Sunday, April 29, 2012


...the condescending, supercilious responses coming from some so-called Christians to this woman's blog and ACFW list post/preface, which read as follows:

I do believe we have a lot of quality writers in this organization.  With the post below, I'd like to challenge at least a handful of you to seriously consider branching out to the mainstream (or "crossover" at the very least) market.  Why?  Because the standards are generally higher, because it's a way to be recognized in the larger writing world, and though you won't be able to give a "plan of salvation," you can certainly leave marks of beauty in your work and whiffs of a hopeful worldview, and our world desperately needs that.
If I were still in ACFW, I would have left it TODAY after seeing some of the responses to this simple statement. It's not pleasant, apparently, to have one's cage rattled with too much of the truth. But there are no words scathing enough for the treatment some ACFW members are giving this woman for speaking aloud the fact that their emperor's been naked for some time. When you simply don't want to face that, you tell someone they're "insulting" you. Yeah. That makes your side right. 

That's why I like being a Catholic so much. I don't feel entitled to hold onto so much damned self-righteousness and spiritual superiority that I can wield like a weapon to "keep someone in line." OTOH, these so-called "Christians" are so smug about being "on God's side" that they don't know the truth when it walks up and smacks 'em across the eyes.

Examinations of conscience before the sacrament of Penance are great antidotes for this type of thing. Unfortunately, most of these folks would have no use for THAT, either.




Deb said...

Truth. She challenged them. They cannot take challenge. Well, she won't be seeing any more of their boneheaded remarks anymore, because she left that group's e-mail loop.

Completely inexcusable.

Nissa Annakindt said...

I participate in the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour and I know a number of CBA authors through that.

Most folks I encounter are nice/supportive of others but once in a while there are people who are offended by EVERYTHING. Those people usually turn out to be at the very fringes of the Evangelical Christian Writing Universe anyway.

The idea of going mainstream would be more compelling to me if there wasn't such a vast increase in the amount of fiction explicitly hostile to Christianity as if that's the new normal. Would they even be willing to publish an author they discovered was one of those 'hateful' Christians/Catholics?

Janny said...


There's a misapprehension among many Christian/Catholic writers out there that simply because they are religious, they can't get a book sold in a mainstream press. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jan Karon, one of THE biggest sellers out there, sold her Mitford series to Penguin--and not Penguin Praise originally, either. (There was no such thing when she originally sold those books.) If you read her books, you cannot consider them anything but unapologetically Christian. What they AREN' preachy. Yes, her main character is a preacher, and so he "gets away with" preaching, as it were, as part of the character. :-) But the point of the original post is still valid: the books are well-written STORIES first and foremost. They're not tracts thinly masked by a "story," and they're not peopled with characters who never do such-and-such things because such-and-such things aren't Christian and we mustn't look like we're "endorsing" anything.

News flash: Fiction's not supposed to BE an endorsement of ANYTHING. It's simply supposed to be STORY. If your readers get a message out of it, God bless 'em. But too much C-fic ramrods a message through that You'd Better Get, By Golly, or they consider that fiction to have "failed." Which is exactly the WRONG way to go about it, and is exactly why so much Christian fiction wouldn't sell to a mainstream publisher. It's not because the publisher is hostile to Christianity. It's because the publisher is hostile to predictable, one-dimensional tracts trying to pass themselves off as novels. Most READERS are hostile to that, too, which is why...yet again...CBA all too often ends up "preaching to the choir," and a very SMALL choir at that. (They don't want ANYTHING to do with my Catholicism. Trust me on this.)

If more Christians wrote stories with STORY as the uppermost aim in their writing--rather than some misguided attempt to preach, evangelize, convert, or convey some important message--I truly believe they would find many more secular doors open to them than they can now imagine. Besides...what's more effective: writing for the CBA crowd (which is a very narrow brand of Christianity to begin with), or shining one's light in the secular world with its perceived hostility? Yes, there ARE books out there hostile to faith. That's all the more reason why those of us who have intelligent faith and can write whiz-bang stories about real people, stories that are compelling in their OWN right, need to be in that market, too. There needs to be balance...not retreat.

Publishers will buy good stories from intelligent authors, faith element or not. Most secular publishers, in fact, have a "spiritual" wing of their fiction lines now. It's just terribly competitive, as is most of publishing. But is it open to Christians? You bet your life it is. They sell, and sell all the time. They just have to be willing to make the leap--and bring their writing up to snuff for mainstream readers to embrace.

My thoughts,