Tag s | Theology

What Makes a Christian Book “Christian”? (Part Two)

So what are some of the answers I’ve been given to the question “What makes a Christian book Christian”? Consider the following:

  • Written from a Christian world view
  • Story offers hope
  • Core of the story shows importance of faith in Christ

Similar to the things you all wrote in your comments (though I think your responses went far deeper.) But I’ve also been peppered with the following critical comments regarding Christian books:

  • It’s safe
  • It doesn’t challenge the status quo
  • It doesn’t leave anything unsettled, everything’s resolved
  • Quality doesn’t match that of ABA books
  • Easy answers
  • Doesn’t make readers think
  • Affirms readers beliefs and perspective

Notice a trend here? Now, before you get upset or think these folks are totally out of touch, let me point out that this view of Christian writing comes most often from professionals in the field rather than from the readers themselves. Or from those who haven’t picked up a Christian book in decades. But if we’re being honest, some readers agree with those descriptions.

The last time I was tangled in this debate, I came to a conclusion. And so I turned to those gathered and offered the following: “You really don’t like this consumer much, do you?”

No response. But I could tell that, indeed, they weren’t crazy about this person. This simplistic non-thinker who only wants books that offer a kind of pabulum to the masses determined to hide in their safe churches and faith, never questioning, never facing real life.

Can’t say I blame them, can you? I wouldn’t care much for that kind of person, either. But here’s the thing: I don’t know many Christians like that. And I sure haven’t met many readers like that. From the reader letters I get as an author, it’s clear those who read Christian fiction are looking for books that not only make them think, but that challenge them–even PUSH them–to go beyond themselves and what they think they know. In the letters and emails my authors receive from their readers, we’ve found people who are facing life’s ambiguities and inequities full-force. Yes, they long for something to give them answers. But even more than that, they long for something to tell them, quite simply and honestly, that they’re not alone. That they’re not the only Christians out there who:



Wrestle with God over living a life of faith in an insane and hostile world

Don’t appreciate easy or pat answers

Want to KNOW God. Intimately. Even when it’s scary or uncomfortable or painful. Which, as anyone who’s walked a hard path knows, it is.


Cool thing, though, about that debate is that it didn’t end there. In fact, it led us all deeper. And I’ll tell you how and where.

In a minute.

First, I want to know who you think today’s Christian reader is? Why do you think s/he reads Christian books? What are you hearing from the readers around you about the books they’re reading? And, if you care to share, what novel or nonfiction Christian book have you read lately that lived up to your expectations?

So share your thoughts…and stay tuned for Part 3.






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What Makes a Christian Book “Christian”? (Part One)

I had this discussion over a year ago on my blog, but thought it would be a good discussion for all of you, too. In some ways, publishing is in a state of unbelievable flux. In others, it’s utterly grounded and unshakeable. Good and bad on both sides.

But here’s what I find fascinating–and a bit worrisome. There’s a seemingless endless debate on what makes a Christian book Christian? Is it the context of the book or the faith of the author? What’s in the book or what isn’t? The tone or the specifics? Believe me, when I find myself in this debate, the answers come fast and furious and are as varied as can be. But before I share any thoughts or conclusions, I want to know what you think.

So, as a reader or a writer, what are you looking for in a book from a “Christian” publishing house? Or from a Christian writer.
What do you expect to find.
What do you expect NOT to find?
What makes a book “Christian”?

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God Gave Me This Blog Post

God gave me this blog post.

By invoking divine inspiration I have guaranteed that you will read this post and possibly give me money to read more.

Sound like a stretch? Then what if I just wrote or said:
“God spoke to me”
“I was led to write this”
“God revealed this to me”
“I have been called to write this”
“I believe this is an inspired post”

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