Saturday, May 1, 2010

Faith'n'Fiction Saturday: Timeless Christian Books

Faith and Fiction Saturday is a weekly discussion about Christian faith and fiction. You can participate by writing a post on your own blog on the topic or joining the discussion in comments. All are welcome.

On an earlier Faith and Fiction post, a commenter named Thad said the following:
I have a very strong dislike for the term 'christian fiction'. It's generally a crutch that's given to writers unable to see out of their own box. When christians write good literature, you'll notice that it isn't called 'christian' fiction anymore. It's simply called good fiction. Examples: Peace Like a River, Gilead, To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Miserables, Godric, The Book of the Dun Cow, The Lord of the Rings...the list is endless. These are all great works of 'christian' fiction. The development of 'christian fiction' as a genre is nothing more than a way to market fiction that no one but christian would read.

I don't agree with this, just as I usually don't agree with sweeping generalizations. Is there some truth to this? Yes, but I strongly believe there IS a place for Christian fiction and that some books published by Christian publishing houses (which is how we define Christian fiction round these parts) is what I would call good literature.

But I look at that list of books and part of me groans. Not because I don't like those books, though I haven't read them all, but because it's always the same list of books provided. (for what it's worth, I recently saw someone say Gilead was preachy. I think, perhaps, there's just no winning in some cases) If those are the only great works of fiction by Christians, it's not happening enough. (although, thank God, there's no CS Lewis on that list!)

But seriously, there have to be other books written by Christians that are good and maybe some with more commercial appeal than these books listed. So today, I'd like to ask, what books would you add to Thad's list? AND bonus points for more modern, contemporary books.

I'd actually add a Christian fiction classic, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Maybe it's not considered "great literature" but I don't forsee it going out of print anytime soon. Also, it's the kind of book many Christian women who don't read a lot or who don't read a lot of Christian fiction have read and claim among their favorite books. tell me!


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