Faith, for the Creatives

Being a Christian writing really nonchristian work

Though my faith is important to me, my work doesn’t fit into the rules of that genre. If you’ve read books from the Christian market, you probably picked up on that 😉 Sorry, but my murderous psychopath protagonist isn’t gonna go to church and convert.

And yet, if you stick around long enough, you may hear about my faith on my blog and social media. It doesn’t make sense for marketing or branding purposes, I know. But here’s a peek behind the curtain of why. (Note: it’s not some sort of cheesy “hide it under a bushel” answer either.)

The problem:

There’s this perception within pockets of Christianity that if your art isn’t explicitly Christian in theme – if you’re not painting pictures of Jesus or writing Scripture on your artwork, if you’re not singing worship songs or at least angsty churchy themes, if you’re not writing clean Christian-themed books that wrap everything up in a tidy Jesus-saves-the-day bow – then you’re not using your gifts for God.

What further perpetuates that mindset is that it’s hard to find Christians who are doing their art in the general marketplace, not because they’re not there, but because their websites understandably don’t scream “Christian alert!”. It’s arguably easy to connect with artists in the marketplace. And it’s relatively easy to find Christian artists making Christian art. However, it’s hard to find Christian artists in the secular market. Their faith is not their branding, so they’re inconspicuous.

A solution…?

Kiera Cass was one of the first writers I found who has nothing to do with the Christian market but still mentions her faith. Matt Tommey and Alex Marestaing have both spoken at Karitos Christian Arts Conference about believers working in the secular market instead of separating ourselves into this Christian bubble. And I recently finished a book by Marlita Hill about “represent[ing] the Kingdom while…making ‘that kind’ of art,” (that’s an affiliate link, I may receive a portion of sales through that link). The book is an encouraging and hopeful book for this weirdly taboo topic in Christian circles. One day, I want to be what those people have been to me, an example to some artist who wonders if they can create nonchristian work and still honor their faith and their God.

I’m still learning how my faith plays into my writing. What I do know is: There’s not the Christian Amy and the writer Amy. It’s not two separate Amys, two separate lives; all pieces of me are intermingled. My writing, and my faith, together. They play into each other, perhaps in subtle ways rather than overt. If you look really closely, you just might see my faith as you read about my murderous psychopath protagonist. And when you look at faith really closely, it may not tie into the way you envision a Jesus-saves-the-day bow. It doesn’t always look like a good story, but it could still be a good story.

5 thoughts on “Being a Christian writing really nonchristian work”

    1. Yes, exactly. The genre of Christian writing has its own rules to appeal to a certain subset of Christian readers, and writing within that genre doesn’t necessarily have to correlate with the author’s faith.

  1. Hi Amy,

    I’m with you sister, as a Christian writer who doesn’t write in a Christian genre. I’ve gotten several double takes at church as I casually mention my first book is ‘Zombie Turkeys’.

    But I enjoy being subversive. My MC in ZT is a Christian, but a pretty passive one (um, isn’t that the majority of Christians.) One of the few times he says ‘no’ to Lisa is when she tries to seduce him. He’s got some grit, but it’s deep down.

    My MC in Secret Supers is a non-Christian, very much like me at 12 in 7th grade. But he’s surrounded by Christian friends. I show them praying and mentioning God. But miracles don’t happen.

    My goal is to normalize Christianity for the casual reader, so that it’s a known, acceptable thing.

    But my non-fiction book, WIP, is the Gospel Medley. Very, very, Christian.

    Andy Zach

    1. Ahh yes, the _looks_ at church when you talk about zombies or when I talk about murder. It takes a special sort of churchgoer to understand hahaha 😀

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