Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer

The ramblings of an emergent-realistic-edgy-working-for-God-and-the-pay-isn’t-that-great-sometimes-confused-christian-fiction writer (uh, that would be me).

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Rant--> Warning: Contains Attitude

Posted by Hello

After an absence, Mick Silva returned to the Internet yesterday via his newly renamed blog, Your Writer's Group. When I read his account of what made him take his blog offline, I was sad--sad that his articulate-yet-civil arguments on the state of Christian fiction had been challenged by friends as well as Christian authors. It reminded me of how another person who works in the CBA had been slammed by Christians both amateur and professional for her/his strong-yet-tempered opinions on the same subjects. I'd witnessed that from the sidelines and been amazed by the divisiveness. I've also been the recipient of outrage and/or strong opinion that I'd write anything without making Christ the reason for my every word. In the minds of some, that is incomprehensible.

This feeling of sadness was exacerbated by a comment on my blog yesterday that led me to a rant on another blog. I admit I did not read the whole (long) thing, but the gist seemed to be that Marilynne Robinson was expected (by the blog's owner) to lead him/her to Christ through her writing. That she failed to write what would amount to a sermon that would bring this man or woman to the Lord was seen as her failure rather than that of the man/woman running the blog. Where personal responsibility fell in this argument I'll never know, but apparently, Marilynne will be standing next to this person on Judgment Day taking the heat too.

I don't read much CBA fiction anymore, but I not only support those who write it, I know from personal experience that most of those folks are fine, hardworking, selfless, dedicated people. I don't question their calling. I don't ask them to change the way they write or write for the ABA because that happens to be my preference. I accept that they fulfill a need and would not want that to change because I know many people who voraciously read their books.

That being said, I told Mick yesterday that his comments made me sad. Why? Because he was accused of being too strident, though I never experienced him as such. To me his writing was like summer rain on dry, scorched earth. Those of us who choose to write outside the CBA are (sometimes) trashed by our families, friends, and strangers because, as the writer of that blog said, we're Christians so we must write about Jesus. We cannot just write. We cannot attempt to improve our own writing, keep to ourselves, and be left alone by others. We are beaten up by folks who question our salvation, who lecture us on what our subject matter must be, who revile us because we allow cursing, drinking, drugs, prostitution, homosexuality, divorce, etc. into our writing. And if we suggest that, yes, for us, the writing within the CBA--some of it, not all of it--is not realistic to us or up to our expectations, well, we are soon set straight, sometimes with scripture references.

I'll be frank: the whole thing gives me a huge headache. We have Mick and Dave Long talking about these issues. We have a discussion board, although something happened to it and it now has very little of the discussions on it that it once did. Now Mick has been taken to task, Marilynne Robinson has been chastised, and I am wondering why I can't simply write and be judged on my merits as a writer rather than my theology or lack thereof. I am a writer doing what I believe God wants me to do. Why isn't that enough? No one will be forced to read my books. I promise.
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