Lately (at least among the people I know) the subject of Christianity being injected into art – mostly books and movies – has been going around a lot. There is obviously mixed opinions on this subject, so I’m going to give my own opinion on this.
Two quick facts: I am an author, and I am a Christian. I am not a Christian Author, though. For some reason people (Christians) assume if you’re a Christian who is an author (or artist of any kind really), that means you have to make “Christian” art. In other words, in the case of storytelling, you have to write stories that have blatant Christian messages, Christian characters, and probably a God or Jesus figure in it as well.
Newsflash: I don’t like reading or writing stories like that, and I don’t think you need to blatantly talk about God and Christianity to actually have Christian messages/themes in your stories. Let me restate that: It is possible to have a great Christian message in your story without ever mentioning God/Jesus, Christianity, or the Bible. If you come from a Christian worldview, your worldview is most likely going to come out in your writing, whether or not you make it blatantly obvious.
A friend of mine got a book published and lots of people were criticizing it for not being very good Christian fiction. Nowhere on the book did it ever claim to be Christian fiction, however the fact that the author was a Christian and also the fact that Christianity and God were offhandedly mentioned in the story made people assume it was Christian literature, even though it wasn’t. That being said, I thought it had a good Christian message and themes in it, but there were too many people concerned with the fact that it was too “dark” and not blatant enough to get anything out of it, which I found sad, as it was one of the most touching stories I’ve ever read.
I’ve seen a lot of young Christian writers worrying about whether or not they’re being “God-honoring” with their writing, and they seem to think that to be God-honoring, you have to show God or Jesus in your writing. I don’t believe that to be the case. What you need to do is focus on making it the best thing you can make it be – focus on making a good story, not a good message. Make something beautiful; use your imagination. The simple act of creating can be seen as God-honoring. If you have a passion for creating, and you’re pursuing that passion, that can be seen as God-honoring.
I’m not a Christian Author. I don’t write stories about Christians, or make fantasy worlds with some stand-in religion based on Christianity, or coming up with weird new names for the God or Jesus figure. I am simply an author. I write stories about people who struggle with their lives. Sometimes these people do talk about the existence of God and wonder about Him. Sometimes they may even cry out to Him from desperation. However, I’d rather it not be labeled as Christian fiction, as it is not written to or for Christians. It’s written for everyone to enjoy. Also I have a feeling most people who read things labeled as Christian fiction wouldn’t enjoy my stories.
I’m not a Christian Author, I’m just an author who attempts to follow the teachings of Jesus. He was also a storyteller, so I’d like to believe that he’d approve of what I do. Maybe not always the way I do it, but I’m only human. I’m allowed to mess up and make a few terrible rough drafts, right?