Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do...

"Ask your neighbors for an off-the-cuff reaction to the words “Christian literature” and you’re likely to hear them stumble through a list of belittling adjectives.
Despite the swelling ranks of able Christian writers, the reaction demonstrates that we’re viewed as an inconsequential presence in the world of literature. This image belies reality—in fact, Christians are heirs to the tradition of Chaucer, Dante, and Donne; successors to Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Chekov; the literary descendants of G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers, and of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and of Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy….
All the names just mentioned were, of course, great writers because of their Christian faith, not in spite of it. They appreciated the inherent goodness of God’s creation; they knew the pervasive consequences of mankind’s Fall; they relished the hope of Christ’s resurrection; and they anticipated the day of His cosmic-wide redemption.
They combined talent with an irresistible urge to tell stories, and then—armed with this gripping worldview—they made sense of a seemingly pointless world. Their books and poems provided eternal significance to the mundane; they held out hope while never flinching from the cold, hard truth of life in a sin-afflicted world. As a result, their works are appreciated today across the entire breadth of our literary culture."

I've had people give me books because: "This seems like the kind of story you would read". (Because it was Christian Lit, I'm guessing.) One I am thinking of ended up being one of the most boring, pointless books I've flipped through. The spiritual aspect seemed to consist of a girl who was furious with God and refused to pray, while meandering through some sort of aimless adventure. I think at some point she became sorry, but I'm not sure I ever got that far. I have seen SO MANY trashy Christian books...
I like the way Regina Doman puts it on her website (
"As I mentioned, I read tons of them growing up, and pretty soon I discovered that there were two different kinds of Christian romance emerging - one kind was simply clean romance that had nothing, nothing at all that made the books specifically Christian. There was one series of pseudo-Harlequin Christian romances that exemplified this. In each book, it was mentioned in passing that at least the heroine was Christian, and no one ever had sex, but lots of times that's all there was to the Christianity. It bothered my friends and I that sometimes Christian girls ended up marrying guys who were either the most nominal of Christians or were "baby Christians," having converted on page 199, right before the book ended. It started to strike us as at least completely unrealistic, to say the least...
Then, there were the other kind of Protestant romance, the kind that had stuff about Christ and Christianity on every other page, whether it applied to the plot or not. There were historical novels... fantasy novels, and just plain romance novels. These somehow felt more 'valid' but they weren't always written very well...
Part of my problem growing up was that, because I read so many of these books,I found myself having to rework a lot of ideas I had about Christianity. It was pretty difficult at times to uproot my underlying assumptions about things like womanhood, romance, contraception (present in the contraceptive mentality of many of the books), and the purpose of marriage, because I had been powerfully shaped by the heroines of these books and their authors."

Aren't we supposed to be doing our best for God? A Lost Art is a great reminder of what our vision in writing should be. Or in whatever we do - Newton and Kepler and Dale Evans were all Christians too! :) Proverbs says that a man diligent in his business will stand before kings: if God gives you a vision, go for it with all that you are, for His glory! We cannot continue to hand over science, media, and everything else to those who are lost. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch... Those who know God's word need to use every available avenue to show the world what life is about. And do it well!

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