Q4U: Fiction and Ministry
Wow. What a nice, long weekend. BUSY but great! Hope you all had exactly the kind of Fourth you most enjoy. Me, I had a crazy day with the family, starting with the pancake breakfast down at the church, then the big holiday parade, then the street fair. Back in the afternoon for a brief recovery period, then off to the big picnic & fireworks display. I was so tired at the end of Friday night, then got up and had a garage sale on Saturday. (I hate garage sales, but it was a ploy to get the kids to clean out the basement and get rid of ten years’ worth of toys. It worked.) Sunday was girls’ day out for shopping… of course, my daughters had to spend that garage sale money. Whew! I’m worn out.
Five days until I leave for ICRS so this is going to be a doozy of a week. Nose to the grindstone, no more messing around, it’s work, work, work. If I could ask you a favor… if you’re planning on sending me a query or a requested partial, it would be totally okay with me if you’d wait about two weeks to send it. Seriously. It seems everyone has decided to bombard my inbox, right when I don’t have any time to deal with incoming. So, hold off if you can. Thanks.
So, how about a post for today.
One of my clients wrote me:
As I toil on my romantic suspense, I confront a question I can’t answer. Is writing a romantic mystery for Christians a “ministry”? You mentioned you love the romance part of my book — and actually I do, too. But writing it doesn’t feel “ministerial” enough, whatever “ministerial” and “enough” are supposed to mean. Do other Christian novelists wrestle with this?
I answered her:
I believe writers often speak more “truth” in fiction than they do in non-fiction. In a novel, you don’t hide behind your own defenses, but you allow your characters to experience the full gamut of human emotion. So in a novel, you can portray the full spectrum of the human heart without holding back. You can show desire and temptation, discipline, fear, anger, doubt, and of course, love. You have the opportunity to “entertain” while also illustrating deeper truths. People always benefit from seeing the truth on the page. This is why I think Christian fiction, including romance, is ministerial.
I think you can only see romance as ministerial when you acknowledge that romantic feelings and desires are real, human, and God-given, and serve an important purpose in our lives; and that the Christian church (Western, mostly) has tended to try and ignore that, keeping love, romance, and sex in the dark hidden corners, making them unspeakable rather than an important part of the way God made us. I think it’s beautiful to see an honest portrayal of a romance, complete with conflict and pain, sexual desires, and amazing overwhelming love-feelings, because it reminds me of how God was so scandalously generous in giving us the gift of “each other” in the first place.
I could write a lot more… it’s much deeper than this. But I think I’d like to hear what others have to say.
Readers? How do you see your fiction writing as a ministry?