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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Faith 'n Fiction Saturdays ~ Segregation

Today's question is inspired by a conversation Lilly started over at Book Blogs. What do you think about labeling books as Christian fiction? As you know, the range of spiritual content in Christian books varies tremendously. Some books barely even mention God while others use a lot of Scripture. Do you think Christian fiction books should be in a separate section of the bookstore or library? Do you think this limits who might read these books? Do you have any idea of how they could be arranged differently? And a little off topic but do you have a preference about whether or not books have a lot of spiritual content or only a little?

I like that there is designated "Christian Fiction" books and that it has it's own section in the book stores. You can't always tell by reading the back cover what kind of language and scenes will be inside the pages and I like knowing that with Christian fiction there will be no surprise profanity or sex scenes.

I'm sure it does limit who might read these books, and it'd be great if a non-Christian could pick up a Christian book mixed in with general market and find that they actually liked it and want to read more. Some people steer clear of the Christian fiction section and don't know what they are missing because of stereotype (they think it's preachy and boring).

I'm not sure how they could be arranged differently, but in our small town library they are mixed in with the general market. There is no separate Christian fiction section and I like that, too, since it's a small library and doesn't have a huge selection to wade through. Karen Kingsbury is right next to Stephen King!

Sometimes I do care if books have a lot or little spiritual content. I don't care for the preachy books; they turn me off. I actually like the books with a little more subtle Christian theme (but where the character(s) grow in their faith or find salvation) than ones that go on and on and start to feel like a sermon. I mean, if a Christian is reading it, it's preaching to the choir. If a non-Christian is reading it there is a fine line of getting the message to them and it becoming overbearing or possibly condemning. I like books where the situation and resolution speak for itself and the message is in the story and you're allowed to discover the message on your own rather than ones that tell you flat out what the character learned.

Check out more responses over at My Friend Amy. To join in, just post your answer on your blog then add the link to Amy's post.


  1. I agree. I don't care for preachy books. Subtle is best.

  2. I agree, I don't like real preachy books either, nice answers.


  3. Ditto. I don't care of preachy books and like knowing I will not be surprised by explicit content.

  4. Well I think there is a place for preachy books, but they should be separated and designated as such. And no, the "fiction" category books should not be preachy. Secular folks don't like that, and we can't "preach" the love of Christ to them - draw them in with a good story with subtle but strong Christian themes and messages.

    Good post and answer! Mine is at:

  5. I agree about the preachy books. I think that's why lots of nonChristians never pick up these books. THey're afraid they will be that way.

  6. Good answer! Better writing means that the reader must discover the message for himself.

  7. Always great answers. I agree about the preachy books too. I think that the best way is to show me the characters are behaving like Christians. Show their walk.
    About the Christian book sections...I had a friend who avoided them because he was afraid he would be witnessed to. To be honest that actually happened to me several times when I was in a Borders back in the day. I didn't mind. I was a Christian afterall. I don't think that is the norm, but it did seem to be for this particular store. :)

  8. I just feel there are some books that should be getting a much bigger audience and aren't b/c they are limited by the Christian fiction label. I don't know a solution for it either, though.