Friday, September 14, 2012
Writing: "Christian fiction"
The book I just finished is The Last Juror, published in 2004. In it, the protagonist, editor of the newspaper in a small Mississippi town, becomes friends with an elderly black lady named Miss Cassie. Early in the course of the book, Miss Cassie asks him, "Are you a Christian child?" When he says his parents "dragged him to church" every Easter, she proceeds to educate him, complete with Bible references, on what it takes to be a Christian, on the sinfulness of all mankind, and God's offer of eternal life as a gift. Later in the book, he visits various churches in the area (in order to write about them), and the reader is treated to vignettes that emphasize the love of a church in action. The ending is sad, but includes a heartfelt prayer.
The Testament. I chose it randomly from the bookshelf and was amazed to find that a major character is a Christian missionary, a woman working deep in the jungles of Brazil. In a number of scenes, Grisham portrays God at work in her life and her influence on a not-fully-recovered alcoholic lawyer sent to find her. There's no question in my mind that Grisham probably reached thousands of non-Christians through this book.
So, there you have it. Best-selling novels by a best-selling novelist, each containing Scripture, a presentation (although indirect) of the method of and need for salvation, and a commentary on the way God can impact and change a life. That's Christian fiction in my estimation, even though the publisher is not a member of CBA. Personally, if I could write a novel that contains a message as compelling as The Last Juror or The Testament, I'd feel that I'd fulfilled my calling to write Christian fiction.
What about you? Would you call this Christian fiction? Why or why not? I'd like to know.
(cover image from Amazon.com)