Friday, July 12, 2013

A focus on books

The Writing Master (Benjamin Eakins) - Thomas Eakins

If Christian Art is starving, then the most emaciated sector of Christian Art is literature. Over the past few decades, Christianity has managed to churn out a several good musicians and has revived Christian fine art, it has largely left the idea of the Christian novel with the short end of a stick that wasn't very long to begin with.

Exactly how bad does Christian Literature have it? Just give the 'Christian Fiction' section of your local bookstore a browse. What you'll find is an unholy matrimony between bad eschatology and Amish romance. In most cases the Christianity tends to be forced, squeezed between the lines of rather sub-par writing until the most devout among us are sick of it. It's not to say that Christians don't have a few good writers. Names such as Ted Dekker and Frank Perretti come to mind. The problem is, these men are enjoyed by Christians, not because their writing has any merit of its own (it may or may not), but because it's simply not bad like everything else written by their contemporaries.

The fact is, modern evangelicalism is suffering from virulent anti-intellectualism, and literature as an art-form, is the hardest hit. See, literature, more than all other art forms, relies on deep and rigorous thought. This is not to say the music and art don't rely to a certain extent on challenging oneself intellectually, but not to the extent that literature does. The core of making good literature is challenging oneself intellectually. Unlike painting and music which both rely on dexterity as well, literature is a purely mental enterprise. When Christianity abandoned its intellectual heritage, literature was the first to suffer.

Novels are something we need. Christianity is the only world religion that is primarily based on story. A true story yes, but a story nonetheless. More then any other form of art, the novel is the best suited to carry our message. It explains the gospel in ways that no other art form can. The History of Christian of literature is unique. We can boast of such works as The Inferno, Paradise Lost, and Lord of the Rings. With this proud intellectual history behind us are we really willing to accept the endless stream of Amish romances as the best we can do?

This is why this blog is going to be focused on books, writing books, reading books with an occasional side dabble into the realm of other media (movies, video games, tv shows) but only in so far as they relate to plot and writing. Our aim will be to challenge ourselves, as writers when it comes to literature.

So I've introduced you to my purpose, both general and specific. In the future posts we're going to start delving into how one can discipline their mind and improve their writing.

(art by ~amethyste-stock)


  1. "modern evangelicalism is suffering from virulent anti-intellectualism

    so true


    Yeaahh-no. :P

    I'm with ya, bring on some real writing. Not watered down paltry plot sandwiches with a Bible verse mashed between. Real stories with real characters and real faith. That's what this world needs.

  3. Excellent post. :D I hope to see Christian Lit make a comeback...

    I've always said if I were an Amish person I'd feel insulted by all the Amish romances. :-P