Saturday, May 2, 2009

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday: Offensive Christian Fiction?

Today's Faith 'n Fiction Saturday Question is:

Christian fiction is generally known for being clean and non-offensive, but lately there's been a lot of chatter about edgy Christian fiction and the need for Christian fiction to be more realistic. Christian fiction has certainly changed and contains a lot more edge than it used to. This makes some readers uncomfortable and I was wondering what you line is? What would push the envelope too far for a Christian fiction novel for you? Language? Sex? Violence? Main characters who never believe in Jesus?

If you came across something that offended you in a Christian fiction book, how would you handle it?
First, let me state that I'm sorry for my paragraphs being squished together. I've gone back about 6 times to try and fix them, but it's not working! :(
I can't stand for us to cross the line when it comes to sex & propriety just to "add" some tittilation to the story. So unnecessary. We're supposed to be in the world, not of it. If Christian Fiction looks just like a secular novel, but talks about God, there is no real difference. I say go write for the Secular Fiction industry.
Say a woman is raped or molested in a story. That's completely different because it's part of the storyline. Of course, I don't want to read the complete graphic details, but as a reader I'd have to know it's happened since it's part of the character development.
Also, when it comes to the story, if a Christian character has no 'issues' with being unduly sexual then I won't read the book. For me there is one particular author who has crossed this line for me and I won't read her books anymore. I tried 2 different times and the 2nd one was worse for me.
So, what did I do about it? Let it rest or keep it to myself? HA! If only...I'm terrible at that. I emailed the author and as nicely as I could tried to explain my stand point. Her response was that she was trying to reach secular women by giving them more of what they're used to so they could kind of acclimate to Christian Fiction. O-K.
Then I decided to write to the publisher because I figured if they were allowing this kind of thing, they had to know at least one reader was offended by it. I received a response from them stating they stand by their author and believe she's doing what our society needs. Huh, interesting.
I have to admit I have yet to see someone else write a negative review about her. Ever single one of the reviews I've seen have been in praise of this author. I have heard it said that the people who are having an issue with the new lines that are being drawn are from the Janette Oke reading group. Well, I have to admit, I love Oke. I haven't read her stuff in probably a decade, but I'm ok with being lumped in with them.
Only problem with that theory is I love Julie Lessman, too. She's definitely got her finger on where the line is in Christian Fiction and doesn't cross it. Oh, she'll come up to it, but stops where she should. So, I'm no prude. I just believe we shouldn't compromise as Christians. That was one of the items I brought up to the other author's publishing house. I explained they had a responsibility to the readers who trust their judgement as a publisher. That if they were willing to compromise then they had better be very careful. I cannot see God's favor remaining with a company willing to sell out to make a profit.
I also told them that Jesus didn't compromise when it came to sharing his life with others. Did he sit with the sinners and share a meal? Yes. Did he become one of them or behave like they did to try and win them over? No! The publishing house doesn't seem to think they've crossed the line anywhere.
At this point, I try and point out that this is not an author that I think should be read, but I don't slam her. She believes she is doing the right thing, and I don't. That's the bottom line. My Shelfari shelf has very low stars for her and I will never, willingly, read another one of her books. Simple as that.
Well, I apparently had some thoughts on this topic, ya think? I went to Amy's blog and let people know I realized after I went back tonight and read what I wrote that I was on my soap box again. Oh, that Amy. She has a way of bringing up certain topics that make my brain spin out of control and my stubby fingers start typing away.
I want to apologize in case I offend anyone with what is simply my opinion. I am fiercely standing on this opinion though because of my daughters. I don't want them to read about sex in Christian Fiction and it's my job to bring in clean and wholesome stories that can be read. I don't want to be embarrassed by any books they might pick up and see that I've read.
Now, they are getting to an age where they're making their own decisions on the books they want to read, movies they go to, and music they listen to. It will continue to be my job to direct them and be an example, especially while they live in my home.
So, let me reiterate, I apologize ahead of time (or afterwards if you've already been here) if I offend anyone with my standpoint.


Stormi said...

Great comment (though you really have me wondering who that author is...LOL)

Anonymous said...

Lengthy and well stated answer. But gosh, you kind of hedge the issue and never really state your opinion! - lol and wink.

Appreciate your honest opinion. This is a good subject, one that deserves open and candid dialog. My answer is up at Free Spirit.

SmilingSally said...

Oh, how I wish you'd given the name of the author or the titles so that I'd know who/what you're referring to.

How about emailing me with that info?
smilingsal55 AT yahoo DOT com

I did name a book that I feel went over the line.

Amy said...

Well we've talked about it before, so I know who you're talking about!

This is a good discussion...because we all seem to have different lines. :)

Lynn Squire said...

I hear ya, and I like what you said. Good for you for standing on your principles!

Renee said...

I'm wondering who the author is as well.... could you email all the wonderers and clue us in so we don't read her books????

Holly Magnuson said...

Thanks for sharing this. One of the things I love about Christian fiction is well written stories that are NOT full of foul language and graphic sexual scenes. I'm sure it is difficult for authors, they want to write stories that will appeal to the broadest market possible. But I believe if they stay true to their calling and to God, He will bless.

Blessings to you.

And yes, I'm TOO am dying to know who you were referring to. hollymag (at) gmail (dot) com

Carole said...

First of all, let me say that I completely agree with you, Mimi, an applaud you for making your voice heard. If enough of us followed your example, the publishers would have to take note.

Secondly, I obviously have not come across the author you're referring to. I even went to your Shelfari shelf and looked at your lowest-rated books and still couldn't figure out who it was, although I may have looked at the wrong shelf.

If you're willing to share the name, I would appreciate it. My e-mail is:

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Amee said...

If you're emailing people the books and author I'd love to know as well! Thanks. :)

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.