Spinning off of Monday's post, I want to spend a little time today talking about the difference between Christian writers and Christians who write. If you look up these terms on Wikipedia, you won't find an entry, but I think that it's pretty widely accepted that there seem to be two camps when it comes to Christians and writing.
First off, you have Christian writers--people who define themselves first and foremost by their almost evangelical approach to their art. Christian writers publish in the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) and often view their books as a way to present Christ to a certain readership. These readers usually consist of other Christians, but the books can also act as an outreach tool. There isn't necessarily a formula for these sorts of books (though it may seem like there used to be), but they usually include Christian habits (i.e. praying, attending church, going to Bible study, etc.), quotes from Scripture, and direct references to God. It also seems there are certain rules that define what is clean and decent in a work of Christian fiction. This means no swearing or cussing and no graphic sex scenes. Violence, however, doesn't seem to be a problem... Hmmm. Wonder why that is?
On the other hand, you have Christians who write. These authors are definitely Christians, but their religious beliefs may not be quite as overt or obvious. Their primary objective may not be to present Christ to an audience, therefore their goals might be much more broadly defined or even change from project to project. It seems that underlying these sorts of books are overarching themes of grace, redemption, and hope. But there is also a willingness to go deep into the raw places of our depravity and present it for what it is. There may not be direct references to God or Scripture, and religious themes may be subtle or even allegorical. These books are often--but not always--published in the ABA (American Booksellers Association) and may include things that CBA books would deem indecent.
Okay. So, working with those two definitions (which, keep in mind, are only my very flawed observations), I have a few questions for you. I'd love it if you'd take a minute to answer even one or two of them!
Is there anything that you would add or take away from the above definitions?
What do you prefer to read? Books by Christian writers or books by Christians who write? Why?
Do you think that Christians should read (and write) certain kinds of books? Why?
If you write, what sort of a writer do you consider yourself? A Christian who writes? A Christian writer? Or neither?
Sorry if this post seemed technical to you! I'm heading somewhere, really I am. Like I said, in the next little while I'm going to be introducing you to some of my favorite authors and giving away some books. The first giveaway will be tomorrow! So stay tuned...