Why I Like Christian Fiction | Motley Monday

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Yesterday I got flute music for a Twenty One Pilots song. It was kinda awesome.

Today’s post is an interesting one. If you’ve been around the blogosphere a bit, you’ve probably heard of Opal. And you might have seen her post a few weeks ago called Why I Don’t Like Christian Fiction. If you haven’t read the post, read it now, and if you’ve never heard of Opal, then you should probably subscribe while you are over there.

Opal made some pretty interesting and good points over there, which I can say even though I personally love Christian fiction. What I found most interesting, though, was that 95% of the comments were agreeing with her. Do most people really not like Christian fiction?

So I decided to write a post sharing why I do like Christian fiction. Just for a different perspective, you know.

But first, two things before I begin:

1. This is not a rebuttal post. Opal made some great points, and I’m not disagreeing with any of them. I’m just explaining my point of view. Also, I’d actually planned on doing this post anyway long before she posted hers.

2. I’m not claiming that everything I say applies to all Christian fiction, nor am I saying that it applies to all the ones that I’ve read. I am simply sharing what I think about most of the ones I’ve read (which consists of Melody Carlson, Karen Kingsbury, Erynn Mangum, and various different kindle and paperback authors whose names I cannot remember).

Alrighty. So why do I like Christian fiction?

1. I grew up with it
I wasn’t one of those kids who only read Christian fiction growing up, and then hated it when I was older. I hadn’t actually read much of it until I was about eight or nine, but around that age, I really got into it (particularly the Nancy Rue ones), and so I slowly progressed to the YA ones, as well as some adult ones, and I continued to love it. If I like something, I tend to stick with it. And sure, I’ve branched off a heck of a lot, but it’s still great to come back to what I know and love.

2. A lot of them have happy endings
I’ve talked about happy endings a lot lately. I love them more than anything in the world, in both fiction and real life. In general, I’ve found that Christian fiction tends to have more happy endings than other books. This isn’t true for all books, of course, but as a general rule, I’ve found more happy endings in Christian fiction than other fiction. Maybe they’re cheesy or clichΓ©. Maybe I’m a sap. Maybe it seems childish. But I like happy endings. Christian fiction normally provides me with happy endings. So I like Christian fiction.

3. I can relate to it
This is probably going to sound rather high and mighty or something, but I relate a lot more to the characters and the issues in Christian fiction than secular fiction, because a lot of the issues in secular fiction seem superfluous to me. I don’t know. I guess it’s because the characters in Christian fiction go through life with a mindset that is closer to mine than the mindset of characters in secular fiction. (Question: is secular fiction even a thing? Am I making things up here? What’s the correct term for fiction that isn’t Christian?) I can relate more and understand their problems more, because their thinking is similar to mine.

4. It’s safe
Okay, now this one sounds really bad. What I mean by safe is that I’m comfortable reading it. A lot of secular fiction has stuff in it that makes me feel yucky and uncomfortable. And while I have come across that on occasion in Christian fiction, the tone and the message of it was different. (Although I’m intrigued. This was one of the major points that Opal made against Christian fiction, saying that a lot of it was inappropriate. Could someone give me examples of books that are like this? For the most part, other than a few bad kindle books, I haven’t really come across this.) Basically, if I feel comfortable recommending it to my mum (we read a lot of the same books) then I enjoy it more and consider it “safe”. There have been many more Christian books than secular books that have fallen into this category.

5. It teaches me more about God
Through reading Christian fiction, I get to view God through the eyes of many different people, both authors and characters. Hearing from the perspectives of all these people has shaped my relationship with God and taught me more about Him.

6. I enjoy it
This one is probably the most important on the list. I like Christian fiction because I do. We’re all wired differently, and we all like different things, and one of the things that I like is Christian fiction. If we all liked the same things, the world would be rather boring. Maybe the things that Opal said about Christian fiction are true. I’m not disputing that. But when it comes down to it, I enjoy reading it, and that is why I read it.

Well, there you have it. Why I enjoy reading Christian fiction. Any thoughts? Any recommendations for really bad Christian fiction that fits all of Opal’s categories so that I can see what you are talking about? Am I just a really naΓ―ve person? Does that matter? Am I asking too many questions?

Right. I think it’s time for bed.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

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10 thoughts on “Why I Like Christian Fiction | Motley Monday

  1. Rachel Day says:

    What I can see from comparing your post to Opals; is that both of you have valid points. What you said was that there are different authors that write different things within the genre. Also the point you made about the happy endings. Although that is not always a real life thing, and that can almost come across as cheesy, and is not for everyone. I think this really just shows it comes down to genre preference. It’s not going to be for everyone. πŸ™‚

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  2. No, you are not naΓ―ve! I don’t really understand when people say they love all Christian Fiction, or don’t like all Christian Fiction. There are too many books and genres to lump them all together! I use to say I liked all Christian Fiction, but I have realized that some of it is unrealistic and cheesy. But that does not mean I don’t like all books with this classification. I think “secular” fiction is the same way. Not all of it is good, but not all of it is bad. It’s too broad of a category!

    Also, I tagged you in a Would You Rather post πŸ™‚
    https://26countlesspossibilities.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/would-you-rather-book-tag-rivkas-answers/

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    • Yes! Exactly! Some people are so quick to generalize. I, for one, am not claiming that every Christian book I read was good, because I have read some pretty terrible ones, just like in all other genres that I’ve read.

      And thank you for the tag! I’d been eyeing that one up for a while but hadn’t been tagged in it yet πŸ˜€

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  3. Hmm, you have some interesting points here. I actually grew up with Christian fiction, and I loved it as a small person, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself a great deal less interested in it, and I would have to say that I lean more toward Opal’s viewpoint. However, I will say that I don’t think /all/ Christian fiction is bad or whatever, because it’s impossible to label an entire genre. For instance, I really love Steven James and Ted Dekker, and their books are Christian fiction.

    I think my biggest problem is with Christian Romance specifically, and while I haven’t read all of the stuff out there, I have read a fair amount. And, as with Opal, Christian Romance tends to make me very uncomfortable. I can’t explain it here without skipping points and condensing to much, but, I will be discussing/reviewing a Christian Inspirational Romance on Monday, and then you will get all my thoughts on the subject. *nods*

    But, I do think it’s great that you still enjoy the genre, and I’m glad that you see stuff of value in it. πŸ™‚

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    • I can understand that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and whatnot, as long as they don’t judge others for disagreeing. Or something like that. I haven’t read any of Steven James or Ted Dekker, but I’ll have a look into them.

      I’m kind of confused by everyone saying that Christian romance makes them uncomfortable, because, other than some terrible kindle ones, I haven’t read any Christian romances that made me uncomfortable. So either I interpret things differently, or I’m read completely different books. Do you have any examples of some that were like that for you? And I’ll certainly keep an eye out for that post.

      This just reiterates all the things we’ve been saying over the last few weeks – it’s good that we all like different things.

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      • My only warning about Steven James and Ted Dekker (Steven James especially) is that their writing can tend to get dark, so I would definitely recommend doing your research on them before deciding whether their work is something you want to tackle. πŸ˜›

        Um, off the top of my head, the ones that come to mind are Swept to Sea (which I’ll be discussing on Wednesday), and then there are others that I can picture the story from, and I feel bad, but I can’t remember many of the titles or the authors. I know Dee Henderson was one author I had trouble with, Grace Livingston Hill… I can’t remember many others right now, but there are some that are on the tip of my tongue.

        In short, some of the things that bothered me most is that they treated women more like objects than like people, and they always seemed to go out of their way to push boundaries that you would expect to be in place for Christian women–for instance, I found the attempted rape trope was often used because the author seemed to want sexual tension in their story, but wasn’t going to do something inappropriate like have the main characters make out. (I’ll be using this in my post, so I’ll definitely expand on why I feel very strongly about that.) They just tend to toe the line a lot. I read one book from a well-respected author, and the main character gets such a bad sunburn so she has to wear a tube top that she feels very immodest in–and the whole point of the thing is so she can show more skin, and I just felt so icky and stopped reading the book because it just felt so contrived. The character wasn’t being treated like a person, and the only reason the sun burn happened was so that the guy could see her showing more skin. And that example may not seem like a big deal taken out of context, but I’ve seen so many instances of that where, because Christian fiction is supposed to be clean, they can’t show making out and do other things to raise the sexual tension, but they still seem to toe the line and do stuff that will cause that same tension, it’s just more subtle, but it’s still equally inappropriate. Like, the lady almost drowns so the guy has to cut her dress off her–and there’s no reason why the lady needs to almost drown for the sake of the story, aside from the fact that the author seems to want the lady in a position where she’s less clad than she ordinary would be, and it seems like it’s fine because, hey, he was saving her, but the saving wasn’t relevant to the storyline. It was just an excuse to get her scantily clad in front of the guy. (Sorry if I’m not making much sense or if I’m ranting). But yeah, I’ll be fleshing these thoughts out more in my Monday post, and I’ve encountered some Christian authors who don’t do things like this. But the majority of the Christian books I read when I was younger (and I’m specifically referring to Christian romances, so I should probably make that distinction) had those elements. They also spend a lot of time describing the woman’s physical attractiveness–like, her curviness or her long legs or something like that, and if the love interest gets his own narration, he tends to spend a lot of time looking at the main character and mentally going over her physical attributes, and it so often felt like a watered-down form of lust to me that it really bothered me.

        So anyway, that was long. Sorry. I’m not sure how well I did explaining myself. πŸ˜› I’ll definitely try to polish my thoughts a lot more before I post about the subject, since I do want to respect other people’s opinions and views of the stories.

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      • I will definitely make sure I do my research on them first then.

        Ahh right. I saw you’d given Swept To Sea a low rating, so I’ll be definitely looking out for that post (not that I’ve read it). I haven’t read any Dee Henderson, and I haven’t heard of Grace Livingston Hill, so that explains a bit about why I haven’t experienced the same issues you have had.

        That all makes a lot of sense. I completely understand what you are saying, and I feel like I’d probably feel the same way if I’d read that one. I have read a few – mainly kindle ones – that focus too much on the physical, so I also can understand that, although it hasn’t been as much of a problem in the ones that I’ve read.

        Thank you for taking the time to explain it more! You explained yourself very well πŸ˜› and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for that post.

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  4. Tessa!! I wish you had told me you had written this post πŸ™‚

    I realise that because I tend to feel incredibly strongly about these sorts of things, my post was harsher than I meant it to be. On the other hand, I was pleased that when I finally came out and said what I did, I wasn’t alone.

    Obviously, as with all genres, Christian Fiction is wide and deep. My post was a huge generalisation of what I’ve read. We all have different tastes, and we all feel comfortable with different things. In the end, it’s up to each Christian to choose what they read, it’s on their conscience.

    I really enjoyed seeing your side of Christian Fiction, I wish I’d known about this post sooner πŸ™‚

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    • I was going to comment on your post again but I forgot πŸ˜›

      I absolutely understand what you mean about feeling strongly about things, and I don’t necessarily disagree with anything you said. And I’m glad that you came out and said it too!

      I completely agree! Everyone has different tastes, and that’s absolutely fine, and, like my Classics class said today, everyone is going to react to everything differently.

      Thank you for commenting! If I ever do a post following on from one of yours in the future, I’ll make sure to let you know πŸ˜›

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