And no, this time I’m not talking about boundaries for expressing physical affection or promoting saving sex for marriage. Plenty of discussion about that on my “Waiting Matters… Because YOU Matter” blog.
What I’ve been wondering is this: Are there places that Christian fiction shouldn’t go? Are there subjects too taboo to make an appearance in a work of fiction considered “Christian”? What is absolutely, positively, without question off-limits? And I’m mostly questioning subject matter rather than the inclusion or exclusion of profanity.
Now I want to be perfectly upfront. The tagline I’ve adopted for my fiction writing career is:
Realistic Contemporary YA Fiction — The Unflinching Realities
And I already mentioned my blog that very candidly addresses abstinence and renewed abstinence so it’s safe to say I don’t shy away from tough subjects or touchy issues. My philosophy about such things can be summed up like this –
The world never misses an opportunity to discuss issues of a “mature subject matter” and neither should Christians. Sin and its consequences are a reality. So are difficult decisions. Jesus’ power and presence are the answer to both.
So you may be wondering what’s up with the “how far is too far?” question. Actually, I’m wondering the same thing myself. You see I normally engage in conversations promoting more grit, more edge, more reality in Christian fiction. But I suddenly find myself asking “When is enough enough?”
I’m reviewing a manuscript for an acquaintance who’s wondering if his story “goes too far”, whether the premise will be offensive to Christians. While the premise is interesting, the question “But why write a story about THIS?” keeps spinning through my brain, like a coyote circling a cluster of Conestoga wagons bedded down for the night. Does this go too far?
It’s gritty and edgy to be sure. But maybe it’s the “reality” part I’m struggling with as the story is clearly speculative fiction, taking place in a “what if?” world that sprouts from a ghastly, if interesting, premise. Do we really need a story about this? Even as I ponder my own reaction to the story, a chill creeps over me as the real-life events of the past several months play through my mind.
A year ago did we have any real clue the dark path our country and our world would be headed down? Did we have any grasp of the hatred and persecution that would be directed toward Christians and traditional values? Maybe what concerns me about this story is that its other-worldly reality isn’t as far of a stretch as I’d like to think, especially considering recent events.
I’ll admit “But why?” is a question I find myself asking a lot—and not just about fiction storylines. I have a curious nature in general. But I really want to know the “But why?” behind this story. I’m trying to decide if I need/want to know the answer WHILE I’m reading or wait until I finish.
Now, back to my original questions: “How far is too far?” and “When is enough enough?”
I’d love to hear your thoughts!