As Christian authors, having spirituality in varying degrees in each story is a given. Christian characters that pray, go to church, and are familiar with key Bible passages are expected. A good Christian message is a must. Yet even with our attributions to Christianity might we unintentionally let our story and characters trump God’s?
Do we research, seeking to represent God as He has revealed Himself, or do we write based on what we’ve heard others say about Him? I grew up in a Christian home—both my dad and my mom’s dad were pastors. Plus, I’ve done a few years of Bible school that had mandatory daily chapel services. So I’ve heard a lot of sermons. A LOT. Their echoes follow me whenever I think of God. And they haunt the pages of Scripture as I read. The worst is when two or more of these ghosts debate how a certain passage should or could be interpreted. All that to say, our understanding of God’s Word can be influenced by the things we have heard—or the things we have read.
When we listen to sermons, we pay attention not only to the words spoken, but also to the implications of what is said. We try to understand it and to apply the message to our experiences past and present. We also learn from what is left unsaid. The same is true for our readers. What we say, what we imply, how we represent God, even what we refrain from saying, tells the reader what we really think of God, and tells them what we believe they should come to realize about Him.
I’m not saying that God needs a direct speaking role in every novel. Though as I’m reading through Jeremiah I am struck by how much He verbally interacts with His prophet. But we must keep in mind that we are His ambassadors. We are truth-teachers. We are held more accountable. James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
The “fiction” part of our writing should never apply to God.
His thoughts, ideals, actions, and essence need to be clear throughout any novel, whether it be biblical historical, fantasy, or romantic suspense. We must put a touch of the hidden reality behind our “realistic” novels, include His actions in our thrilling tales, show His ideal of love in our romances, and stay anchored to a portrayal of the One True God, even as we write fantasy.
When we write, our message should be one of God’s choosing. Often it may be a message from God to us. Other times a message from Him to others. Many times both. But it shouldn’t flow from the culture around us. Even the Christian culture. Like an ever-flowing waterfall, our message should pour from God’s Word, over our hearts, and into His world.
"Using humor and romance to reach the mind and touch the heart.”
JAËL ROY has recently discovered her love of writing. After years of reading novels, especially romance novels, and wishing the authors had written them a little differently or wanting to add sequels, Jaël realized she could tweak a story any way she wanted—if she wrote it herself. So one morning she picked up her laptop and wrote “The Bridesmaid's Escort,” about a professional escort given the task of accompanying a reluctant bridesmaid who sees more in him than he wants her to. Since finishing that first manuscript, she has written six others and is working on an eighth.
Jaël appreciates a well-written story. She enjoys making readers laugh and giving them the opportunity to think deeply about their Christianity. For her, writing stories is an outlet as she contemplates issues that touch her heart.
http://jaybin1984.wordpress.com (Book Reviews)