It was my first book that I had read by Julie Klassen and she instantly became a favorite. I loved how she took a very difficult subject (pregnant out of wedlock during the Edwardian times) and showed what God has done for those that repent and turn to Him.
She brought up some of the issues that I, as a young wife and mom, found within the Christian church– how we address the product of sin, and not the sin itself. It suddenly becomes a sin when there is a visible mark. Fornication isn’t a sin, until the woman becomes a mother. An emotional affair isn’t an issue until it becomes physical. With Klassen’s book, she took this taboo topic and turned it into a beautiful sermon without standing on a podium. It was a beautiful redemptive story.
Chautona Havig also came out with an amazing work, Not A Word. In this novel, Havig illustrates the damage done when image is more important than character, in the Christian circle. Again, Havig does a fabulous job illustrating the problem we create when we punish caught sin, rather than the sin. It was a wonderful book showing how our actions affect more than just ourselves and those we have sinned against. Again, another book that I really appreciate the author tackling a hard topic and doing it well and even pointing out that wrong actions have consequences.
Both examples I have shared here are from Christian writers and have done the task of writing about a topic that was very taboo in the Christian church without glorifying it, brushing it under a rug, or slapping a scarlet A on anyone. We know longer hold both parties responsible for wrong actions, but place the blame squarely on the child that resulted of the sin.
But there is something shifting in Christian fiction. No longer are any of these things being addressed. I recently read, A Haven For Her Heart, where our main protagonist opens up a home for unwed mothers. After dealing with her father kicking her out and placing her in jail for her sin, and dealing with a horrific birth, Olivia begins to provide a refuge for these unwed mothers where they can heal, have a safe place for their children, and hopefully hear the gospel of hope. But after reading the book, that I gave a high rating for, it dawned on me that we have a shift in Christian fiction.
Instead of it being taboo, its almost expected that you’ll read about it. The more I read these books, the more I am seeing how this is almost normalized by our Christian culture. More and more books have this indiscretion, if you will, but its just brushed aside. We love the sinner and hate the sin and move on. I am really concerned with this message and that our younger generation look at this now as, “well at least I have something good out of it, I got a kid.” We have shifted completely over.
There is nothing sacred anymore about relationships. We moon over each other within the first two days of meeting each other, deny our passions because to confront this would be unromantic, and then when we can’t control ourselves anymore, we’ll get married. Is it any wonder that no one is holding themselves pure before marriage? It use to be something you’d expect in the world in their books and media, but its stealthily creeping into the church. We may not condone it, but we are not addressing this outside of a youth retreat with a promise sealed with a purity ring (and don’t get me started on the biblical issues I have with that!).
Authors! I know this is something happening within our church. No one blames anyone for calling out adultery or pornography, but its not old fashion and out of date to want to keep what we are writing– to the glory of our Lord Jesus– the Bridegroom to the Church, His bride, at a higher standard! When you sinned, you took the consequences of that sin. We may not stone you and your family anymore, but you will still bare the consequences. The church, friends, and family may even had some barriers and boundaries so that you have support NOT to fall into temptation again.
Authors, its ok to have these in books. Raise the bar. This is Christ and His kingdom we are talking about! Christianity is a journey to make us holier! It is not about bringing the bar lower and lower so we don’t cause ripples.
We hate being different, unless, perhaps, it makes us look like a martyr, but we are! We’re suppose to be different. Its hard! But the Christian walk IS GOING TO BE HARD! We were never promised anything else. Sorry! Let’s make our literature different. Lets raise the standard once again. Let’s not write romance novels baptized in a Christian label.