The heartbreaking images and stories from the current refugee crisis have me praying, donating to the emergency appeal, and remembering Jesus's words:
“I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me...
Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me — you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40 The Message)As Christians, we're commanded to get involved. We can't stay passive bystanders. It's not always easy, when our resources and what we're able to offer can feel so insignificant compared to what's happening.
But Matthew records Jesus as saying this right after the parable of the talents. Maybe there's a reason for that? Maybe, God wants us to use everything we have in His service, no matter how small it seems to us.
So does that mean our writing too? Can we do anything to help with big issues through the stories we write?
If I was a journalist or an author of gritty, realistic novels, clearly I could. But I write sweet Christian romance, a "fluffy" feel-good genre. I even have that in my author tag-line, my promise to readers : Feel-good inspirational romance to make you smile. A recent review referred to 'Sweet brain candy'. Eep!
I write for God, definitely. My mission with my writing is to show the extent of God's love for us. Can that stretch to dealing with tough real-life issues too, even in fluffy fiction?
I hope so! I don't think I do it perfectly, but with God's help, I try.
My Love in Store romance series is based around a London department store (think Selfridge's poor-relation frumpy spinster aunt). Yet just as many of the scenes are set in a nearby homeless shelter, or involve formerly homeless shelter residents. My characters have dealt with suicide, addiction, and debt. My last release was filled with disabled children, some severely disabled. My work-in-progress is about divorce. My next story will involve terminal cancer, a burned out medical missionary, and a shopaholic with an eating disorder. Sometime in the next two years, I'll have the interesting job of making a character with Asperger's syndrome, cerebral palsy, OCD, and a very nasty way with words a romantic hero.
And I aim to write light, uplifting happy-ever-after fiction!
How serious do you think we can get, when we write lighter genres? How best can we serve God with our books? I'd love to hear how other authors approach this in their writing, and how you feel about more serious issues appearing in lighter genre fiction as a reader?
Autumn Macarthur is an Australian writer of inspirational romance living near London with her very English husband and four spoiled rescue cats.
She loves reading, cooking, gardening, and writing deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God’s love and forgiveness can be.
She loves hearing from readers so do get in touch on either Facebook or Twitter!
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