“I will keep you and will make you a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” ~ Isaiah 42:6-7
At the Florida Christian Writers Conference I asked a group of writers why they write Christian fiction.
“We need to support each other,” “there’s not enough good Christian fiction out there,” “write what you know – I know about Christ and what he’s done for me.”
Great answers but if we ONLY write to the saved we leave the blind, deaf, imprisoned, and lost to the schemes and words of the enemy.
From the beginning I felt God called me to write and publish INTO the general market. I read general market fiction. I watch general market movies and TV shows. More than ever I’m convinced our mission is to share God’s light with the Gentiles.
Tough market, sure, but it’s also a lucrative market. For example, here’s the monthly market revenue for the top 100 titles in three popular Kindle categories.
Religious Women’s Fiction? $90,000
General Women’s Fiction? 7.5 million
Religious Romance? $265,000
General Romance? 2.5 million
Religious Suspense? $440,000
General Suspense? 6.7 million
We already have plenty of examples of how to weave God’s moral truths into story.
The Prodigal Son – a story of a parent’s unconditional, long-suffering love. Themes: trust, hope, and the importance of home and family and forgiveness.
The Good Samaritan – a story of inclusiveness. Themes: tolerance, institutional pride, religious hypocrisy, service, and generous giving.
The Hidden Treasure – a story of one individual’s journey to find his purpose. Themes: Passion, perseverance, risk and commitment to a noble cause.
Not once will you find the words, “God, Pray, Prayer, Salvation, Repent, Jesus, Christ,” in those stories and yet God’s love is shown throughout. You will also see how a lost son seeks guidance (he doesn’t pray, but he contemplates), turns from old habits, and hopes of forgiveness. We see how an individual gives everything he has in pursuit of a God-given treasure (or passion). (The theme of the movie La, La, Land.) God owns the copyright on these ideals. He created them. His moral truths challenge readers to change.
Look, I’m not saying we should abandon the Church and Christian fiction. I am saying that we need to reach beyond the walls of the temple and take His message into Samaria and beyond. God knows the rest of the world needs His light.