“[Charles Dickens] was quoted saying: ‘Depictions of cruelty and viciousness must be allowed. Though darkness must be part of a story, the darkness shall not overwhelm. But if the dark is not truthfully dark, the light cannot be truthfully light.’ If anything nails what edgy means, that says it for me,” says J.Z.
Click to read more of this interview where J.Z. discusses what makes Edgy Christian Fiction “edgy,” why it’s needed, and how it’s not really a new phenomenon.
The vast majority of Christians around the globe believe they have the greatest message of all time for all humankind. But a recent survey reports that Christian books, movies, music, TV and radio are doing a poor job of reaching the secular masses — a full 65 to 75 percent of Americans with no religious affiliation or who don’t attend church never hear, never watch, and never read that message.
What’s going on? According to survey findings presented by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)/LifeWay Research poll* at the NRB national convention in Nashville, February 25th:
- 67 % of Americans rarely or never watch Christian television,
- 72 % rarely or never listen to Christian radio or music, and
- 65 % rarely or never read Christian books.
Ouch! That last statistic smarts for an author like myself who aims to reach a wide range of readers with stories that portray redemptive themes and Christian characters living out their faith in secular society. When I sit down to write edgy Christian fiction — my attempt to bridge this gap — my goal is to reach both camps of readers, the secular individual who is open to spiritually
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What do I mean when I say that I write Edgy Christian Fiction?
Basically, it means that I identify with the people who live in this fallen world and with humanity’s redemptive struggle. As an author and as a human being I seek to engage with the world rather than to separate from it, to associate with a wide variety of folks rather than to avoid interacting with them.
So, if you go looking for my books in a Christian bookstore, you won’t find them there. That’s because the novels in those bookshelves are written from a different mindset, one of “safety first” that sees the world as impure and riddled with temptations, and therefore a place to be avoided and shunned (even to hide from). Please know that I don’t like violence or foul language or perversion or depravity even though, like you, I live in a world of profanity, crime, addictions, abusive relationships and flat-out evil. My characters fight against temptation, act selfishly at times, make love with their clothes off, and struggle to use their faith to mold their decisions and behavior.
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