Seeking out Christian fiction in September

Christian Fiction

In his 2012 Relevant article, “Where Did Good Christian Fiction Go?“, Micah Levi Conkling claims that Christian fiction has been marred by the Left Behind series and Amish fiction, and is very difficult to find. So, in September, we’ve been seeking out Christian fiction to see if Conklin’s claims are true. Is there really no good Christian fiction out there anymore?

To start off, I want to define what Christian fiction really is. It’s not really a genre. Not really, because as you’ve seen if you have joined me in my search, Christian fiction comes in many genres. The two books I reviewed from the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings collection, Texas Tears and Mail-Order Misfire, are both western romances, and I also had the pleasure of interviewing the author of each, Caryl McAdoo and Davalynn Spencer respectively. My “Chatting with the Pros” author guest, Angela Hunt writes historical fiction, historical romance, heart-warming tales of love and friendship, and children’s books that can all be classified as Christian fiction.

Christian fiction is really a category that other genres fall under. The aforementioned Left Behind series might fall under the science fantasy genre, given it’s futuristic, alternative universe setting. As Christian novels can be so varied, let’s take a look at what they have on common like the portrayal of Christian lifestyles, and an underlying message of a loving God. A book in virtually any genre could be considered Christian fiction if it has these two components, even if the message is subtle and remains in the background of the story. According to the Christy Awards website, the award is “designed to nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview and showcase the diversity of genres.”

In spite of Conklin’s claims, not all Christian stories boldly shove the message of God down the readers throat. (Many children, and adults as well, turn tail and run from a story that give a hard push to moralistic messages, as is discussed in this month’s “Growing Bookworms” post.) I think the message in good Christian fiction is delivered subtly, in small doses, giving the reader the option to take it or leave it while still being able to enjoy the story.)

Christian fiction really has a bad rep in some circles, where any story  with no sex, no violence, no cursing, and no vice, it is believed that the reading of which might be comparable to eating white rice with no seasonings. Christian fiction, from my view, is a tale which portrays Christian beliefs and values in its character’s lifestyles. I think the historical may even be flavored a little more heavily with this, because in days of past Christian lifestyles were more prominent. That could explain why historicals and westerns, like those we’ve looked at here lend themselves so readily to the Christian aspects. I’m guessing that it would more difficult, although not impossible, to work Christian aspects into a futuristic work of science fiction or fantasy, but I have seen them worked into thrillers and mysteries, and they are easily worked into contemporary romance.

Most Christian fiction stories that I’ve read are heart-warming and inspirational, and I’ve walked away with a warm feeling at the story’s end, as if there might actually be hope left for this world, or for love, or humanity, depending on the individual story. In short, Christian fiction works are stories which are written for Christian readers. But you don’t have to be searching for something with Christian undertones to enjoy one if you come across one. A good, well-written Christian story lets the characters carry the reader through without being preachy and moralistic. The power of God shines through in the character’s lives.


5 Comments on “Seeking out Christian fiction in September”

  1. This is an interesting post, Kaye, about an interesting topic. What is Christian fiction and what attracts or repels people from reading it? I liked your thoughts on this topic. I wonder if people will think Through the Nethergate is Christian fiction. I think it is as it includes a strong message of faith.

    • Lol. While Through the Nethergate has elements of faith, it also has elements of the supernatural which are more predominant. I think many works of horror or dark fiction carry a good vs. evil theme, in which the characters’ faith is tried, I think Christian fiction fans would not accept the classification. The Exorcist and Then Omen come readily to mind. There are huge elements of faith there, but I couldn’t call it Christian fiction. It’s funny. I asked Jeff the same thing about God’s Body as I was familiar with the beginning of the book and the basic premise of the book. Once I read the whole thing, I understood why he couldn’t stop laughing. I think the characters have to portray practicing faith in their everyday lives and it has to pay off, in a happy ending for a book to be considered Christian fiction. Does that make sense?

      • Yes, it does make sense for the Christian fiction book audience. Interesting as this is to me. I don’t believe in the man made structures of the churches but I do believe I have huge faith. Thank you, Kaye.

        • I’m with you Robbie. I think the Christian fiction audience picks up a Cf book with different expectations, but that doesn’t mean a more general audience can’t enjoy the entertaining aspects of Cf stories.

  2. Rebecca Carter says:

    If you’re looking for Christian fiction, I was in a writer’s group with a couple of authors who were writing that type of book.

    Patrick Null, who unfortunately stopped at one book: https://www.amazon.com/Patrick-Null/e/B015YVKAHM

    and

    Monica Mynk: https://www.amazon.com/Monica-Mynk/e/B0137R4350

    Both have written interesting books.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s