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Thread: How should my faith influence my writing/art/etc.?

  1. #21
    tWebber Bisto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    Let's say that I'm writing a novel (because I am). To what extent would you say that my Christian faith should influence my writing, and what should that influence look like?

    There seems to be a crowd that would argue that if you aren't writing to, for example, explicitly further the gospel, then what do you think you're doing? That should be the only purpose, they'd say. I think most of us could probably agree that a lot of the Christian fiction that seems born out of that thinking is less than great. Words that come to my mind with that stuff would be cheesy, corny, etc.

    If your answer is something along the lines of, "do it subtly," then what does subtly look like? This is probably a tough question to answer, so I'm just throwing it out there to see how people respond.

    For example, a good portion of my novel was born out of some psychological stress and poor thinking habits I've been confronting in myself over the past year. I suppose you could say that, on one level, writing the novel has been therapeutic for me, and I'm sure now that one of the reasons I think it works is precisely because of that influence.

    So, how "Christian" should my book, written by a Christian, be? It's a horror, btw, if that helps to elucidate the question.
    I haven't written anything, but I do keep the sketches and story ideas I've come up with before (like, a decade ago). And while I would like to one day update them and make stories of them in whatever format, at this point I would surely love to bring some theology into it. Maybe even throw in some wrong theology to make a weird story background.

    Nonetheless, I do agree that making any of them into another generic Christian story wouldn't be (necessarily) fun.
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  2. #22
    tWebber Chrawnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    I think "subtle" can mean something as simple as "not marketed to a Christian audience". There are plenty of great Christian/Not-Christian works of art that are overtly Christian in theme, yet that I would still consider subtle enough to be open to a non-Christian audience. Robert Duvall's The Apostle, for instance. I mean, it's about a Pentecostal preacher. It doesn't get much more blatant than that, but the film doesn't try to sugarcoat a Christian message. It doesn't speak to the audience in Christianese, and for the most part, it was never marketed to a Christian audience. The film is about a heavily heavily flawed character. A man who acts the very opposite of the Christian he ought to be, yet the audience is left with the sense that his faith moves him beyond his circumstances and doing great good. It's really a modern David and Bathsheba sort of narrative. A lot of Christian films made by the Christian industry produce films that are intentionally for Christian audiences, and end their films happily with all the pieces in their proper places, and that's simply not reality. That's not something a non-Christian audience can relate to.
    I don't think that's something a Christian audience can (should?) relate to either. It's not like all the pieces in your life fall in to their proper place when you become a Christian.

  3. Amen Adrift, Zymologist, One Bad Pig, Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
  4. #23
    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    It doesn't need to be explicitly "Christian" to be profoundly Christian. IMO people write from the heart; if Christ is in your heart, that will be reflected in your writing without you needing to "push" it. J.R.R. Tolkien's magnum opus has nothing to do with Christianity on its surface, but books have been written examining how The Lord of the Rings was shaped by a Christian world-view.
    I'm certainly nowhere near Tolkien's level, and would never claim to be, but the idea of writing something that is profoundly Christian without being explicitly Christian, as you put it, is really appealing to me. I want to write something that anybody could enjoy and find worthwhile, but that has something more than just entertainment value also.
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    tWebber
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    That's a good question. For myself, I have done creative writing but a lot of my stuff doesn't really directly touch on anything explicitly Christian. And as someone who loves science fiction and fantasy, it doesn't seem like, Lewis and Tolkien aside, that there are a lot of authors to learn from.
    Last edited by Paula; 01-10-2017 at 11:30 PM.

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    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    I was very impressed with Ted Dekker's fiction books. No sex, no profanity, no preaching. The main character, Patrick Bowers, is not a Christian, but he expresses his views towards Christians, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. But the character is under conviction.

    Other then that, I would suggest that the evil characters in your fiction all be liberals and Democrats. It makes for good realism.

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  8. #26
    tWebber
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    Lewis had interesting villains, many of them were deconstructions of the whole "suave sophisticated intelligent bad guy" trope. You see this especially in Perelandra and Screwtape Letters. Of course, stories don't need "villains" but they do need conflict. Interesting conflict. A good writer doesn't need an end of the world scenario with explosions and pandemics and massive death tolls--a good writer could create conflict from a baking contest.
    Last edited by Paula; 01-11-2017 at 02:44 AM.

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  10. #27
    tWebber Bisto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    Lewis had interesting villains, many of them were deconstructions of the whole "suave sophisticated intelligent bad guy" trope. You see this especially in Perelandra and Screwtape Letters. Of course, stories don't need "villains" but they do need conflict. Interesting conflict. A good writer doesn't need an end of the world scenario with explosions and pandemics and massive death tolls--a good writer could create conflict from a baking contest.
    To be fair, I imagine a baking contest with explosions, pandemics and massive death tolls would make a cool story to read nonetheless. THAT would earn the name "The Hunger Games".
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    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bisto View Post
    To be fair, I imagine a baking contest with explosions, pandemics and massive death tolls would make a cool story to read nonetheless. THAT would earn the name "The Hunger Games".
    On a fantasy fiction forum I'm a member of, I remember somebody posting what might be the best idea for a novel ever. This is a paraphrase, and keep in mind that this poster worded it better:

    A fantasy story of a very mundane, boring character. Say his name is Bob. He's on a quest to accomplish some mundane task--like mowing his lawn, or getting milk from the grocery store. In order to do that, he and his boring friends (Steve, Ted, etc.) have to fight their way through all manner of supernatural obstacles: evil wizards, monsters, etc. So they're on an epic quest to fight a host of exotic enemies so they can mow the lawn and get milk, or some such.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

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  13. #29
    tWebber Bisto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    On a fantasy fiction forum I'm a member of, I remember somebody posting what might be the best idea for a novel ever. This is a paraphrase, and keep in mind that this poster worded it better:

    A fantasy story of a very mundane, boring character. Say his name is Bob. He's on a quest to accomplish some mundane task--like mowing his lawn, or getting milk from the grocery store. In order to do that, he and his boring friends (Steve, Ted, etc.) have to fight their way through all manner of supernatural obstacles: evil wizards, monsters, etc. So they're on an epic quest to fight a host of exotic enemies so they can mow the lawn and get milk, or some such.
    Sounds fun, I'd totally read it.
    We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore on Christ's behalf: 'Be reconciled to God!!'
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