On being “edgy”
This post got me going. wow. Like a mosquito at a nude beach, I’m not sure where to begin.
I sure as hell hope Christianity isn’t the same as being a Republican. Christianity is a spiritual, an eternal position, not a temporary political label. It’s an epic fail of perspective and proportion to bring faith down to that level.
Put aside for a moment the fact that a craft person – Christian or otherwise – is called to create quality work that is true to itself. Writing that is well-wrought is nearer to God than pious trash.
To assert that faith in fiction is marred by edgy content is a delusion of the highest order. Real life is far uglier than anything we can scribble down, yet God redeems people out of it. Despite it. Because of it. The notion that the presentation must be safe and sanitized before it can be effective is laughable. It’s the equivalent of a preacher asserting that so long as he never preaches on sin, people will come to Christ in droves. God coming as a man to our broken world to meet us at our wretched point of sin is exactly what Christianity is.
I submit that specific genres, specific markets, and specific mediums have their own inherent requirements. It would be ham-fisted and false to impose the requisites of one onto another. A novel isn’t a sermon. Neither is a painting, a sculpture, a symphony. They’re different animals altogether. You have to assess each one’s purpose, capabilities and goals.
I include what might be considered ‘edgy’ content out of a recognition and respect for the type of story I’m writing and the intended audience. As clumsy as my results as, I’m aiming for consistent not contrived material. I construct my stories, but I’m not out to manipulate my readers. Stealing from John Stott, we must cater to people’s integrity and not pander to their arrogance.
Of course I want to see others come to faith. Of course I strive to walk carefully and prayerfully before God in all my conduct. My writing has an implicit Christian worldview because that’s what I am. However, my writing isn’t for believers who want sanitized entertainment in the same way my glass work isn’t for people who like want butterfly suncatchers.