The post above had some great ideas about being a Christian writer. (Please read the the above link!) And while I agree that God did indeed give us our gifts and passions and that we should not be afraid to proclaim Him boldly, I think we also have to realize that the very name of God can send some people running in the opposite direction.
There are many who will start reading the back of a book, see the words “Jesus” and “Christianity” listed two times too many, and put down the book without even opening it. I don’t say that to be discouraging, I say it because I think there is a need for books that illustrate Christianity without frightening people off. It may be the only way to reach out and pull in this vast group of un-engaged people who would not otherwise read a Christian book.
If you dedicate your heart and soul to declaring Jesus with every word you write, you will be unable to avoid proclaiming Him, no matter how you choose to do so. But if you are seeking to engage non-Christian audiences, writing and labeling a book as “Christian” can be a tricky business. It will certainly narrow your readership.
There are ways around this, however. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are two of the best examples. Both writers produced epic, thrilling stories full of Christian themes, symbolism, and references; their novels are also among the most well-loved and well-read in the world. I would consider the Chronicles of Narnia to be a bold declaration of Christianity, yet it is written in an accessible way that is easy to follow and doesn’t push away people who are un-receptive or ignorant of God’s love. Rather, it pulls them in using imagery that they can understand and relate to – possibly more so because they don’t have their armor up in rigid self-defense. They are gently being assailed with love in a way that will compel and attract them, not push them away.
Both authors were unapologetic Christians, but they also understood that to get their message across, they would have to relate to the people they were targeting. Not everyone is open to hearing the message of Christianity. Having it thrust in their faces when they are dead set against it could easily make them more stubborn. Instead, writing something with deep, powerful and underlying themes that reflects the truth could be the way into their hardened hearts. At the least, it may only plant a tiny seed. But that seed can grow roots and become a mighty tree.
I don’t mean that a novel with an outright gospel declaration can’t do the same thing. God can use anything we lay at His feet. I firmly believe that. But I also believe we can’t put God in a box and spell things out simply to make something more effective. Jesus Himself spoke in parables, rather than plain truths, when teaching us about the Father’s love. Therefore, I believe that in the same way, He can use our imagery to relay His powerful truth all over the world. Even to the most unwilling ears.