Listening to Tim Downs, the ACFW keynote speaker, was definitely a conference highlight. During one of his talks, he discussed the concept of Christian fiction. Like, what is it exactly?
I bet if you asked a hundred different authors in the CBA this question: What is Christian fiction? You’d get a hundred different answers, ranging from “stories written by Christian authors” to “stories with the message of salvation”. Some insist Christian fiction must be “clean”, while others insist there’s room for “some grit”. The answers run the gamut.
The point of Tim’s message wasn’t to give us a definition, but to make us think.
He brought up a certain analogy that stuck with me. I’d like to share it here.
He talked about Easter egg hunts. How when his children were really young, he and his wife would “hide” eggs in plain sight. Like, right on top of the grass and for extra measure, they’d stand by the eggs and sort of shuffle their feet and make gestures, just to make sure their toddler would find it. But as their children grew older, he and his wife had to get better and better at hiding the eggs. In fact, if they didn’t hide the eggs really well, their kids would lose interest. They got so good at hiding eggs that weeks after Easter, they’d catch their children still looking for them.
Do you see the analogy?
Some Christian writers put the egg on the grass. Others like to hide it. I’ve seen the two sides argue. Take up arms about what which type is better. And each time, I sense this unspoken pride lurking in the shadows. Tim didn’t want us to take sides. He only wanted us to consider this: In the wide world of Christian fiction, isn’t there room for both?
Questions to Ponder: What is Christian fiction to you? Do you read it? Do you write it? Do you think we should hide the egg, or leave it in plain sight?