A question I’ve struggled with almost since the moment I knew I wanted to be a writer is, “As a Christian, am I obligated to write only Christian material?” Other questions stemming from this idea include: What are our limits in the realm of entertainment? What is right or wrong for a Christian to create in any type of art? Do I have some sort of responsibility to teach biblical principles in all my writings? Am I allowed to just write for the sake of fun entertainment? If we are to do all things to the glory of God, am I allowed to take any credit for my masterpieces?
This is an area that really held me back in my writing for a long time. For one thing, I never considered myself to be in any standing to “preach” to people; I just want to write because I enjoy putting together words, weaving tales, and creating characters.
Since Drew Hotchner, my protagonist in Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: the Middle-ish Ages, is modeled greatly after me and I grew up as a Christian, is it wrong that my book does not center around her Christianity? Honestly, I wanted to create a lighthearted book with identifiable issues for almost any young girl, and when I was Drew’s age, I didn’t really live a good Christian life. Drew isn’t a bad influence, but she isn’t making her own clothes at home school outings and preaching to her heathen friends. The book is clean because that was important to me.
I’ll do my best to answer my own sub-questions here in order to see if I can answer the main one, but the truth is, I’m not sure if most my answers are correct. You may disagree, and as long as you are nice about shaming me, you can even tell me where you think I’m wrong.
What are our (Christians) limits in the realm of entertainment? and What is right or wrong for a Christian to create in any type of art? These two are closely linked, so I’ll deal with them together. I certainly believe we must try to set good examples, but we also need to be real people. That whole idea that all Christians are hypocrites comes from us trying to puff ourselves up to perfection when the truth is that we struggle with right living every day ourselves. Showing we are trying but admitting we have vulnerabilities too is probably a good message to send, in all reality. Telling dirty jokes on a stage or stripping are good places to draw a line. We are not of this world, but we are living in it now, right? So, keeping it clean and not using it to judge others might be a good rule.
Do I have some sort of responsibility to teach biblical principles in all my writings? God gives us talents that He wants us to use to “further His kingdom.” So, I should probably use my writing in some way to get the Good News out there, right? And I do that sometimes right here on this blog. Not everything I write has a spiritual message, but some of it does. When I feel inspired, I write it. Closely related to that is:
Am I allowed to just write for the sake of fun entertainment? Again, if God has given me a writing talent, as a Christian I should probably try to see how I can use it to His glory, but I really don’t feel every single word I write has to be a bible lesson. But even secular entertainment often holds some biblical truths. Most Christians have jobs that keep them in secular settings, because they are regular people who need to make a living and not everyone is called to be a preacher. No matter what you do, whether it’s cleaning office buildings, putting out fires, cashing people’s checks at a bank, or being a lawyer (this one is more questionable though), you do it to the best of your ability and set an example. And that leads to the last sub-question:
If we are to do all things to the glory of God, am I allowed to take any credit for my masterpieces? I think we are not meant to brag about how great we are, but to give the thanks and credit to God for giving us the abilities we have. I do proclaim self-awesomeness from time to time, and that’s probably wrong. Of course, when I do I’m usually being silly anyway. I do not take compliments well (I respond to them so very awkwardly), and I don’t really know how to brag about myself seriously anyway.
Did all, or even any of this, work to help answer my original question, “As a Christian, am I obligated to write only Christian material?” I think so. As long as I remain open to writing what I feel inspired to write, I’m sure from time to time those inspirations will be leadings from God to write something to help others. And honestly, who is to say that Drew can’t be that vessel to teach others something good? We should use good judgment in our entertainment, but I truly believe God wanted us to have enjoyment in our lives. If not, He never would have given us bacon (if you are Jewish, replace bacon with chocolate- both are big loves of mine).