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POLL: What Should Christian Fiction Accomplish?

Is Christian Fiction a way to share the message with seekers and unbelievers? Or is it mainly a vehicle to inspire and entertain existing Christians? I’d love to know your thoughts. Please select what you consider the top two goals Christian Fiction should accomplish. If there’s an answer you think should be included, feel free to add that to the list. (NOTE: “All of the above” misses the point of this poll, which is to isolate the MAIN OBJECTIVE readers give of Christian Fiction.)
[polldaddy poll=8569463]

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Deborah January 8, 2015, 6:52 AM

    Well. To be honest, I just want to read a well written story and know that the author shares my beliefs. That’s pretty much it. It doesn’t have to be positive or safe or convert readers or heck even inspiring. Am I weird?

    • Ruth January 9, 2015, 6:55 AM

      What you said. Well-written, entertaining, and thought-provoking…that’s what I’m after.

  • Mike Duran January 8, 2015, 8:59 AM

    Deb, I agree. But you may be outside the norm of the CF audience. I like to read Christian authors not because they write Christian fiction, but because I’m hugely supportive of Christians in the arts. Christian fiction, on the other hand, seems to have a different agenda than just telling a good story.

  • Avily Jerome January 8, 2015, 9:05 AM

    I didn’t vote. Because I think it IS all of the above. It’s different things for different people, and it meets different needs and wants.

  • Lauren January 8, 2015, 9:06 AM

    You got me (and, admittedly, I wanted to vote “all of the above”). If you can’t first entertain, you won’t effectively accomplish any of the others (at least with fiction). I do think I accomplish this with my own writing, but now that you’ve pinned me down, I will give the entertainment aspect more thought!

  • Brent King January 8, 2015, 9:45 AM

    Great responses Deborah, Avily, and Lauren! Beyond this, as authors we are wise to have a target audience. I speak differently to those that don’t know Christ than I do to those that do.

  • Kessie January 8, 2015, 10:39 AM

    Speaking as a longtime reader of Christian spec fic (especially as a teen), I just wanted a clean, entertaining ride. And if the Wingfeather books had been around then, I would have read them until I wore the covers off. 🙂

  • Matthew Sample II January 8, 2015, 11:46 AM

    I am wary about purely evangelistic fiction, simply because I don’t want to taint the gospel with falseness. As someone who has struggled with skepticism, I want to find ways to differentiate what is true from what is false and not mix them.

    However, I am interested in the idea of entertaining fiction used as a platform for the gospel–especially as a vehicle for interacting with those who need to hear the gospel. The interaction acting as a portal for the gospel is different than explicitly evangelistic fiction.

    What say you?

    • Lauren January 8, 2015, 12:07 PM

      I was raised in the church, but didn’t have a saving faith until I was middle aged. Sadly, I had become almost “immune” to the deeper meaning of Bible stories I’d heard repeatedly from early childhood (although, the seeds of knowledge had been planted). Christian allegory in fiction actually helped me view Bible truths through fresh eyes as a young adult. At that point, I became more open to a mature understanding of the gospel. I think Christian fiction can be very valuable. I don’t think it can taint the gospel with falseness. I don’t think anyone would take fiction literally — but it can’t point readers in the right direction. I write Christian fiction mainly because it played an important role in my own salvation.

      • Lauren January 8, 2015, 12:10 PM

        Shoulda proofread that … I meant to say it CAN point readers in the right direction … when done well.

  • Jay DiNitto January 8, 2015, 1:03 PM

    “Too nuanced to make a certain statement, but there should be a mission.”

    That was my “other” comment. I don’t think the premise of the question is entirely accurate, since I don’t think God wants Christian fiction to be anything universally. He’s going to ask different things from different authors and I’m wary of dictating, even in a roundabout way, what others’ missions should be.

    • Teddi Deppner January 11, 2015, 9:52 PM

      I agree with Jay. Whether we’re talking about fiction written by a Christian or something with the label “Christian fiction” that is sold in Christian bookstores for Christians to read, I think each author just needs to be true to what they feel they should write.

      And then they should analyze what they’ve written and find a way to market it to an audience that will receive it. Sometimes, the understanding of who it’s really for might happen after you’ve finally finished it. Writing a book is often such a journey… one that takes you places you didn’t realize you were going until you get there. 😉

  • Sharon January 9, 2015, 6:54 AM

    I like Christian fiction that incites wonder and inquiry. That is why I chose Evangelism; but I’m not sure that was the best choice. Because I don’t mean the kind of story that has an obvious gospel message. I prefer the lure to be subtle.

  • Mick January 9, 2015, 10:54 AM

    Where’s the “Down and dirty realism for high art to the Creator” category? 🙂

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