Tag Archives: Christian

Should Christian Books be “Sanitized?”

© CanStock / envivo

© CanStock / envivo

The debate is nothing new, yet I’m still surprised by how often it comes up in Christian writer’s circles. One position claims that it’s fine to pepper Christian novels with swearing in an effort to accurately portray our fallen world. These novels are proclaimed “art” and therefore above reproach. They are “edgy.” These writers are sick of being judged and tired of novels that are prudish and “sanitized” for Christian readers.

I confess to sometimes reading secular books with swearing, and I’m not at all surprised when I come across it in that context. Does it grate against the fibers of my mind? Yes. Is it what I want to fill my thoughts with? No—but on occasion, I overlook offensive content for a book that receives rave reviews. Should I? Probably not. I give in less and less in that area. Is it unfair of me then to expect a lack of profanity in a Christian book? I’d argue, not.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

When we choose to read a book, we put ourselves fully at the mercy of the author, their word choices and their worldview. One angle in this whole debate was that works of edgy Christian fiction can be life-changing and evangelical. My only response would be that in order to succeed in that aspect, the book might best be marketed in a secular category. Then again, if we combine it with Christian content of some sort, are we sending a mixed message?

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8)

Have I failed in this area? Absolutely. Ignorant of another country’s potential offense to one of my word choices, I included it in my first book. When a reader in that country clued me in, I removed it. My efforts are far from perfect, but creating something that glorifies God is what I ultimately strain for. I don’t believe that using language that offends some is the way to accomplish this goal.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

I have to ask Christian authors who choose to include profanity in their books—is it necessary? Is it worth it to risk offending, and even potentially losing, a portion of your intended audience? Or could the novel still be a work of art without it?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

In our pursuit of excellence, it just seems right to craft a novel using lovely words—prose that will edify, and renew our minds. I admire authors who do. There is an art to achieving edginess without cheapening it.

I’m sure I just pushed some buttons here. I try my best not judge or condemn, but when I begin to feel assaulted by novels that claim to be Christian yet offend, I feel the need to speak up … just one girl’s opinion in a noisy world.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

What is your position on profanity in Christian novels? Do you think it can bring about positive life changes when used in a certain way? Is it what you want to read?

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What on Earth was I Thinking?

photo credit: mtsrs via photopin.com

photo credit: mtsrs via photopin.com

Why write The Place of Voices? Mayans and koalas and orphans. Oh, my. It’s all so odd. Christians don’t usually discuss ancient Mayan history. It’s a history full of brutal practices. Yet the Bible — and particularly the Old Testament — is full of comparable examples. No culture or civilization can claim a higher moral ground. In all my research on the ancient Maya, I could find nothing in it that didn’t have a modern parallel (human sacrifice included). In fact, in every area of ancient history and culture I’ve studied, I find that a close examination usually reveals more similarities than differences. If anything, our contemporary parallels are less spiritually motivated and more self-centered.

We know little of what God has in store for us in the future, or why his plan has unfolded as it has. We can’t possibly judge or condemn ancient cultures from a comfortable distance, limited by our modern sensibilities. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that everything and everyone belongs to God — whether they claim him or not.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1 NIV)

We all come from the same source. Only time and distance have made a distinction.

“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27 NIV)

“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16 NIV)

We are all his creation—one he originally found “very good.” Yet, in our fallen world, all people are under the power of sin (Romans 3:9), no one superior to another.

“As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is good not even one. No one has real understanding; no one is seeking God. All have turned away from God; all have gone wrong. No one does good, not even one.’” (Romans 3:10-12 NLT)

When I visited Tikal in 1999, its haunting ruins tugged at my heart and prodded my imagination. Shrouded in mist and surrounded by exotic bird call, the massive pyramids left a lingering impression on me. Here were a people who aspired to greatness. Somewhere in that quest, something went horribly wrong. We can only wonder at the possible causes.

The mysteries of our world and history are fascinating. Curiosity stirred, my mind can’t seem to resist speculating as I reflect on the limited details revealed, testing possible connections. Why not examine these mysterious locations from a Christian perspective?

And so, The Place of Voices took root in my mind. An unlikely trio of friends, an unconventional location … a timeless adventure of discovery.

Sometimes it takes a journey through time to learn the true meaning of sacrifice.

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THE PLACE OF VOICES
Available on amazon.com

Kindle version on sale
September 18-21, 2014 for only 99¢

DISCLAIMER: No humans were sacrificed in the making of this book. The Place of Voices is a clean read” appropriate for readers 12 and older.

 


Join Anna and Brendan as they reunite in book two of the TimeDrifter series, The Veil of Smoke, for a harrowing adventure in Pompeii—releasing early 2015! To receive announcements on giveaways, sale prices and new releases in the series, subscribe to Lauren’s email list or visit www.laurenlynch.com.