Literature with Soul
Today’s literature reflects this practice by its division into “secular” and “religious.”
Exceptions exist, as in Marilynne Robinson’s novels (Gilead and Home) or in Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, but most general fiction today exhibits life without the presence of religious belief. Novels whose characters talk of God are likely shelved in the religious section of the bookstore. If religious figures are portrayed in secular literature, they may be presented as unbalanced or as benign but simple creatures.
Writers who are Christian may struggle with this division. For myself, I don’t think I set out to write “Christian fiction.” I’ve written since I was old enough to create stories because creation is fun. My characters usually are Christian because the Christian life is the one I know, but I think of my novels as “hybrids.” The plots involve settings more often found in “secular” literature: foreign affairs and global happenings. I write them for entertainment, mine and, hopefully, the readers.
Stories may present dilemmas in fictional form and lead us to see moral issues more clearly, but our storylines must be entertaining and not a sermon in fictional disguise. The Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor is reported to have said, “When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God's business.”