I haven’t had many deep, introspective thoughts in quite some time. (Does this mean I’m getting better?)

Something’s been brewing though. I’d like to give it a shot, ease back into things.

This thought is about the word “Christian” as a modifier.

Christian writer
Christian music
Christian books
Christian artist
Christian horror (Egads! What’s that?!)

Modifier= A word, phrase, or clause that limits or qualifies the sense of another word or word group.

And so it has come to pass that I’ve figured out why I don’t like it as a modifier. It limits. Limits imply rules. Rules imply a maker of rules–and here’s where I have problems. I can handle, say, speed limits. Seat belt laws. Things that, for all intent and purpose, are for the common good of society.

But where does that fit in when we’re talking about this idea of “Christian fiction?” Heather Goodman said,

In an interview I posted yesterday (or was it the day before?), we decided that what people mean by “Christian novel” is it’s written by Christians, marketed by Christians, and bought by Christians, which means it may or may not have anything to do with the themes or theology in the book below a surface level.”

Heather also added that she didn’t like labels and surprised me by posting a Willie Nelson quote and video. “

“Labels were invented to sell the music. You had to know what to call it to sell it. So they called the blues the blues, and the jazz the jazz, and the bluegrass, gospel. But some music encompasses it all. So what do you call that? And that’s pretty much what I like to play.”–Willie Nelson

They’re saying the same thing. My take: labels exist for people who need rules. People who want to be kept. Kept what? I don’t know. For people who read “Christian” fiction, maybe they need to be kept safe. At least their version of safe. Because it can’t fully reconcile itself to Jesus.

Christian radio stations around here tout themselves as “family friendly” and “safe for the whole family.”

Since when is Jesus safe?

Strongtower. Yes. But, safe?

And check it out. Head on over to Blue Letter Bible and search the terms Jesus safe.

Sorry! The search criteria that you entered, Jesus safe, does not yield any results…

I wonder, then. How are authors limiting their fiction by subjecting themselves to modifiers that are inadequate? And yes, I’m fully aware that some people are comfortable within limitations. And some people are meant to break free.

Which are you?

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