Friday, February 18, 2011

Faith and Fiction Saturday: Diversity in Christian Fiction

Welcome to Faith and Fiction Saturday, a weekly discussion of the intersection of faith and fiction. I invite you to write a post on your blog about the topic or participate in comments. Check the schedule for future topics so can prepare in advance!

Diversity in publishing seems to be a problem overall, so it stands to reason that it trickles down to Christian fiction in a special way. This isn't a new topic for Faith and Fiction Saturday, but it's one that we should revisit regularly. Is there enough diversity in Christian fiction? Are the covers reflecting it? What areas could improve? Why is it important?

Let's start with the last question first..why is diversity important?

It's important because we read not only to learn, but to know ourselves. We read to find our life experiences in books and so if all the books reflect only one way of life, one race, one sexual orientation, one theological viewpoint, then several people are being shut out.

But we also read to learn about others, we read to know that even though someone is from a different cultural background or has a different shade of skin--that they may see the world differently, but deep down they are just the same as we are--human.

So to meet these two goals--reflection of self and learning about others, diversity is important.

Is there diversity in Christian fiction? Yes I believe there is some. I do not think there is enough. Whenever I bring up this topic, people always list some books they think meet the criteria. And yes of course, there are some and that's fantastic. But if you can count on one hand all the books that feature authentic representations of Asian Americans or gay characters there's a problem. It's made even more problematic by how quickly Christian fiction goes out of print.

Do I think by posting this that I'm going to change anything? No. But I make my voice known because maybe one day there will be enough of us with our collective voices to make a difference.

What are some areas where you'd like to see more diversity in Christian fiction?


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