’s because they experienced or witnessed emotional, physical, or (it was this one in most cases, let’s be honest) sexual abuse perpetrated by their parents (or occasionally by their pastors) and covered up by the church after the abusers made a token of repentance after being caught out in public.

    It was this, and not the arrogant college professors and doe-eyed new age spiritualists (who they promised would lure me away from God when I became a young adult) who stole the people I loved from me.

    Some of these friends left God entirely. Others simply left corporate worship. I can’t say I blame many of them.

    It’s one of the most bitter questions imaginable: How can a person who seeks after God with all his heart fail to protect innocent children? Whether by his cowardice (which is at least a personal failing) or by happenstance or mistake, how is this possible? How can a victim look at the community which has been throughout all her life the vessel of God’s love and not see it as the failing of God Himself? How can we expect such a person to hold on to God, let alone the church?

    Regarding fiction that deals with this, Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor is about disillusionment with religious Christianity, and I recommend it, though it focuses more on the isolation and hopelessness of someone who, seeing the hypocrisy and worthlessness of some aspect of the church, veers completely away and lives instead by an inhuman antireligion.

    The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry is in huge part about disappointment with the church in general and failure of the church to protect the innocent in particular. To my mind it says nothing worthwhile about how we move on from or redeem the church, but there it is. As a bonus, Story Embers did a bunch of articles on it: https://storyembers.org/promise-of-jesse-woods-series/

    I’ll pray for your wisdom as you figure out how to write this. And I realize you might have been talking about completely different reasons for disappointment with the church, whether in lukewarmness or political correctness or simple hypocrisy. Sorry for the projection =P

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita


    Totally agree with you @taylorclogston. In my experience, the biggest enemies have come from within the church. It is quite disillusioning.

    "Can't have dirty garbage."


    @taylorclogston, your words highlight how not easy to manage this theme is. It can touch very deep our hearts, even when we aren’t the victims. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I didn’t know Wise Blood. I will read it for sure. By the time SE launched the reading club on The Promise of Jesse Woods I tried to buy it, but I just couldn’t. Maybe it’s time to read the articles.

    You are rigth:  the story I began to write doesn’t mention anything so difficult as sexual crimes, but, yes, it has do to with people sinnig against each other (at least, by not loving) and how this forty years old man will deal with it being himself the victim.

    Thanks for your praying. I wish I could write something (even without an happy end) that brings grace (and a warm hug :-)) to the reader.

    You know, I’m Brazilian. It’s interesting that this theme can reach Christians from different backgrounds.


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