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. )

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