f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Bridging the Gap—Solution Two: A Subtle 180

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Bridging the Gap—Solution Two: A Subtle 180

“It we crossover, we’re bringing the cross over!”

I remember one of the dcTalk lads shouting this during a concert at Creation in 1995. They were hugely on the rise; talk was flitting about concerning a feature film; and the assumption was that they’d be the next big act (I guess following Amy Grant?) who would make the transition to secular superstardom. The implication in their message was one of authenticity of faith—celebrityhood wouldn’t change their message. As it turned out, things didn’t pan out quite the way some people thought and the “problem” was never really an issue. Boy did the people cheer when they heard it though.

You’ll get less cheers is you were to shout out, “I’m staying here in CBA and bringing the world in with me!” But that’s essentially what we’re all talking about here in one way or another. We’re trying to turn art into a mirror that reflects what’s going on in the world at large rather than use it as a cake decorating set to pretty up life and cover over the rough spots with frosting.

How do we sell this idea to the gatekeepers?

I think we invert everything we’ve ever talked about here. We’re writing fiction, we needs to be primarily about story and secondarily about message. To the gatekeepers, however, we need to talk about the Christian message and themes of the book. We need to show how God is glorified through the book and how believers will be uplifted.

We need to do this because we need to sell the idea that we’re not so much wallowing in the world as dragging the “world” into the light of God’s throne. The concern of people hung up on content is that Christians don’t understand the insidious way the secular world can taint everything around it. The assumption is that vigilance is the only safeguard against corruption and dirtiness. By showing our control over the story and the power we have in bringing “the world” under the critical lens of a Christian-themed book we should be able to assuage those fears. At least to an extant.

Let me make something clear, though. This in no way has ANY bearing on the writing and creation of a book. We just CANNOT write this way. Actually we can, but if we do what we’ll have is CBA fiction. Many Christian authors feel that they are writing about “powerful” and “challenging” worldly topics be it AIDS or divorce or child abuse or whatever. The problem is that they aren’t acting as a mirror to the world but as a projection screen on which is shown only carefully scripted propaganda. We have enough of that.

So that’s it. Taking our cue from Paul we become CBA watchdogs to reach CBA watchdogs. Because in principle our goals should be the same—“Exploring God in his nature and our lives because of Him.” It’s just in practice that we differ and our goal is to minimize that difference.