Someone recently asked me about how much is too much Jesus in their Christian fiction book.
It’s a legitimate question, and it’s one I’ve heard before, too. I have a couple of super simple answers, too, but it sort of depends on who I’m talking to. Not everyone gets my sense of humor.
Answer A: You should always write the story God has given you to write.
Answer B: How much is too much Jesus in your life?
As you can imagine, I haul out Answer A way more than Answer B. ^_^
While I absolutely believe that we should always write the stories that God gives us, I also know that readers have different likes and dislikes about how much faith shows up in books. Not everybody wants page-long prayers. Just like not everyone wants a book that calls itself Christian fiction but in no way reflects Christ.
We each have our own ideas about how much is enough and when it crosses over into too much. We also have varying opinions about what kind of faith elements are good and which ones are kind of a fictional turn-off.
When I first started writing Christian fiction, for example, I thought that every book needed a salvation scene. It felt like a Christian duty to include that. Eventually, though, I realized that most of my readers are already saved. It didn’t really do any good for me to tell believers how to find Jesus. Instead, as I developed the spiritual themes for each of my books, I started focusing on areas that believers struggle with and trying to show new and different ways that we can live out our faith in the midst of the sorts of struggles we all face. I’ll still include a salvation scene if the story calls for it, but I won’t ever again put a salvation story in a book because I think I have to in order to call it Christian fiction.
So here’s my question for you. Or questions, really. Because I have a whole list of them. ^_^
How much is too much Jesus in a book?
What sorts of religious themes do you like to see in books?
And which religious themes are a total turn-off to you?
Does it bother you if an author takes a strong position on a debatable topic (like dancing with the opposite sex or having a glass of wine with dinner – things that Scripture doesn’t necessarily say are wrong but that some believers have strong feelings about)?
How much is too little Jesus in a book? At what point do you decide the book can’t even call itself Christian anymore?
Do you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on the topic that isn’t covered by one of these questions? If so, tell me! I’d love to hear what you – the readers that we all serve – think about this topic.
Blessings to you in the coming week!