The Power of Fiction

As an older teen I was a teacher’s aide for a semester, and spent the majority of my time at my desk reading for pleasure until a project presented itself. On one of these half-busy days the teacher picked up the book on my desk, read the description and squinted at me for an awkward moment. “There are lots of good magazines and books in my room you can read. They talk about Hinduism, Buddhism, open-minded ideas.”
My book talked about God.
When I walked through the halls of my college dormitory, girls of all kinds engaged in everything their parents told them not to: Drugs, alcohol…use your imagination. Even most of the Christians joined in, extinguishing this little light of theirs. The first taste of independence reigned, leaving not-quite-grownups at the mercy of their insecurities.

If you didn’t anchor yourself to God, and I mean really held him tight, you became a party favor – a dancer at the base of Mt. Sinai.
Many of the teachers encouraged (not so) “open-minded” ideas. A large portion of them agreed with a camp counselor I had one summer that the Christian way of thinking was harmful and therefore should be eradicated. Nothing much has changed. This is how kids are met when entering college. Out of context Bible verses get thrown in their faces, and unless they know the real deal, the arguments against God become siren’s songs.

Have you walked through the book section in WalMart lately? Take a look and see what the youth are reading.

According the Steve Laube Agency, “There are 200,000 new books published in the United States each year from traditional publishers (self-publishing would more than double that). Of those, less than 10,000 would be Christian books from Christian publishers.”

How many faith-based books are written for late teens and early twenty something’s? Very few compared to the majority of books that hit the shelves. Most of them are permeated with vampires, zombies, and many hopeless messages, submerging our youth in many “open-minded” ideas. These books become best sellers and then get made into movies. They get printed into posters, stamped on itsy bitsy T-shirts and get worn by young mothers who name their children after vampires and other similar influences. Books are powerful.

The New Adult genre popped in the book world a few years ago when a handful of authors thought,” Why aren’t there books for 18-25 yr. olds?” Finally, our readers who are struggling with the shift from childhood to adulthood have relatable characters. The problem? These books are not much different from the YA books for older teens, except they are stuffed with more sex. Yep, that’s their answer for the New Adult generation.

When researching the popular books and movies for youth, my husband and I went to see one of these very-popular-books-turned-movie and I was so disappointed when one of the main characters (a Nephilum) announced the challenges they faced. They would fight, and keep fighting, but they could never win. There was no hope. This was the main theme of the movie.
Parents – reading, yes, even recreational reading, is a huge part of education/inspiration. It is powerful. By throwing your support to Christian writers/publishers, you nudge the faith based books onto the shelves, giving your child options that have what so many of the secular books don’t have: hope, truth.
Christian Writers—if you’re feeling the nudge to write for youth, and are keeping your sights on crossover books – don’t forget the Christian youth surrounded by dark—too dark, influences. They need your support. Meet them right where they drown in the world’s mud (And the Amish books aren’t going to do it for them).
I asked the sales clerk at the local Christian bookstore how many New Adult books she had in stock. After scratching her head and some keyboard pounding she found ONE on the way. ONE. Get writing.
Readers—thank you for your unfailing support. God is bringing his love and His eternal truth to you in the art of fiction. Look for it!

How do books influence you/ your family members? Tell us in the comments.

2 thoughts on “The Power of Fiction

  1. Wonderful post, books are extremely powerful and they do influence children sometimes for the good and for the bad. I am a teenager and I mostly read YA stories and honestly the ones I have read are bestsellers because they are drama filled, entertaining and to some extent easily relate-able. I agree that not many people read books with Christianity involved because honestly many people find it boring, a lot of people like to thrive off of a fictional characters problem without bringing something as touchy as religion into it, they enjoy the baggage that comes with these YA stories because they don’t have to think, even i’m a Christian and i don’t think I have never read a YA christian before, I never even thought of christian stories until now. Great postxxx

  2. Thanks for that, FEY Kegs. I see you are a writer. You know what young adults are going through, right now. I encourage you to take those issues and weave your faith within your stories. Look what Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti have done for Christian fiction – you can write amazing faith fiction without watering it down. We just need more books for the youth. You can do it!

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