Why Write Christian Inspirational Fiction?
A guest post by Rita Gerlach
Not long ago I read one of the best definitions of Christian fiction from the ‘The Calling of Christian Writers’ by Richard Doster. Doster wrote, “Christian fiction”—the books we find in the back of the bookstore—often edify and inspire us. And just as we need composers to create hymns, the church needs writers —novelists and theologians alike—to build up the body, to enhance our worship, to delight us with stories that exemplify the truths of the Christian faith.
Still—it may be time to confess that we’ve left literature in the hands of those who have no hope to offer. It might be time to reconsider our neighbors and their need to make sense of the world; their need for books, poems, and short stories that probe life’s mystery, that offer hope without flinching from the Fall’s consequences, that don’t—by their sentimentality—mock our true state, or the price that was paid for the world’s redemption.’
I could not agree more. Christian fiction should be a balm of healing against the kind of secular fiction that seeks to glorify the flesh and bring hopelessness to a hopeless world. Writing inspirational fiction is a calling to draw readers back to the Creator, opposed to away from Him, through stories that show the struggles people face, their journeys through heartbreaks and heartaches, to understanding and healing. It is to remind them of His love and forgiveness, how He works in others to bring us to that place, and that it is not by our own strength alone we overcome adversity.
The question is can a Christian author achieve this by writing for a secular audience, by moving out of the CBA box to reach those who may not necessarily read Christian fiction? Can our calling be two-fold, both to the believer and unbeliever? Most certainly it can, through excellence in storytelling without preaching a sermon. We are to be salt and light to the world. It may not solely be through a book you wrote that reaches a reader to Christ, or brings comfort to the believer, but by the connection they might make with you.
When I first had the idea of writing The Daughters of the Potomac, I knew I wanted to bring to the forefront three stories that merged with each other, where the characters’ choices impacted the others’. Before the Scarlet Dawn, Beside Two Rivers, and Beyond the Valley, are stories of love being tested by prejudice, tragedy, rejection, and extreme hardship in a time when class boundaries ruled. Each story takes place in a turbulent time in history—the American Revolution and post-Revolution eras—about the search for truth and acceptance.
A woman wrote to me recently and said, ‘your books have brought me much joy.’ I was surprised by this, seeing the stories are rife with hardship. But as I pondered her statement, I realized the joy came from the characters’ finding the truth and forgiving those that hurt them. Another wrote, ‘When I finished reading the book at 2am, all I could do was go kiss my babies asleep across the hall!’ This was after she had read Before the Scarlet Dawn. No doubt the story caused her to be thankful for her children.
Having experienced loss and rejection in my own life, I wanted to delve into these struggles through my character’s in order to help those that read these stories know they are not alone in their personal struggle. Our Lord is always with us. Times have changed since the 1700s, but still there is nothing new under the sun, and God changes not.
To read the Mr. Doster’s full article go to: http://byfaithonline.com/the-calling-of-christian-writers/
Rita Gerlach writes inspirational historical fiction with a romantic bent, with unique settings in both America and England. She lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland.
Her most recent titles have gained rave reviews, the latest being Beyond the Valley. Visit her website at RitaGerlach.blogspot.com and her blog ‘InSpire’ to learn more about her novels, see her photographs of the scenes in her books, and more.
Beyond the Valley: Daughters of the Potomac
When Sarah Carr’s husband Jamie drowns, her young life is shattered and takes a turn that she never expected. Pregnant and widowed, she reaches out to Jamie’s family for help, but they are unwilling. Instead they devise a plan to have her kidnapped through deception and taken to the Colonies to live a life of servitude.
In Virginia, Sarah is auctioned to a kindly gentleman to serve his eccentric wife. After she meets Dr. Alex Hutton, and is loaned to him to help with his orphaned nieces, hope comes alive he will find a way to free her. But when The Woodhouses go bankrupt and sell off all they own, Sarah is sent away. She faces hardships in the wilderness, and is soon surrounded by a family’s whirlwind of secrets, praying the young doctor she loves will find her again and bring her freedom.