Friday, October 14, 2005

Faith, Art, and Birds

So I was surfing the NaNo forums today. I'm preparing to write, and I wanted to see what other people were doing and thinking. And it wasn't to get plot ideas - I finally have one of those (I'll post that later). I was just curious.

So within the genre forums I clicked on to the Spirituality/New Age forum. I'm not writing in that genre, but I was curious. Anyway, it seemed like most of the Christian writers there were writing blatantly Christian novels. A few were attempting allegories, but most were following the typical theme of someone searching for something and not finding it until they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Cliche, but it seems to be that most novels in that "Christian" genre are.

This got me to thinking. Is there a difference between a Christian writer (or artist, or dancer, or whatever) and a writer who is a Christian? I've had this discussion before, and I've read about it before, but I think I have put it into a different light for myself today.

When I try to write something with a blatantly Christian theme (I'm talking fiction - nonfiction is an entirely different animal), I usually end up failing or just giving up. I always felt vaguely about that. I figured that if I claimed to be a Christian, I should be able to write about it in whatever way I wanted and have it be good (at least as good as how good a writer I am - this sentence not withstanding). But it never was.

I've come to realize why that was. When I tried to force the issue, it ended up being unnatural and contrived. It's like trying to...well, I don't really have an appropriate analogy. But random angels, miracles happening, and "reward theology" just aren't reality. Not that I don't believe that angels exist or that miracles happen (believing that good or bad things happen to you in proportion to how hard you believe or don't believe is another story), but I think that they are more subtle that what you find in most "Christian" fiction.

Having said all this, however, I believe that no matter what I write about, or in what genre I write, my faith in God informs it. I can't separate the part of me that believes from the part of me that creates, since all of me comes from the ultimate Creator. Being a Christian colors my world view, which in turn colors my writing, whether or not I am writing about blatantly Christian characters or themes.

So this year, I'm not going to try to force things. There is nothing purely Christian about my plot, there is nothing about my main character accepting Christ in any way, shape, or form. I'm not going to force my novel to be something it doesn't necessarily want to be. But as I've begun outlining my novel, I can see my beliefs influencing the direction I am moving, but in a more subtle, true to life way. I don't know what category that puts me in, but here I am.

Oh, and I'm going to be pecked to death by birds for my company Halloween party. There's a story behind that. Leave me a comment if you want to know it.

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