I'm a Christian author. There, I said it. And I'm not ashamed of it. I know it's semantics and to some it doesn't mean much (and to others it means a lot and they'll vehemently disagree with me) but I'm not an author who is a Christian. For me, the Christian part comes first . . . and should in everything I do. A Christian father; a Christian husband; a Christian therapist. Not that I have to state it in such a way every time I mention one of the roles I play but for clarification it needs to be said once in a while. And I need to be reminded once in a while.
For me, my identity as a Christian, a follower of Christ, comes first. It's my foundation, my starting point and my ending point. The worldview through which I view and interpret the world around me.
So when I write fiction that worldview, that Christian belief system, finds its way into the story. It has to because it's who I am as a person, as a writer. If it didn't I wouldn't be true to myself and my art.
And as a Christian we are called to share our faith, not to jam it down any listener's throat, not to burden people with it, not to use it as a battering ram, but simply to share it. So the challenge is before me:
How do I share my faith without being preachy or heavy-handed?
The answer, for me, is simple: I just don't. That's right, read it again. I don't share my faith. I let the characters share their faith. Readers don't want an author preaching at them, that's not why they pick up a novel. What they want in fiction is to be entertained, to be moved, to learn something about mankind and maybe themselves, to see the world through different eyes, but not to be heckled with preachiness from the author.
So I share the faith--a faith that carries such hope and love and peace--through the lives and struggles and questions and triumphs of the characters I create. And if I do my job effectively readers will accept that because it'll be some of the same questions they have, the same struggles and trials and valleys, the same quest for meaning and hope, the same desire for unconditional love and belonging. And it'll hit home and reach into the readers' heart and touch that cord that will send a deep, meaningful, lasting thrum through their soul.
And really, for me, that's what it's all about. That's what motivates me to keep pressing on, keep writing, keep creating characters who will share their story, their faith.
Question: At what point does faith in fiction turn you off? How much is too much?