Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Christian Fiction and Twisted Perception

I’ve read several interesting and well thought posts, concerning the boundaries and purposes of Christian fiction. The posts and comments that follow invariably divide, for the most part, into two schools of thought on the subject:  1) those who believe Christian fiction should follow strict guidelines and be very family oriented and safe, and 2) those who feel the parameters should be relaxed to include stories written from a Christian point of view that might expand the envelope by delving into areas of fantasy.

As a relatively recent born-again Christian, and, therefore, a new arrival in the Christian fiction market, I’ve found myself a bit confused by it all. I empathize with the reasoning behind both points of view. However, I must confess to leaning more toward the expanded envelope crowd. I’ve been a published author in the secular market since 2006, and I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to switch over to Christian fiction. I’ve always felt that I should use my skills, such as they are, in a positive way, but after my awakening the urge to take the writing further toward this goal increased dramatically. I’ve spent numerous hours praying about it. The message I keep receiving is that I should try to reach people, including those who have lost their faith, or never had it to begin with, and, the way I see it, in order to do that I would have to write outside the currently defined Christian market.

With this discussion, names such as C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L ‘ Engle, and J.R.R. Tolkien often come up as writers who are considered by some as Christian authors whose work falls outside the current guidelines of the genre, if that term can be appropriately applied here. I love Tolkien’s work, but I must admit it’s a stretch for me to think of it as Christian fiction. In his writing, good does triumph over evil. However, the same could be said about J.K. Rowling with her Harry Potter series, which leads to some interesting things I’ve run across.

Rowling’s first Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was based in part on the life of a real person.

More on this in the next post.  

Twisted Perception Blog Post number 5

Chapter Two

As soon as Detective Kenny Elliot stepped out of his car, he knew he’d slowed, stumbled somewhere along the way, for it had finally caught up with him, and like a twenty-nine-year-old boxer who grows old in the third round of a title fight, he would never be the same. It was what he saw in the vehicle, a late model Mercedes left beside a trash dumpster. It was in the parking lot of the Village at Central Park, a bunch of upscale, newly constructed condominiums just off Peoria Avenue.
Elliot silently cursed Captain Dombrowski for dragging him into this on his day off. It’d been 6:00 a.m. when the phone rang, and Elliot had come out of his sleep in a fit, fighting to rid himself of the bed sheets that trapped his legs and torso like some kind of malignant ivy. He hadn’t been sleeping well. It was the dreams; they’d started again. They’d become intense, occurring more frequently and leaving in their wake unsettling thoughts that rambled through his head—burdensome notions that something wasn’t quite right in his world, a problem just below the surface that he couldn’t quite drag into consciousness.
Elliot had a pretty good idea why Dombrowski had called. Cunningham was on vacation somewhere in Montana and Mendez was out with the flu, but there were other detectives. Obviously, Dombrowski knew there would be more to it than a simple homicide, if “simple” can be used when talking about deliberate death. An informal understanding had begun to develop inside the department. Dombrowski had an instinct about unusual cases, knowing which ones would deviate from the norm, and Elliot had a knack for solving them.
Elliot approached the Mercedes, a knot forming in his gut, his usual calm behavior displaced by his progress like the smooth surface of a pond disrupted by gas bubbles escaping from something vile hidden beneath its depths. An image of Carmen Garcia blossomed in his mind.
Don’t do this, Kenny. We can work it out.
He thought about the report. He couldn’t write it up indicating the suspect was a ghost, an unseen demon, but as he approached the Mercedes that thought vibrated through his head. Then, as he drew near and confirmed that it was indeed a necklace dangling from the inside mirror, his legs nearly gave way and for a moment his thoughts were in another time and place.

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