f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Adult Fiction

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

Monday, August 01, 2005

Adult Fiction

There’s that oft-quoted verse in 1 Corinthians 13 that talks about speaking and reasoning as a child, but that a point comes where it’s time to put childish things behind us. But then there’s Jesus’ admonition that a child’s faith is something not to scorn, but to strive for.

I bring this up because within the CBA industry one you thing realize is that our “adult” books are being read by kids. My wife was a big Bethany House fan growing up; she loved and still loves the tales of Janette Oke. A colleague of mine has admitted to having a crush on one of Janette’s youthful characters as a young teen.

The reason oft-cited (by parents) for why they offer their children our books is that they know they are going to be “safe.” (There’s that word again. Mark Bertrand dissected implications of “safe” fiction on Friday. I won’t rehash it.)

It is reassuring to know as a parent that the book you will give your precocious ten-year-old daughter will not raise unwanted problems or questions through troublesome, provocative content.

What I struggle with is what it means to publish fiction that must be suitable for being read by ten-year-olds. Some will be. Gentle fiction has had an enormous, devoted following through generations: from Christy to Little House on the Prairie to Janette Oke’s beautiful series of prairie books.

I don’t think that’s a terminus however in where we feel we can confront readers. Jesus’ is calling us to a faith of unbridled joy and trust, but Paul admonishes us to reason as adults.

So what of books that tackle “adult” topics—perhaps infidelity or divorce or abuse or a variety of other topics. Are “ratings” the answer? Concerned conservative consumers have forced these moves in the movie, music, and video game industry. Books, for whatever, reason have been passed by. That’s fine in my estimation. UNLESS, the implicit understand is: If it’s in a Christian book store, my eleven-year-old should be able to read it! To me that’s too constricting a call. Shouldn't there be room for our books to "put childish things behind them" and stand before the dark glass, no matter how perplexing and confusing the view might be.