When I checked the Faith in Fiction message board today, I saw the "edgy" debate rages on again. It's an interesting discussion because it goes to the heart of who we are as Christian writers. My own thoughts on the subject are kind of fuzzy. I keep thinking of something from The Left Hand of Darkness (by Ursula LeGuin and one of my favorite books of all time) -- to oppose something is to uphold it, in an odd sort of way. The discussion continues to go in circles and never finds new ground. To debate what is acceptable material for a Christian writer seems to invite extremes of opinion. Those who urge restraint and those who argue freedom are still on the same road and we get nowhere. But Mark Bertrand said two things that seem to point to a different road, if he didn't keep getting drowned out:
"... but I am interested in writing honestly about God, man and the world, with as much faith to the complexities of our condition as I can muster."
And this about art and ideology:
"The Christian artist has to do more. He must bring ideas into an encounter with experience and produce something more (and of a different order) than ideology. This is imaginative, not instructive, work."
I doubt seriously that I have the skill as an artist to realize those goals, but I think it's what I dream of doing. The books that have affected me deeply have done so because they somehow give me a glimpse of God's truth (yes, even a secular writer such as LeGuin), they introduced me to ideas that opened my eyes and my mind. They were "imaginative, not instructive." And those stories have remained more vivid in my memory than many words uttered by teachers in countless classrooms. Something to think about.