I’ve read several interesting and well thought posts, concerning the boundaries and purposes of Christian fiction. The posts and comments that follow invariably divide, for the most part, into two schools of thought on the subject: 1) those who believe Christian fiction should follow strict guidelines and be very family oriented and safe, and 2) those who feel the parameters should be relaxed to include stories written from a Christian point of view that might expand the envelope by delving into areas of fantasy.

As a relatively recent born-again Christian, and, therefore, a new arrival in the Christian fiction market, I’ve found myself a bit confused by it all. I empathize with the reasoning behind both points of view. However, I must confess to leaning more toward the expanded envelope crowd. I’ve been a published author in the secular market since 2006, and I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to switch over to Christian fiction. I’ve always felt that I should use my skills, such as they are, in a positive way, but after my awakening the urge to take the writing further toward this goal increased dramatically. I’ve spent numerous hours praying about it. The message I keep receiving is that I should try to reach people, including those who have lost their faith, or never had it to begin with, and, the way I see it, in order to do that I would have to write outside the currently defined Christian market.

With this discussion, names such as C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L ‘ Engle, and J.R.R. Tolkien often come up as writers who are considered by some as Christian authors whose work falls outside the current guidelines of the genre, if that term can be appropriately applied here. I love Tolkien’s work, but I must admit it’s a stretch for me to think of it as Christian fiction. In his writing, good does triumph over evil. However, the same could be said about J.K. Rowling with her Harry Potter series, which leads to some interesting things I’ve run across.

Rowling’s first Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was based in part on the life of a real person.

More on this in the next post.