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Sometimes a good, clean book is eternally dangerous.

It’s not so much the clean part, – it’s the part where Christians characters are written into a soft a fuzzy lifestyle where their biggest problems could fit into a tablespoon.

Let’s take a good Amish novel. I’ve read part of a series and was entertained for a while, but I was able to leave right in the middle of it without wondering what happened to who. It was well-written and followed all the rules as far as creating a plot, character development, etc., but when it came down to it, it was nothing like life as we know it. When the climax of the story showed a woman *gasp* letting her hair down – I thought, okay, I appreciate modesty, in fact, the world could use more of it but life does not sit snuggled in an apron pocket.

We are messier than that.

"That's why God made the cat. We illustrate honesty. And brilliance. And divine beauty..."

“That’s why God made the cat. We illustrate honesty. And brilliance. And divine beauty…”

This topic has come up in among writers and readers and there is usually a quote or a scripture thrown in front of the unfinished conversation such as this:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Should we do that? Yes, no question. Don’t misunderstand – I don’t need to see steamy love scene and serial-killer violence to stay interested in a book. In fact, a skilled writer/movie maker will be able to suggest some things without all the gritty details.

So suggest it – life is woven through with barbed wire – we get it, feel it, get pierced by it – let’s not cover it up for the sake of….image.

Christians aren’t perfect and never will be. To portray then as such would be dishonest.

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you slam your hand in the door?

Yeah, we all have our moments of immaturity no matter how hard we fight to keep our minds on noble and lovely things and how deeply we learn to love.

Strive to live by Philippians 4:8, mature in your faith and ability to love deeply, just remember that we all swim through the same muddy pool. Our job as writers is not to hide the struggle, but to show others how Jesus walks us through it – to share how The One who completely defines the word, Love, shines light and hope in the darkest of places.

I have great respect for edgy Christian fiction. It may not be for you and that’s okay, but there is someone out there who needs to know that Jesus is not confined to warm and fuzzy. If the main character is a struggling Mary Magdalene-type or a Zacchaeus-greed-driven-enemy of the town, he will never be left alone in his darkest moment, and the world needs to know that.

 

I know this is controversial – tell me your thoughts. Agree, disagree? How have books affected your faith? Tell us in the comments.

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