Our Responsibility as Writers by Kathi Macias

I’ve been at this “arranging words on paper” thing for many years–decades actually–so I’m not surprised when someone asks me why I write the type of books I do, as I’ve heard the question many times before. But I also know that some of them are actually asking me (without saying the words) why I write Christian books, rather than secular ones.

Okay, at the risk of stating the obvious, I have to say that I write Christian books because…well, because I’m a Christian. Therefore, I see the world through Christian eyes. My faith is not a pocket or slot in my life’s briefcase, reserved for Sunday service. It’s the whole thing, all of it, part and parcel of who I am and, most important, Who created me that way.

Now I understand that you can be a Christian (a devout one, at that) and work in the secular publishing world. (I have done that, as a matter of fact.) I don’t believe, however, that you can write from a secular worldview without being disturbed and even grieved in your spirit. As believers, we know Truth; how, then, can we deny it by using our God-given talents to teach otherwise?

Yes, I know. That’s controversial at best, and I certainly don’t mean it to be critical. As I said, a Christian can write/work in secular publishing, but let me clarify that statement. If a Christian truly feels called of God to write, for instance, for a newspaper, and that writing entails reporting the news, then by all means, shine your light in the darkness and honor God with every word you write. If you know God has called you to write clean, wholesome entertainment (books, movies, etc.) that aren’t necessarily overtly Christian, then do it with gusto. But if the writing involves promoting an ungodly lifestyle and/or way of thinking, I don’t see how a true believer can, in good conscience, accept a paycheck for such employment.

Now that I’ve opened up a real can of worms here, let’s explore this topic a bit more. I’m interested in hearing from other writers, but even more so from readers. What do you think, fellow lovers of words?

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About alandkathi66

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, married to my junior/senior high school sweetheart, Al. I am the author of 40 books, with several more in process. I enjoy speaking and teaching at writers' conferences and women's events, and I am passionate about supporting the persecuted Church and fighting human trafficking. I also serve as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions for Elk Lake Publishing. My most recent releases are The Singing Quilt (March 2014); The 40-Day Devotional Challenge (January 2014); The Doctor's Christmas Quilt (October 2013).
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6 Responses to Our Responsibility as Writers by Kathi Macias

  1. Maureen Lang says:

    I’m so glad you opened this can, Kathi! The topic of reading a variety of books has been on my mind lately because of a book club I belong to. We often read books I never would have chosen, and yet I’ve been both challenged and even blessed by some of the choices. The fact is, though, some of the books do offend my faith. Personally, I wouldn’t write something that’s outside my faith but at this point in my Christian walk I can read books that don’t follow my beliefs. I know what I believe and can recognize where we differ, and so I’m not swayed.

    As a writer, I applaud those who want to shine a light in the secular world, but would be concerned if they had to compromise their beliefs in order to get into that secular world. Quality should rise to the top whether it’s overtly Christian or not, but most stories that make us think do come with an agenda. Our worldview comes with an agenda, I think – it’s either blatant or subtle.

    I’ll be blogging on books from a reader’s point of view right here on Wednesday!

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  2. vickihinze says:

    Kathi, I’m glad you did, too. I’ve written in both the Christian and secular market, and who knows in the future? While there are things in one I wouldn’t write in the other, they both have strong healing messages. Some of my general market books are going to be reissued soon. This has been on my mind a lot because of that. I’ve read books written by priests that are more secular and gritty, if you know what I mean, and it came to me that he’s going to where people are to reach them with what is ultimately a positive and constructive message. I dare to hope that my secular books are uplifting and encouraging, too.

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  3. Thanks, Maureen and Vicki. I too have done some writing in non-Christian venues, but God always enabled me to find a way to do so from a Christian worldview–and for me, that made all the difference. Blessings!

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  4. Jay Lowder says:

    Hmm…my mind is going back and forth on this, not so much from “am I compromising my faith” but in a “what does one’s finished art really say?” Let me put it this way: shouldn’t Christian artists be creating such stellar art that it naturally rises to the top of the general market? Aren’t we to “take our light” into the world? When I was in the music business in Nashville, I worked in the CCM side for some years and ended up in the Country Music portion for the remainder of my career. Without slamming CCM, my true ministry occurred when I was in Country Music. Did I have to be wise when touring? Yes. Were we around some shady characters and fans? Absolutely. But we know we had an impact, not just musically, but during & after the concerts. And to this I give God the glory.

    I suppose I look at writing much the same way. My current fantasy series (www.warofwhispers) was written to express my crisis of faith but in a way that would appeal to someone outside of the church. I’m not implying I used profanity, sexuality, or graphic violence to do this, so to Kathi’s point, I did adhere to Biblical principles. But it does have a dark element to the story that I feel is necessary to contrast with the light. And based upon some emails from fans that are not church goers, they not only liked the book and want Book II, but realize I’m a Christian and don’t feel “threatened” or “preached” at. Hope this makes sense…

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    • alandkathi66 says:

      Absolutely this makes sense, Jay, and it’s exactly what I was trying to say (but must not have done a very good job of it). My books are dark too–the most recent dealing with human trafficking–and I too look to get these books into the hands of unbelievers and not just Christians. It isn’t so much WHAT we write as the viewpoint we write in/through. If our purpose it to “take light” into the world, then we are approaching our writing from a Christian worldview. Your fantasy series deals with your crisis of faith–sounds as if it’s filtered through a Christian worldview as well.

      I’m loving this conversation. Thank you all for participating!

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  5. juliearduini says:

    This is such a timely post. My reading is probably 98% Christian. I’m receiving requests from secular writers asking if I would read their published work for review and at first I wanted to decline. I prayed about it and take it on a book by book basis.

    One book wasn’t what I would normally choose but the writing is strong and their marketing skills are masterful. I love that when they introduce themselves they can see by visiting my site what I stand for and that their work is different. When I do those reviews I just mark at the bottom that I realize a lot of my readers might be offended by language and give them a caveat that this book includes such things. In these instances I’ve broadened my horizons without compromising who I am in Christ, and I pray I’ve spread a little light along the way.

    One of my favorite reads last year was by actress Alison Arngrim from Little House on the Prairie. She is a straight shooter and my guess is we have little in common besides the shared love of a beloved series. I found her book telling and fascinating, I was very moved by her authenticity even though again, it wasn’t in the Christian shelves. I learned a lot with her book.

    Great post, Kathi!

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