Friday, September 05, 2008

Weekend Chat: Is African American Christian Fiction Really on the Rise or Spiritually Immature?

At the Christian Fiction Network(click here to join) Author, Linda Beed began a discussion about the authenticity of some Christian Fiction Writers. She states:

There has been ongoing debate as to what content of Christian works should and should not be. Authors have been vilified and praised by the masses. In a recent interview I was asked how I felt about authors jumping on the Christian fiction bandwagon.

My response is one that raised both eyebrows of the journalist. I do have concerns about those I (can only speak for myself) crossing-over for the sake of a cash register receipt and those who have been there, stretching and in more instances than not, crossing the line of (in my opinion) of what Christian content should be. More than that I take issue with the 'Christian' readers, authors and promoters supporting the suspect works...

This should not be so. As Christians we have a standard to uphold. We're not perfect nor do we always get it right, but, I believe that we stop compromising and promoting what is not Christian, the genre (AA in particular) would not struggle under the dark cloud of suspicion it now endures: Linda Beed.

Here is my response:

Hey, Linda.

As reviewers we both have a responsibility to divide the two types of genres. At RT we have the right to tell our editors that a particular title does not belong in the inspirational department and then have it moved to the correct genre. I've done that often this year.

Last month at the Faith in Fiction Retreat we talked about what Christian Fiction is and what it isn't. The discussion was great and we will talk about it further on September 30 on Ella Curry's Blog Talk Radio Show.

However, I think this problem doesn't just lie inside reviewers and the AA author enclave we belong to, but this challenge is also a mark of our spiritual immaturity. I believe--wholeheartedly--that Christian Fiction should do one or more of three things:

1. Edify the Body of Christ
2. Glorify God
3. Serve as a Kingdom Building Tool

#3 is the action that may be the challenge for authors who don't share the opinion that like Christ we have to meet people where they are.

I have interviewed authors who have expressed to me that they are not Christian Fiction Writers. Yet when they began to explain their writing process, and share what the nuts and bolts of what their story is about it is apparent like a light shining down on them that they are Christian Fiction Authors. And what I have also found is that these authors once they surrender to that fact their stories become more vertical, the dialogue becomes more vertical, the sex scenes become less explicit.

On the other hand, there are authors who don't care to think about God in their writing, their not tapped into their soul's source, they are only in this genre because their agent told them to. I believe and I have seen the backlash from Christian readers. So I think the marketplace eventually moves those people out the way.

As Christian authors we should help our weaker brother/sister writer. Pray for their revelation that their stories matter more than dollars. We continue to dialogue about this topic and we take the time to have authentic, personal, one-on-one conversations with our writer family when we are concerned by what they are doing.

Short story. I had a CBA agent tell me that she thought the first chapter of my novel was lusty. I chuckled, because those that know me know I much of a prude I am. LOL. So are aesthetics about that could vary, but in any case I would love your opinion. And please remember that 90% of the AA Christian writers do not write within CBA.

Now.... I want to know what you think?

What Christian Fiction novel have you read that made you back up and so whoa too much lust and lies?

What else? Subscribe via email or follow CFB on twitter. And if you want to keep up with my busy life and the world of christian pr follow me on Twitter and Utterz


GOD'S LADIE said...

I have not come across one yet that I remember that was too steamy. I love the post! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I will be very interested in joining your panel. Feel free to email me or leave a post with more details. Thanks for the invite as well. May you have a blessed weekend!

Dee S. said...

Thanks Latonya for stopping by. I am reading a story right now that is steamy and Christian, which is not by definition supposed to be. But I read and study the Word and some of my favorite stories are the steamy love stories in the Bible. So I;m excited about this book.

beverly taylor said...

The Bible is the orginator of ALL stories. "There is nothing new under the sun," (Ecclesiates). The Bible is full of stories of lust, lies, fornication, adultery, murder, idolatry, deceit, theft, violence, etc. So that lets me know that the CBA has no idea what the Bible is really all about. It certainly is no fairytale book as many of their novels are. That's why I like reading stories from Walk Worthy Press because they tell the real deal without using profane and profound language. Yes, Christians do cheat, steal, lie, whore around, have abortions, wreck homes, etc. Wake up people! There is none righteous! No not one! (excluding Jesus, of course. His name alone is righteous). But just because there is none righetous doesn't give a Christian the green light to wallow in sin. I'd rather live my life as if there is a God and die and find out there isn't, than to live my life as if there isn't a God and die to find out there is. Don't get a sistah started, glory hallelujah!

David Murdoch said...

I wrote a christian fiction novel (see:, and I can state for myself that I am personally committed to what the person writing the article (I'm not sure if this is Dee or someone else) says what it should do:

1. Edify the Body of Christ
2. Glorify God
3. Serve as a Kingdom Building Tool'

Being true witnesses to Christ in this world is the no 1 duty we have as christians, and I see writing as a means for me to do exactly that. Whether stuff like lust scenes or other sinful things are good in christian novels depends on their usage... if they are meant to give the reader an orgasm, it probably shouldn't be there, but if it's meant to depict (for example) sin in the same way that the bible does in its narrative as a story about fallen humanity, then that could be good.


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