In a recent interview, I was asked “How and Why does Christian fiction fall short in addressing topics such as mental health, racial inequity, domestic violence, sexual abuse, etc.?” I was somewhat taken aback, especially since the topic was Redeeming Love. It also felt like one of those “when did you stop beating your dog” questions. When the interview was printed in the magazine, I wasn’t surprised that my answer didn’t make the press. Perhaps it had to do with limited space or the length of my answer. But I feel it’s important to share what I had to say. So, here is my response:
Far from falling short, Christian fiction has addressed issues the general market saves for non-fiction. A writer friend came up with dozens of books on serious topics; abortion, dementia, infertility, aging, terminal illness, child abuse, mental illness, suicide, body image, euthanasia, homosexuality, alcoholism, codependency, drug abuse, immigration, racial conflict, homelessness, and the list goes on. I’ve dealt with a number of those issues in my novels. There isn’t a topic Christian writers won’t address. There are issues now that will undoubtedly be addressed in future novels: censorship and the cancel culture. Unfortunately, some books are being pulled out of stores because some sensitivity editors want to rewrite history. Doing so merely cheapens the true suffering people endured. It took immense courage to rise above circumstance, gain respect that is due, and become victors rather than victims.
That was a long answer and could be the reason it wasn’t included. But it’s important you know Christian writers are putting light on difficult topics and looking at these important issues through the perspective of truth and love.
Deborah Raney, a fine Christian writer, came up with a list of CBA novels that address social issues. If you are a reader looking for “issue” books, this will interest you. The list isn’t complete, of course. There are new novels coming out all the time, and some old ones that aren’t on the list. But here is the link if you’re interested: http://ow.ly/yBLy50EraeD
Here are just a few other books from writer friends who tackle difficult subjects:
Beyond the Shadows – Robin Lee Hatcher – alcoholism in a Christian home
Colors of Truth – Tamera Alexander – racial discrimination and social injustice
The Feathered Bone – Julie Cantrell – sex trafficking
Under the Magnolias – T.I. Lowe (soon to be released) – mental illness
Christian writers not only deal with all manner of issues; they pour God’s grace and hope into the stories. Life is messy and painful, but we have a God who can bring peace and joy beyond our understanding into our circumstances. If we trust Him. If we lean on and into Him. That’s the gift Christian fiction has to offer readers. Truth in love. Hope. And the grace to live life well in a fallen world.