Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The "Christian Writer" Label

This morning, I read this statement from Philip Yancey:
Primarily, I write books that do focus on my faith. I’ve tried writing other kinds of books, but they always feel like they’re leaving out something important to me. So maybe I am a “Christian writer.”
These days, it seems that whether you're a writer, a musician, or anything creative, it's not okay to identify yourself as a "Christian ________." It's much more appropriate to say "I am a Christian who writes," or "I'm a Christian who plays guitar" or whatever. There's even that famous C. S. Lewis quote,
The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature.
I wholeheartedly agree, and I'm sure Yancey would as well. But it's only fair to remember that Lewis was writing in a different age. The cultural struggles we face today are different than those of Lewis' day. While it may seem more authentic or trendy not to want to be boxed in with the label, "Christian," it's also an easy cop-out.

Like Yancey, I've tried writing about other things, but it always feels like I'm leaving out the most important part of the story. And I'm okay with that. After all, shouldn't we as Christians be developing eyes that see the world as God's sees it?

I don't think the problem is that we're so focused on eternal matters, we're just not connecting with people. I think it's just the opposite; we don't spend enough time contemplating the things that are most important to God. And I have no fear that writing through the lens of faith will limit my subject matter. It does just the opposite; it opens it up.

Pardon my rant, but I'm happy to be a "Christian writer" as well, in whatever small capacity I can be. If I ever cease to be, I think I'll have forgotten the most important parts of life, and I don't think anything I write at that point will be worth reading.


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