That’s right. The gospel message wasn’t my focus with A Time to Die.
The curse of being an author of Christian fiction is that, no matter how you deliver the spiritual message, you’re going to get reviews that say, “It was so preachy! I was drowning!” and “There wasn’t enough spiritual focus. It was so dry.”
I’ve accepted the fact I can’t please everyone — nor do I want to — but there’s one common remark in some of the A Time to Die reviews I want to talk about. It goes something like this: “I would have liked to see more of the gospel message.”
I don’t mind people wanting this. Different opinions or even negative reviews don’t bother me (don’t ask me why they don’t. I can’t explain it and I just hope it never changes!) But many of these reviewers were Believers, which is cause for me to ask….why did they want more of the gospel message? Surely it couldn’t be for their own benefit because they already know and accept it.
My conclusion: They want the gospel message for other readers. Maybe the non-believer who picks up my book. It makes me wonder…have we come to expect that all Christian fiction should have “the Jesus story?” [Tweet this]
Here’s the thing…I think people in our culture hear a lot of the gospel message, but don’t see examples of it quite as often as we’d hope. I don’t pitch the gospel through my story just as I don’t blurt out the crucifixion of Christ the moment I meet someone new.
There are a lot of Christian spec-fic books out there presenting the gospel much better than I could. My calling has always been to pursue the already-believers. To be an example, to encourage deeper faith, to strengthen. My vision was to reach out to those who know Christ, they know His sacrifice, but they have a hard time with the “personal relationship” side of things.
Being a servant of Christ doesn’t just mean I go around blurting the gospel message. It means I disciple others, help others grow in their seriousness and understanding of Christ. That is what I focused on in A Time to Die because I believe that is the greatest struggle for us today. It’s a lot easier to say “I believe” than it is to live it. Trust me, I discovered that the hard way. [Tweet this]
So that is the heart behind A Time to Die. “The Gospel message” is a part of who I am, since Christ is in me. I can only pray that it will shine through my writing, regardless of how much “Jesus story” I have between the pages. I pray it will shine through the character’s journey…and resonate with the reader’s own journey.
In conclusion: the voyage is often more impacting than the sermon. Life is a pilgrimage — I want my books to reflect that.
What books have impacted you most with their message?
What messages do you think should make up “Christian fiction”? [Tweet this]
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