Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Should CBA change? part 2

The CBA also has other issues to deal with. They have a responsibility to their customers. There is a trust factor that they take for granted at their own peril.

They also need to make sure that they don't lose sight of their mission. If they just publish clean novels, then my fear is that they will be bombarded with proposals from non-Christian authors desperate for a place to publish. If this happens the true Christian author might be pushed aside.

Which points to another issue. It seems to me that some authors want the CBA to publish them simply because they are Christian. But Christian authors are not automatons. They possess creativity. They are capable of writing about subjects that have nothing to do with Christianity. And, most importantly, they should write what they want. But conversely, CBA should publish what they want. Then the writer can look for his market and the publishers can look their authors. Then everyone is happy. Right?

But wait Dayle. If the ABA is biased against Christianity, shouldn't the CBA be a place where this bias is countered. Even C.S. Lewis said that we don't need more good Christian writers, we need more good writers who are Christian. I absolutely agree. But I don't see a bias against Christian authors in the ABA. In fact, I read that they are more and more open to it.

I say let CBA be what it is. They will survive or fail on their own merit.

Consider CBA the church and ABA the mission field. Then just ask yourself "Which are you called to?" Remember - only Christians shop in the Christian fiction section.

Besides, I am not convinced that there is great potential for evangelical outreach in Christian fiction. The "Christian worldview" novels tend to be to generic for true outreach. I also believe that the ministerial component is greatly under-appreciated and underestimated by the authors who wish their work to be a missionary outreach. What's wrong with ministering to the faithful? Pastors do it every day. -- But . . .

This brings me to my final point. There is a great benefit to writing a novel that has no apparent Christian message. Let's look at Ted Dekker. When I first read Thr3e ( which I love and strongly recommend ), my reaction was "What's Christian about this?" But my next reaction was "I'd sure like to read more of his stuff." So I read Blink ( which I love and strongly recommend ), which was a little closer. Then I read the Circle trilogy - Black, Red, and White ( which I also love and recommend. ). Now I know why he's a Christian author. These books are overtly Christian.

So there is the beauty of it. The non-Christian fans that come to Dekker via his Christian neutral books will in all likelihood search out his other works. Thus you have - literary missionary outreach. A path that I hope to follow one day. ( If God gives me permission that is. )

Monday, May 28, 2007

Should CBA change? Part 1

There lies within the realms of Christian fiction, a small ( I assume ) band of authors who want to challenge what they consider to be a narrow minded stubbornness on the part of the so-called gate keepers of the industry, otherwise known as executives at the Christian publishing houses.

They believe that the standards are too rigid. No profanity. No sex. No extreme violence. And on top of that, a clear Christian theme must be included (forcibly if necessary). The rebels believe the executives to be too strict and uncompromising. That their hard line stance is leaving in their wake of pious elitism, a large untapped mission field of fiction readers who don't venture into the Christian fiction section.

But, that is exactly the problem with this view: Only Christians shop in the Christian fiction section.

The rebels want to write Christian worldview novels. Novels without an obvious Christian message. The theory is that whatever is written by a Christian is inherently Christian. To me, this is denial. Christians are not infallible. Therefore, not every novel written by a Christian will inherently be truth.

-- By the way, I don't have a problem with Christians writing novels that have no apparent Christian message, in fact there is a great benefit to this, which I will discuss later --

The rebels claim that they want to reach the non-believers. But to what end? If the Christian world view novels have no overt Christian message, then how is the unbeliever who happens to pick one up going to know? No one is going to read Ted Dekker's Obsessed or Thr3e and then immediately drop to their knees and have a conversion. I consider myself to be a well versed Christian and I couldn't discern a message in either of those books that will lead someone to Christ. Sure there are semblances of Christian values involved, but this is true of most secular novels.

Most so-called Christian philosophical principles are not unique to biblical teachings. Only the gospel is unique. And without Christ Jesus there is no gospel. Without Christ Jesus, a novel cannot be used as effective missionary outreach. The Christian worldview novel can, however, serve as an effective counter to the novels that preach anti-Christian principles and provide a positive influence in cultural aspects. But to do this they must be published through ABA.

To be continued . . .

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hart for God

It seems to me that since the "Fall"
- without even thinking it odd-
That man has had no trouble at all believing that he can be God.
How he would do this I cannot conceive, tho, he certainly thinks that he can
--And yet, he cannot bring himself to believe that God can become . . . a man.

-from a B.C. comic strip by Johnny Hart.

B.C. is my favorite comic strip ever. I know I'm a little late, but I just found out that Johnny Hart passed away recently (April 2007). For those that don't know, he created B.C. and The Wizard of Id comic strips.
Thanks for not being afraid to express your faith through your work, Johnny.