Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Christian Artist (Erin--Personal Notes)

Many thanks to Hannah for bringing up the idea of Christian High Fantasy in her March 24 post. Her questions mirror conversations Christian artists have been having for a long time. One of the passages I have found most encouraging and helpful on Christian art come from none other than. . . you guessed it. . . Madeleine L'Engle.
L'Engle's article, "Story is Revelatory," in the book, Madeleine L'Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life, says:

Your point of view as a human being is going to come over in your work whether you know it or not. There's no way you can hide it. So if you are a Christian, your work is going to be Christian. There's no way you can hide that.  If you're not, you can talk about Jesus all you like and it's not going to be Christian. . .. (145)

I have found L'Engle's words very reassuring as I have been writing. I tend to write more by the seat of my pants, and I have found comfort in the knowledge that my faith will show through as I write, even if I don't plan a specific message or theme for a particular manuscript.

I agree with Hannah, who says "there are pros and cons to each approach." On the one hand, writers like C.S. Lewis planned out specific Christian allegories, and on the other, writers like J.R.R. Tolkein thought that story should embody Christian values, but without overtly stating them.

Do you have a preference when you read? What audiences can you imagine being receptive to which type of writing?

Leave a comment and let us know!



  1. Great post, Erin! I don't know that I have a preference. I love it when a Christian message is wrapped seamlessly into a page-turning story, but that's a tricky thing for writers to accomplish and messages that aren't specifically Christian can be equally powerful.

  2. Thought provoking. I love Madeline L'Engle and often agree with her -- no different this time.
    I find it frustrating when people read a book but complain it was "too Christian" for them just because the main character was Christian. Nobody complains if he's Buddhist or Jewish.
    It's difficult (at least for me) to weave a subtle Christian message into stories. But I know even though I read and enjoy Christian fiction, I enjoy the subtle messages more.


Please note that your comment hasn't gone through unless you see the notice: "Your comment will be visible after approval." We apologize for any difficulties posting comments or delays in moderation.