David Meigs is a novelist with a background in youth outreach, specializing in ministry to at-risk youth and their families. Though his writing is enjoyed by all ages, his novels provide a unique, life-changing quality, critical for the youth of today. David and his family lives in Seabeck, Washington, where he serves his church as youth pastor.
Christian Fiction=A Mission?
By guest columnist Loree Lough
NOTE: On December 21st Dave Meigs home burned to the ground
and he and his family lost everything they owned. The parent
organization of this magazine, Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (CFBA)
has joined with Anne McDonald, the Northwestern Zone Director of
American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), to gather funds for the
Authors love to hear from their readers. Their comments on plot, character, and setting validate that our “life’s choice” was the right one. We even welcome letters that aren’t 100 percent flattering, because every point and question makes us better writers . . . if we’re smart enough to heed our readers’ insightful advice. But on rare occasions, we open an envelope containing criticism that’s anything but constructive.
Take the one I received from a guy who scanned my ShoutLife profile. Though he’d never read any of my books, he said my work—Christian fiction—isn’t just securing my own place in hell, but promises to drag thousands of readers into the fires of damnation as well. The only book worth reading, he stated, is the Good Book. Period.
I replied as gently as possible, pointing out to this fella that each of God’s children has a unique way of expressing love for Him. He knew I couldn’t travel the world to spread His Word, that I hadn’t been educated in theology, but our Lord understood that if I joined thousands of other faithful Christian authors, book writing could be my ministry.
Even before He puts stories into my heart and mind, He knows precisely which of His children need to hear the Christ-centered messages woven onto every page. Perhaps readers are hurting after the loss of a loved one, or worried over the loss of a job. Maybe they’re sick, lonely, afraid, even dying . . . and blaming God for their difficulties. As the characters come to life in the stories, as the men and women who “people” Christian novels overcome struggles through prayer and faith, readers recognize what can happen in their own lives . . . if they turn to the Almighty.
When people determine to harden their hearts against God, they’re tough to reach. Fire and brimstone sermons only add height and breadth to the walls they’ve built to separate themselves from the Lord, and self-righteous, judgmental missives only add to imagined “proof” that He doesn’t care about them or what they’re going through. The Bible, at that point, is the last book they’ll pick up.
But God knows them, intimately. He knows what and when they need to hear it, so He blessed all of us with varied and unique gifts. For some, it’s writing poetry, while others sing or paint or preach to glorify His name. My God-given gift, like my Christian fiction-writing contemporaries, is devising characters whose lives echo my readers’ lives. So the poems, songs, sermons, and stories He has called us to write can—and do—reach those who might otherwise be forever lost. What a plan. What a God!
Doesn’t matter if the Christian novel we read or write is romance, action-adventure, a legal thriller, or a historical Western. If our minds remain ever open and our hearts always listening, He will speak to us in amazing and wondrous ways . . . composed especially for us.
I wish the guy who wrote “the only worthwhile reading on earth is the Holy Bible” could read the letter I received from a twenty-year-old Pennsylvania girl. Her sister, aunt, mother, and grandmother all had been married and divorced two or three times apiece. “I figured I was headed for a dead-end relationship, too, until I read your stories.” This young woman “got” what the other letter writer didn’t: Through God, all
things are possible. She joined a friend’s church, met a nice Christian boy, finished college, and married him.
Then there was the woman whose life experiences pushed her from the path of righteousness, where she “committed just about every sin known to man.” In rehab, she found one of my books (featuring an alcoholic ex-soldier bent on torturing himself for mistakes made under the influence). “It wasn’t until he hit bottom,” she wrote, “that he turned to God. It changed his life, and it changed mine, too.”
Just two letters of thousands I (like every Christian writer) have received . . . black-and-white proof that Christian fiction reaches readers in ways only God can truly understand.
I challenge that guy to pick up a Christian novel and not find spirit-filled, faithful, Godly references throughout its pages, each representing a character’s struggle to overcome obstacles and live according to the Word . . .
. . . each proof-positive that Christian authors are on a mission of their own.
At last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 70 books, 59 short stories, and over 2,500 articles in print. Dubbed “edgy, heart-tugging adventures” by reviewers, her stories have earned dozens of “Readers’ Choice” and industry awards.
A frequent guest speaker for writers’ organizations, government agencies, book clubs, college and high school writing programs and more, Loree has encouraged thousands with her comedic approach to ‘learned-the-hard-way’ lessons about the craft, and 600 (and counting!) of her former students are now published authors.
Loree splits her time between an Allegheny Mountains cabin and a home in the Baltimore suburbs, and shares both with her husband and a formerly-abused, now-spoiled Pointer whose numerous vet visits inspired the nickname ‘Cash’. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. “And please,” she adds, “visit my blog (www.theloughdown.blogspot.com) and my soon-to-be-improved web site (http://www.loreelough.com) where, if you’re patient, you’ll hear some hauntingly beautiful music.”