I recently sat on a panel of other Christian authors and a question was posed:
How much Christianity in books is appropriate?
That was an incredibly interesting question.
I will try to explain what I mean when I gave the answer of, “exactly as much is there should be.”
The fact is, when you’re writing and using a spiritual gift God has given you with the intent of serving God in His design you, then the assumption is that you go into every project and in my case, every day, praying that the Holy Spirit would inspire your words, the flow of the story, etc. I always specifically ask for the inspiration to say the words that he would have me to say in order to reach the people he has in mind to reach with this book.
Some stories that I craft and create have a less grand spiritual message. There is no profound moment, nor is there a remarkable spiritual journey. Both characters are already Christians who serve God, and while there is certainly faith within their day-to-day lives, there is no spiritual arc per se.
Other stories I craft have a profoundly loud spiritual message. The spiritual arc is is tantamount to the progress of the story as the romantic arc. There is a conversion moment either to rediscover God, or to discover him for the first time, there is a learning and a deeper understanding of what it means to serve God, or there is a profound impact of God’s presence in the life of the character.
Each book has a faith arc that is true to that story. I don’t try to force anything that would be unnatural for my characters or unrealistic to my readers. If one of my books has a super strong faith arc and possibly even a sermon in the middle of it, that is because the story required it.
Do my characters pray? In every book. By the end of all of my books, the two main characters are active Christians. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to “pray without ceasing”. It’s kind of impossible to write a character who doesn’t pray if that character is a Bible-believing Christian.
Do my characters read the Bible? Again, by the end of each book, both of my characters are Bible-believing Christians. It’s not realistic to believe a book you haven’t read yet. However, sometimes it’s just mentioned, and other times it’s part of the plot. It just depends on the book.
Do my characters go to church? Absolutely. Even if they don’t step into the building in the flow of the story, it is mentioned, discussed, alluded to.
I got a review one time for Greater Than Rubies that said something like, “It’s so nice to find a Christian book that isn’t preachy.” The funny thing is- there’s a six-page, Romans Road sermon in the center of that book. But because it flowed with the story, timed perfectly inside of the characters’ realistic-feeling lives, the book itself didn’t ‘feel” preachy.
You’re going to get the gamut in my books – but every one of them will feel “right”.