Friday, May 1, 2009

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday: What's Your Line?

Welcome to Faith 'n Fiction Saturday! If this is your first time participating, please read this post. It will tell you everything you need to know!

Today's Topic
Christian fiction is generally known for being clean and non-offensive, but lately there's been a lot of chatter about edgy Christian fiction and the need for Christian fiction to be more realistic. Christian fiction has certainly changed and contains a lot more edge than it used to. This makes some readers uncomfortable and I was wondering what you line is? What would push the envelope too far for a Christian fiction novel for you? Language? Sex? Violence? Main characters who never believe in Jesus?
If you came across something that offended you in a Christian fiction book, how would you handle it?

My Answer
I don't want to see any foul language in Christian fiction books but bleeping them out like Lisa Samson did in The Passion of Mary Margaret is okay because it rings true. I don't ever want a sex scene described for me, and think we've pretty much gone as far as we should in that area. I am already uncomfortable at times with the violence...there seems to be a general idea that it's okay for Christians to kill bad guys which I kind of disagree with.
However, I have never done anything about that other than tell people or make comments about it on my blog. :)

Your Turn
Just write up your answer and drop your link below!


RAnn said...

Interesting topic Amy. Thanks for hosting.

SmilingSally said...

I do believe that "swearing is a lazy man's way of being emphatic."

I did name a book that I feel went over the line.

Author Sue Dent said...

I think that any market should consider their audience. I can't really comment on the Christian Fiction provided to the audience CBA and ECPA affiliated publisher's write for, like Ms. Samson's work. But I can weigh in on Christian Fiction provided for general market readers, Christian's included.

Each author should write what is real to them. If they're a Christian, then as a Christian, I can trust the content. It's wonderul that there are specific markets for Christian readers who want their fiction tailored to their specific faith. :)

Christian Fiction provided for the CBA/ECPA audience may be getting edgier but only in terms of what that specific market of Christians will tolerate, of course.

To date, their work still doesn't appeal to the broader general market audience. But then, it isn't written for them.

Unknown said...

I haven't gotten to participate in FnFS too much lately, but this was a great question. Thanks for doing this every week, Amy!

Kacie said...

I gotta say, there is graphic sex, foul language (in the original language), and brutal violence to be found throughout the Bible. We read it anyways. It is true that we need to be careful what we let our minds dwell on, and certainly we should be careful what we let children read, but I think that LIFE isn't pretty or righteous most of the time. The right response isn't to pull away and act as though the ugliness isn't there - it is to be able to see it and respond to it with truth.

Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

As I responded to Sue Dent via email, if a book is labeled as Christian fiction I think it should adhere to certain standards. I can know that a character does certain things without having it described to me. Quite honestly, the Bible reads a bit dryly in it's recitation of these events.

I stand by not wanting to see foul language, explicit sex (which is different from knowing a character had sex!!), or killing portrayed as being a-ok!

Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

Ugh, the above is me...

Author Sue Dent said...

I think the confusion comes when the label Christian Fiction isn't clearly defined. The definition as it applies here, as far as I can tell, defines the fiction put out by CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers.

But Christian fiction can also be fiction written by a Christian author who doesn't write for any specific target audience. This fiction may indeed be more real to life, have foul language etc . . . Technically, it's still Christian Fiction just written to appeal to a broader audience.

If you stand by not wanting to see foul language and wanting to see a particular Christian standard adhered to, then books published by CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers are certainly the way to go. Though it does seem that more and more of these publishers are sliding on their content choices and how they appeal to their specific audience as more and more of their own bookstores are picking books they want to carry instead of automatically stocking them as they have in the past.

And no worries about being clearer. I understood which market you were talking about. :)

Amee said...

Great topic. I actually had a discussion recently about Deeanne Gist's books because they are very edgy compared to traditional Christian fiction. I was fine with A Bride Most Begrudging's "edginess." I actually thought the edgy title for her books was a little exaggerated. Then I read Measure for a Lady and I did think things went a bit far between the main characters. I actually warned my grandmother about it. I didn't say anything about Bride Most Begrudging when I gave it to her to read, but I felt I should with Measure of a Lady. So I think my opinion is, while I enjoy the novels labeled as edgier Christian fiction, I really do still prefer the traditional variety. :)

Lynn Squire said...

That about sums up how I feel, though I confess I'm not as bothered with violence as much as swearing and sex.

Mimi N said...

James Scott Bell is a great example of a Christian writing in different markets. I think he's a great author and as I was reading one of his books I was surprised to find he'd written "H**L" in it. Well come to find out, it wasn't a Christian publisher. I still really liked the story. Yes, I know that's not one of the no-no swear words, just giving an example. :)

I want to say that on my blog I'm not saying my opinion is the right one (unless of course you agree with me heh heh heh). It's just my opinion. I have a tendency to find the biggest soap box around and stand on top of it when it comes to these topics.

I have 2 teenage girls and I want what they read to be wholesome. They deal with the world every day, as do the rest of us. I want the stuff they put into their brains to be uplifting in some way, and I'm hoping that it's Christian Fiction.

What I put into my brain when I was a teen, oh so many decades ago, would SHOCK my daughters. I wish someone would've cared about the crap, yes crap, that I was reading and believing at that age, even younger.

I want to apologize in case I offend anyone who heads to my blog and reads what I "think" is crossing the line. I'm not apologizing for what I believe, just in case I offend anyone.


Anonymous said...

one of the biggest reasons i read christian books is because i don't want to read swearing and sex scenes. i find that it's one thing to see that kind of stuff on tv, but somehow i find it worse when i'm reading it.

violence doesn't really bother me so much (if it did, i wouldn't read suspense/thriller novels), probably because i'm more desensitized to that, but language and sex i'm still sensitive to.

i don't mind if "christian" novels don't have a christian theme or even christian characters (it's actually kind of nice reading a book with little spiritual talk in it, considering the number of books i've read with the same old archetypes and conversion stories), i just tend to read christian fiction because i can usually count on a clean read, and i can recommend good books to others without having to worry whether or not they would be offended by some of the content.

Sunny said...

Great question, Amy! I'm just now getting around to posting it. Better late than never!

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