A friend of mine pointed out that my Amazon author page is “getting very interesting.” Yes, even without a book of my own I have an author page because of the anthologies my stories are in. The “interesting” part comes from the fact that half of those anthologies contain my inspirational personal experience stories…while the other half are horror.
I laughed when she said this, and replied, “Yeah, skitzo Kat.”
She said, “No, it’s balanced.”
Hah! That’s quite the twisted scale, my dear. But it did make me think.
She’s right–it is interesting. And balanced in its own way. Although some would think it’s not. Some think writing like that simply doesn’t belong together.
There seems to be this war going on between Christian writers. Because there are “preach to the choir” Christian books, and “edgy” Christian books, and books written by Christians that aren’t overt at all and really could be classified as secular. And there are straight-up secular books read by Christians as well.
Everyone has their own idea about what makes a book “Christian”—whether that means squeaky clean, edgy, or horror. And to be honest, I’m tired of people pounding their chests, exclaiming that their kind writing is the best kind of Christian writing.
I have short stories in several Sunday school magazines of various denominations, and in an anthology called The Ultimate Christian Living. Not to mention the story about my grandmother in Grandmothers’ Necklace. These are sweet, uplifting stories, in mainstream Christian publications. They are meant for a particular audience. Not so much the audience I’m actually a part of, but I had something to share with them and I did so in a way that audience would want it shared.
I have short stories in Christian speculative fiction markets. Places like Digital Dragon Magazine and Residential Aliens. Clean fun, most of them. Enjoyable stories. For Christians who don’t read mainstream. Are they crazy edgy? No. Are they deeply theological? Somewhat, maybe. Does it matter?
I have stories in horror magazines and anthologies. Some Christian, some secular. I believe Christian horror is a legitimate genre. My website has a picture on the welcome page, with these words: “Darkness can’t be brought into the light without being extinguished…but when Light is brought into the Darkness it will continue to Shine.” Jesus is not going to be hurt by being put into dark fiction. He shines wherever He is. There is nothing wrong with writing dark Christian fiction.
But there’s nothing wrong with NOT writing it either. There is nothing wrong with “fluff” fiction. Some people need books like that. Readers read with different intentions, with different needs, from different places on their spiritual walk, and with different vantage points from which they view Jesus.
I believe in all types of Christian writing (whether I like it or not), and secular writing, and I see no reason for the war. One does NOT have to win over the other. I won’t make you read my horror stories if you won’t make me read your Amish romance, but by God you have every right to read and write what you want. And to love it. And to connect with Jesus through it—the side of Jesus you see through it.
Because, yes, you ARE seeing Jesus through it. The real Jesus. The same Jesus I see through my horror stories. Jesus cannot be put into a box. And by saying Christian writing must be “this” or it’s not “real” is bull(stuff). What’s “real” is knowing that Jesus comes to you, wherever you are, at whatever stage, with whatever needs and reading tastes you have.
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it is not mightier than Jesus. He is not limited by genre. He shines in both light and dark writing. He won’t refuse to let you see Him through writing that is less than perfect. He is not diminished by “fluffy” writing. We as writers, as humans, simply don’t have the power to filter Him.