Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

    **MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. For permission on reprints or reusing this material, please contact the individual authors. For sharing the actual post, please use the share buttons.

  • Blog Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 92,314 hits
  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • Evil Parents and Rotten Kids
      A-ZE is for Evil Parents and Rotten KidsI present you Jimmy Kimmel's annual "I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy" video montage. It's an artful mixture of cruelty, humor, and ghastly awe. My favorite is Drawer Boy. Now there's an ax murderer in the making.Which is your favorite?
      noreply@blogger.com (April Gardner)
  • RSS Barn Door Book Loft

    • Mississippi Author Emerald Barnes
      Welcome to the Book Loft, Emerald. Is there a story behind your new novella Before We Say I Do?Yes. Before We Say I Do is the continuation of Entertaining Angels, and it keeps true to that story in that there’s a message to be learned. But in this one, we learn that forgiveness is the key to a healthier, happier life. It’s about learning that if we can’t for […]
    • Before We Say I Do by Emerald Barnes
      Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story. Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on the […]
    • More Book Winners
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:  Anna M. Aquino who offered her Devotional  Confessions of a Ninja Mom. Margaret Brownley who offered her Historic […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • The Winner of the June New Releases Clash
      Thank you to all of our authorsVanessa RileyShannon VannatterLuana EhrlichDianne J. WilsonMisty BellerTo quote one of our Clash of the Titles visitors This is “Another WOW reading list for us avid readers.”And the winner is!Congratulations! Finding Mia by Dianne Jennifer WilsonIsobel is on the hunt for her missing muse. What she finds instead is an abandoned […]
    • Welcome to the June New Releases Clash
      What a great bunch of books to take on vacation or read under a shady tree this summer. Selections include a Regency romance, a thriller, the story of an abandoned child found by the shore and two Westerns. Peruse below and let us know which one you’ll put on top of the stack in your beach bag. Scroll down and vote in the survey box. Then let your friends kn […]
    • COTT Features: "Until the Harvest" by Sarah Loudin Thomas
      This follow-up story will delight readers of Thomas’ previous novel, but, it reads perfectly as a standalone as well.                                                                                         – RT Book Reviews Top Pick – 4.5 starsAbout the book:When a family tragedy derails Henry Phillips’s college studies, he’s left unmoored and feeling abando […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • I'm Baack, I Think
      If you haven't noticed, which I actually hope you have, I haven't blogged for a while. Well, I needed a break. I'd published seven books in three years and I was sort of written out. I simply needed a break. So now I think the break is over. I'm thinking about writing again and have several projects in different stages of writing. They we […]
    • Chloe's Decision 
      As I stated last week, November is NANOWRIMO. I'm working on the next Stones Creek novel. It's the story of Chloe, Noah Preston's sister. She comes to Stones Creek with her two children. If you would like to read her pre-story simply subscribe to Sophie's Special Emails. No more than twice a month will you receive an email with special co […]
    • Remembering Fudgsicles
      It is November and thus NANOWRIMO, National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to begin a novel and write 50,000 words during the month. Since this occupies most of my focus for these four weeks I will be reposting previous articles each week this month. Fudgsicles, how long has it been since I’ve had a fudgsicle? I’m not sure, but they came to mind when […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • Madcap Fun with Lindsey Paley and her new book
      June 2015A Camille Carter Novel Book OneBuy on Amazon2.99 ebookFrom the Publisher:When all-round buttercream princess, Millie Carter, becomes stranded at Craiglea Manor Cookery School, she believes her chance of enjoying a merry festive season is over.The village of Aisford is Christmas-card perfect, but Millie hates it - she hates the snow, her freezing fin […]
    • Delightful Short Pet Read
      I've been privileged to work with many authors on a vast array of projects, everything from short horror, flash fiction, quick little reads to epic historical novels. Eliza Earsman has an interesting history, besides a growing list of lovely tales to read. Manley, the rescue cat, is a charming tale at a sweetheart price.About the Book:Manley was in a ba […]
    • Penelope Marzec and Patriot's Pride historical fiction
      Margaret, the heroine of Patriot’s Pride, first appeared as the indomitable younger sister of Agnes in Patriot’s Heart. Margaret and her pet pig, Jonas, stole many scenes in Patriot’s Heart. I knew I had to give Margaret her own book and I am delighted I was able to do so.One fact, which initially inspired me to write the book, was the impressment of America […]
  • RSS Nearly Brilliant

    • The Color of the Season by Julianne MacLean
      NOTE:  Due to a serious need to cut back on my workload, this will be my last official book review on this blog.It doesn’t seem possible that the evening can get any worse for police officer Josh Wallace after he is dumped by the girlfriend he planned to propose to, but it does.  Josh and his partner are shot while chasing a carjacking suspect. While on the […]
    • Book Review: Swept Away (Trouble in texas Book 1) by Mary Connealy
      Ruthy MacNeil is rescued by Luke Stone after she nearly drowns fording a flooded river with a wagon train. Her step family doesn’t survive and she is finally free of their mistreatment. Luke surived the horrific ordeal as a prisoner of war in notorious Anderson prison during the civil war, only to learn that his father has been killed and the family ranch st […]
    • Book Review of Everything She Ever Wanted by Ann Rule
      When Pat Taylor wed Tom Allanson he had no way of knowing it would destroy his life in just a matter of weeksIn fact, Pat destroyed a lot of people’s lives. The attractive Southern belle was spoiled by her mother and she expected to live a lavish lifestyle at any cost. Nobody crosses Pat who was fascinated with Scarlett O’Hara. Pat could pour on the charm, b […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
  • Second Monday: Sophie Dawson

  • Tuesdays – Promotion in Motion

  • Wednesdays: Life of a Writer – April & Positivity – Lisa Lickel

  • Thursdays – Luther’s on board

  • Fridays – Revolutionary Faith, Devotions by Elaine

  • Saturdays – Janet Perez Eckles

  • Sunday – Reflections Book Reviews

  • Blog Authors

  • The Barn Door

  • The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

  • John 3:16 Marketing Network widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)>

Why the Label?

Posted by Luther D. Powell on May 17, 2012

So I was brainstorming in my chamber of deep thought earlier this afternoon (the shower), and today’s bloppick came to mind. Why do we label Christian fiction? Not, what separates Christian fiction from everything else, but literally, why do we need the label?

I’m not hugely bothered by the label. I understand that plenty of Christian readers want to know they’re reading books that agree with their beliefs. They like to know that what they’re reading is safe for their hearts. I personally enjoy being able to enter a bookstore and head straight to the ‘inspirational’ section to browse shelves filled with some of my favorite authors. It’s like a family reunion!

Seriously though, why use the term ‘inspirational’ strictly for Christian/religious/spiritual fiction? Are no other books meant to inspire? I find that a little odd.

Anyway, my issue with labeling Christian fiction as such is that I have a lot of non-Christian friends (and a few Christian friends who don’t read much) who don’t even realize there is such a thing. Honestly, I rarely see a section in bookstores for Christian fiction; rather, I see sections marked off as ‘Christian,’ or ‘religious’ or ‘inspirational,’ period. That said, what non-Christian is going to read This Present Darkness if it’s sold on the same shelf as I Kissed Dating Goodbye? Nothing against the latter, you know what I mean. I understand the shelving logic: these books are belief-friendly, mix them together. But fiction and nonfiction have very different purposes, and I feel like those differences should be recognized.

I need a haircut.

Again, I do see the logic behind the Christian fiction label. It’s all about the marketing process, and the folks behind Christian fiction marketing are probably Christians who want other Christians to read the Christian books they Christian publish. Christian. However, I’ve read plenty of books on the…other market…which had messages of hope and spiritual growth in the plots, but simply because they were published by a different company, they didn’t get to sit at the table of Christian-labeldom. Dean Koontz, for example, is an author with a pretty hefty word count who definitely doesn’t ignore the spiritual realm in his writings. His books make me think on deep, important stuff just as much as Ted Dekker’s books do, but you’ll find no Dean Koontz on a Bible shelf.

Another thing, if Christian fiction gets its own corner in the bookstore, then why do I never see any Atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, New Age, et cetera, fiction? Sure there are nonfiction books that are by this religious group for this religious group, Richard Dawkins’s, The God Delusion comes to mind, but fiction? I haven’t seen it, and now that I think about it, wouldn’t it seem kind of weird to walk into a bookstore and see signs all over the place separating Christian fiction from Muslim fiction and so on and so forth? Right now, there seems to be Christian fiction and…everything else. Not all ‘secular fiction’ authors are unbelievers, so a Christian fiction label might even be a little off-putting to everyone else in the spectrum.

The way I see it, Christian stories are meant to aid in spiritual growth and plant seeds, so to speak. When the first thing people will see is “Hey! A Christian wrote this so you might consider accepting Jesus,” what firmly-rooted non-Christian will keep reading? Some will. Some get curious, but I can tell you from personal experience that most will glance at the bookshelf and keep walking. It’s not the label that bothers me, it’s how people react to it.

I can’t say I have an immediate solution to this. Maybe I’m the only one who sees a problem with it, but if what is currently considered Christian fiction were to simply be called ‘fiction,’ would we Christian authors not get more readers? How many more seeds could we plant if people didn’t have the obvious label to walk away from? It’s not denying our faith if we take the label away; denying our faith would be to rewrite everything without a message. What I think matters most is that we as Christians know Who and what we’re writing about, and that readers are encouraged to think on the world beyond themselves after reading what we write. They don’t need to know what we know as soon as they see the shelf the books are on, you know? :)

Obviously, a lot would have to be done in order for this change to be made. I’m not saying, “Let’s start a revolution with secretly-Christian-fiction,” per se, but I’d like to know if I’m not the only person who feels this way.

In closing, here’s a doodle I drew shortly after getting my first two short stories published by Splickety and OtherSheep magazines. Thanks for reading, cheers, God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

3 Responses to “Why the Label?”

  1. Mom said

    Good job.

  2. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) said

    Hi Luther,

    Wouldn’t it be productive for your own thinking to ask someone else in the field, “Why ‘Christian fiction’?” Editor Jeff Gerke at Marcher Lord Press (who publishes Christian speculative fiction) makes the best case I know of for the genre and its subspecialties. There are right and wrong reasons to be a Christian fiction writer and he spells them out very well indeed. Not everyone who is in the field, probably should be.

    From another angle: Christian fiction sets up a sign that people are meant to walk toward, not away from, but isn’t there something called “the offense of the cross”? Or on a broader scale, that of the whole Government of God as represented by the Ark of the Covenant, against which government the whole world is rebelling? (I’d have to point you to an essay I wrote on God’s Government as symbolized by the Ark, in order to make my reasoning perfectly clear, but Isaiah 24:5 and Revelation 11:19 are two of the many verses that give us the construct for that connection.)

    Christian fiction is supposed to reflect a worldview that really is unique. On the one hand it gives an alternative to the godless thinking of the rest of the world for those who reject that godless way of thinking. On the other hand, while some authors write mostly because they want to edify themselves while praising the Lord, and some mostly because they want to advocate to others while praising the Lord (this is largely a matter of “personality type” and I fall into the latter category), Christian fiction is aimed at a market niche and in the end is written by Christians for Christians; any advocacy to the rest of the world is a side effect, and should be. In like manner – and this may surprise you, but it didn’t surprise C.S. Lewis – the non-fiction Gospels were written not to make Christians, but to edify Christians already made. But they also have the effect of advocacy in a world where most are not yet called of God (John 6:44, 65) and won’t be until Jesus Christ’s return (Isaiah 25:6-9).

    It’s only a matter of time, indeed elsewhere in the world the time is already here, where there are such things as “Muslim fiction” (for example). But again – as you say yourself, where there is a market, a literary niche will arise, and sometimes the niche will also create the market. It is the order of things in writing anything at all, else why bother?

    But the point is not to “get more readers of Christian fiction”, no more than the point of the Gospel is simply “to get more converts”. The real Gospel has nothing to do with that sort of thinking. It is rather a witness or testimony to the world of its evils, whether the world hears or refuses to hear, with the realization beforehand that most won’t want to hear at the present; and everyone who wants to be a Christian writer of either fiction or non-fiction needs to face that biblical fact squarely.

  3. patches24 said

    I see the point you are making and it is valid if ll book buyers were going to bookshops as was the case in days gone by. Now with ebook readership outstripping bricks and mortar sales, I think there needs to be a definition. In any given day, KDP Select has a minimum of 450 titles as free giveaways, and thousands more in their Kindle store, and there is Barnes and Nobles Nook and Smashwords etc. etc. With so many books to look through, if I personally had to read every description before I chose a book, I would never get anything done, let alone have time to read the book. So where in a brick and mortar bookshop there could be a single heading ‘fiction’ for ebooks the narrowed defition should be included.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,246 other followers

%d bloggers like this: