Authentic Faith Writers

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It’s dangerous to do this, because everyone has their own concept of what exactly designates a “spiritually-centered, authentic, creative, Christian writer,” but I think it would be good to try to get down what exactly it is we’re looking for that we’re not being supplied currently in CBA. I want to bring some stellar examples into the spotlight. I collect them. I’ve already nominated a few people here and in the sidebars, but I want to hear from others. Who have you come across, especially in fiction, who really stands out as a forerunner in authentic Christian writing? (A good place to start might be with the excellent list of novels on Dave Long’s Faith in Fiction site that “join in the conversation of faith.”)

I just thought of something my favorite film professor in college said—not to evoke images of Mr. Antolini in Catcher in the Rye, but—when I asked him why it seemed actors and film directors were always saying someone was brilliant or “wonderful to work with.” He leaned back in his chair, folded his hands over his generous belly: “Hollywood people don’t say anything negative about anyone they might have the opportunity to exploit someday.” I loved that. You see why he was my favorite. Ever since, I’ve never been able to watch the Golden Globes or Oscars without throwing up in my mouth a little.

Fact is, there are some people who are better at things than others. And without being unkind or critical, it’s useful to point out the writers we’ve found helpful in our journey. This will help us move toward a fuller definition of what we could call “forward-thinking faith writers.”

Let’s hear some nominations.

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4 thoughts on “Authentic Faith Writers”

  1. Mick,
    I’m a little confused as to what you’re looking for. The list of novels at Dave’s site (btw, the link in your post didn’t work when I tried it) includes some works that I recognize as not Christian. In fact, Dave calls them “novels that join in the conversation of faith.” In your post you ask “who really stands out as a forerunner in authentic Christian writing?” These two, in my opinion are not the same thing at all. A Jew or Buddhist can engage in a “conversation of faith.” Such a conversation might have a great deal of significance, but I’m sure you agree that doesn’t make it authentically Christian.
    Leaving Dave Long’s list out of the equation, I surmise that you are asking for books we think are “on the right track.” In my genre, fantasy, I’d have to say Karen Hancock in her Guardian-King series: The Light of Eidon and The Shadow Within. For children, Bryan Davis with his newest book in the Dragons in Our Midst series, Circles of Seven (May release but advance copies available for reviewers).

  2. Ernest Gaines came to mind first. Obviously, Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, and Graham Greene rank high on most folks’ lists.
    Anne Lamott writes brilliant essays. Although her fiction does little for me.
    Leif Enger had a stellar debut. And of course I’m a fan of Brad Whittington and Lisa Samson.
    Although I know nothing of their faith system, I love guys like Richard Russo, Larry Brown, Tom Wolfe, Douglas Coupland – all purveyors of some truth and some beauty, if not THE truth.
    Great question, though.

  3. I’ll stick my Scottish neck out here and mention my old friend George MacDonald (or are we only speaking of living authors?)
    I haven’t read his fantasy, which is what people these days seem to focus on, but I think I’ve read all the other novels. I read the ones edited by Michael Phillips, which wasn’t necessary for me, since I grew up with a serious brogue-infused father.
    Now there’s a company in California reproducing all of MacDonald’s works in as close to their original look and feel–and language– as possible. These books form the basis of my current Wish List! Oh, yeah. I’m all about George…

  4. Daniel Defoe. I FINALLY read Moll Flanders, and if that’s not a book about redemption through Christ and second chances, nothing is.
    Jules Quincy Stephens

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