Guest Post by Lucia Mudgway
The question for every serious Christian writer should be…where does one draw the line between Christianity and Commercialism? Is the lure of money enough to make us want to throw in our values, integrity and love of Christ to produce a popular money making secular novel fit for an audience who want to digest and consume stories of lust, greed and the perverse side of our human condition glorified to create a best seller?
Of course for Christians, the answer has to be No. We cannot represent our faith and all it stands for by glorifying humanity in all its fallen states, unless we glorify God first, and show that our fallen human nature is something still precious to God…so precious that He gave His life for it.
Thus, as writers who are co-creators with Christ, according to Madeleine D’Engle, it is our God given responsibility to serve God and glorify Him in our work. We need to articulate the human condition in the concept that it truly is. The truth is we are all children of God and we need to be reminded that without the connection to our Father we end up living lives that feel empty, lost and somehow meaningless. Often this leads to a desire for the things that harm us as we search for truth in all the wrong places. We can easily be led astray and end up making bad life style choices such as choosing the wrong people in our lives, the wrong books to read, the wrong movies to watch, and the wrong inspirations in life towards money and power instead of humility and trust. I say wrong in the context that it is wrong for humans when that decision brings harm and a negative impact on the mind and body leading away from the spirituality we are all born with.
Although there are good books available written by Christian authors, it appears that there is an over-abundance of commercial literature written with the sole purpose of selling to popular mainstream audiences. It’s all about money. Show me the money! Quite often this kind of literature lacks spiritual depth and meaning to its work, but the secular world has been programmed to accept and desire literature that focuses on explicit sex, adultery, and other worldly issues that give society a superficial and shallow view of reality. This is often the recipe for selling popular books…the commercial recipe for attracting the reader who desires to read something that I can only describe as literary prostitution and vicarious sin. Unfortunately, many people today relate better to a soap opera or a racy fiction novel than something that is well written and faith- informed.
Throughout history, there has been nothing more exciting than a story that has depth and reveals biblical imagery and religious themes within its work. Our most interesting stories come from the Bible and still inspire the Christian heart to correspond with love to creating new stories from the memories of the old. However, the Christian writer often struggles to find an audience as large as a commercial writer today, and many books on the best sellers list are more often than not, stories that shy away from any kind of spiritual themes or religious beliefs.
It is indicative of our times just how far removed the human condition has become from our spiritual beginnings. I was not surprised to hear that a new movie “The Case for Christ” will only be appearing in a few cinemas in Australia and not all of them as is the case with other Hollywood movies which have popular street appeal and advertising. The advertisements for the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” were non-stop attracting large crowds of viewers, unlike the non-existent media attention for “The Case for Christ.”
Regardless of this, we as Christian writers need to become more like C. S. Lewis and keep believing that our stories are precious and valuable to a society that is becoming more and more morally bankrupt. We need to nourish the masses with words given to us by God when we write our stories…stories inspired by God Himself.
Thus the case for Christianity or Commercialism makes me more and more aware that there is a great need in this world for more Christian writers, more Christian thinkers and more Christian films so that we can bring Society back to where it rightly belongs, and where we find ultimate joy and fulfilment as human beings…in relationship with our Maker.