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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Bit of A Ramble About...Expulsion

Got you with the title, didn't I? Hee hee!

What goes in must come out. We've all heard it. It's officially cliche. It's still true.

I mention "worldview" a lot. It's a consequence of multiple attendences (is that a word? I don't care, it works) of Focus on the Family's The Truth Project. If you have the opportunity to attend one, take it. It will change your life. I would hope for the better. Then again, ignorance is bliss.

I've read a lot of contemporary Christian fiction in the past few months: published, unpublished, critique-group rough drafts, blog posts and message boards. I haven't read this much Christian literature since high school. You know... before the mortgage.

I was asked recently who was the Christian element in Star of Justice. Interesting question. Anyone spot the worldview issue? Should the Christian element be one character or should it be a theme throughout? 

In Biloxi Blues, Matthew Broderick's character learns that people believe what they read. It's been a while since I saw the movie, so I don't remember all the details, but his journal gets stolen and read aloud to his bunk mates with unfortunate results. He never intended for those thoughts to be read aloud. His views of his fellows said more about him than them, but the group dynamic changes after that incident.

I've said on numerous occasions that the skill of writing is separate from the writer, but they aren't as separate as I would like to believe. The skill expresses the writer's intent, after all. It is the story inside the writer's head that emerges on the page. What's inside must come out.

What if the inside is rotten? You get rotten books.

I used to enjoy Laurell Hamilton's vampire books. They are not even remotely Christian stories, but the first three had a moral center I found refreshing in contemporary literature. Then something happened to the author. I don't know what; I suspect a divorce. Her main character turned hard, and homicidal, and morally subjective, and well, just plain nasty. I don't buy her books anymore, and I've thrown away most of the ones I did buy.

I have no idea what George MacDonald read in his spare time. Greek and Latin, no doubt. But the books he produced leak Christianity. Some of them have mythical elements to them (Lilith, for example), but the concepts expressed throughout are most definitely Biblical.

For Christian authors, you may think you have one "Christian element" in your book. You'd be wrong. Your worldview permeates everything you create. Your unexamined beliefs will spill out onto the page and tell anyone who cares to look everything they need to know about you.

It's a little scary. It's a huge responsibility. What goes in must come out.

I recommend being very careful about what you put in.

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