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At Novel Rocket: “Why We Should NOT Label Christian Fiction”

I’m posting today at Novel Rocket. Springboarding off of Rachelle Gardner’s recent, heavily commented-upon query, “Should We Label Christian Fiction?,” I’ve answered that with a resounding NO.

Here’s an excerpt from my article Why We Should NOT Label Christian Fiction:

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The problem I have in labeling Christian fiction is that the moment we slap a label on our books we are conceding a stereotype.

  • If Christian fiction IS easily definable, then let’s label it.
  • If Christian fiction IS “a 300 page gospel tract,” then let’s label it.
  • If Christian fiction IS G-rated, family-friendly fare, then let’s label it.
  • If Christian fiction IS NOT something “that anyone can access,” then let’s label it.
  • If Christian fiction IS ONLY FOR CHRISTIANS, then let’s label it.

But if we concede that good Christian lit can reach outside religious circles, carry a biblical worldview without being preachy, and be enjoyed by “laymen,” then we should fight to keep our stories and authors from being burdened by a label that has, frankly, become dead weight.

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You can read the entire post HERE. Love to hear your thoughts about my conclusions.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • TC Avey January 30, 2012, 8:24 AM

    I get your points, however I am still torn. I know how it feels to get a book and then really dislike/disagree with the undertone message- if I had known the agenda this book was pushing I would not have purchased it.
    While I don’t feel that book should be labeled, I do think perhaps its back cover and some of our back covers could give a little more detail that at least hints at the undertone of the book- for Christians it is that we are in fact Christian.
    I am Christian and proud of it. I think I write for everyone, but if me “disguising” my writing hurts the audience, if it turns them off because they feel I have tried to deceive them, then I have lost the intended goal- to share a story with good morals, to make the audience think and perhaps accept what they previously would have rejected.
    As I said, I’m torn on this. For the most part I am offended that my writing needs a warning label- like it’s rated X or something. This seems like it is just one more example of the world trying to push us aside and demean our beliefs. BUT, if letting people know my fiction is Christian will in the end help one person accept Christ or open their eyes to Christianity, then it is worth it to be labeled and segregated. I don’t like it, I feel pressured into it, but I think it MIGHT be something that could work to our good.

  • Jonathan January 30, 2012, 10:41 AM

    I would like to say that I have no idea how I stumbled upon you, though the less than spectacular truth is I know exactly how I did, but regardless, I am ever so grateful that I found your blog (and writings) because your conclusions match mine. Your’s is much more succinct than mine, but I absolutely and resoundingly agree with what you said.

    Anyone interested in my less succinct version can find my comments on the original blog, but I warn you now, Mike said it better.

  • James V. O'Connor January 30, 2012, 12:09 PM

    Good points you make about labeling Chistian fiction. Why preach to the choir? Some people frown upon my self-help book, “CUSS CONTROL, the Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing,” because it contains swear words (there to make a point and to appeal to my targeted readers). In my novel about fidelity and temptation, “Another Man’s Treasure,” there are some sex scenes, the most-but-not-very graphic sex scene involves a man and his wife. Can you see anything wrong with that?

  • Jonathan Myers February 8, 2012, 1:28 PM

    I personally see myself as a christian who writes fiction, not a writer who happens to be a christian. Therefore I have no problem with being honest that my writing is unashamedly adhering to a christian worldview. Seekers and believers will read the work- the lost simply will not. This is not to say that a story I write will not appeal to the secular reader, but I feel a responsibilty to be honest with them.

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