Wednesday, August 03, 2011

God's Media Army-Christian Fiction by Donald James Parker

Guest blogger Donald James Parker discusses the standard of Christian publishing.
I wrote a column in the Christian Online Fiction magazine dealing with self-publishing for about two years. Last month I decided to hang it up to pursue more pressing matters (hopefully movies/television) and gave notice when I turned in my last editorial. I just found out my final article will not be published. Since I spent several hours framing it, I decided I’d post it myself to various outlets. Buckle your seatbelt and read on.

If you are not aware of the tremendous warfare going on between the forces of good and evil for the minds of the people of planet Earth, especially the young people, pardon me for suggesting that you are living in a bubble. God might want you to pop that effervescent armor and realize that your efforts are needed as a soldier of the Lord who wields a pen as your weapon of choice. I might be out to brunch here, but it seems to me that the mainstream publishers have avoided rocking the boat by publishing materials that might be too radical, too edgy or excessively hardcore Christian.

As a result, the mainstream leaders often abandon the battlefield so they can generate a healthy profit by producing Amish assemble-by-number novels, detective stories without any cussing where the name of God may be mentioned in passing or one of the characters may utter a prayer, but not in the name of Jesus, and sentimental romances where courting is dressed up in Christian clothes and language but below the surface still reeks of worldly focus on external glamour, materialism, and shallow sentimentality that masquerades as love. So exactly what do these observations mean to a self-published author? It means that there is a niche to fill. Since you don’t have publishers to please and agents to feed, you can do God’s work unimpeded by the external forces that put people and their work into boxes of diminutive size. You have the luxury of being free to go where God wants you to go–if you have the courage to enter the lion’s den and the strength to swim upstream against white water.

I have tried to champion the cause of self-published writers in this column. My goal has been to encourage, enlighten, and empower those who God has placed a seed within, so that the seed may germinate and mature into something lovely and inspirational. Unfortunately, I’ve been operating in a void here and have no clue if I’ve made any impact. Perhaps I won’t know until Heaven. What I do know is that my season of writing for Christian Fiction Online Magazine is coming to a close. The arrival of bills to be paid and writing deadlines to be met causes the calendar pages to fly off. There is nothing I can do about the bills, but one less deadline will give me more time to focus on projects that I feel are critical. It’s been wonderful to be a part of CFOM, but the curtain must close. Perhaps sometime I’ll resurrect my crusade to aid self-pubbed authors in their quest to fulfill God’s call in their life.

Statistics indicate that few people are actively engaged in the art of reading. Even a smaller percentage of those are seeking Christian fiction. My assessment is that if I really want to impact the culture, I must spend my time on things that will grab the attention of the masses. I believe the audio-visual media is the ticket to have the ability to grab someone by the scruff of their soul and unleash unknown desires and misunderstood emotions that lead people to question the shallowness of their human existence. Thus my new focus in life will be to write and produce movies that will combat evolution, the occult, the sexual revolution, injustice and any other crusade that God might add to my target list as my vision expands.

So I take my puny weapons, which hopefully God will endue with His power and move on to a new battlefield. I want to leave you with a plea to join God’s army. Use any talents He has given you to enhance His kingdom and not your own. Almost an entire generation of young people is lining up to enter the gates of Hell. What will you do to help God rescue some of them?

Note from Mary-My stand now, and as long as I have breath in me, is that when you market a book as Christian, the standard better be higher than mainstream. Unfortunately, that has become a label that gets used interchangably just like Historical or Suspense. Now, don't get me wrong. There are publishers that adhere to a standard and won't bend for the dollar. What I hate to see are the publishers that are so intent on courting the crossover audience that they will allow content in their novels that are not Christ-like. Yes, we need to be able to be relevent and some issues can be mentioned without being graphic. When you start giving details, in thought or action when it applies to a charactor, you have crossed the line.

For what it's worth, no matter what you (Donald James Parker) decide to do from here on out, I will stand with you shoulder to shoulder, bearing the weight of the fight to keep Christian standards in the media world authentic.

As the song lyrics say:
I'm not ashamed to let you know,
I want this light in me to show,
I'm not ashamed to speak the name,
of Jesus Christ.