Sally Apokedek says:
I've never paid any attention to AA Christian fiction at all. Never looked for it, never thought about whether I'd like it or not.
I will say this, though. I bought a couple of books on the recommendation of a black friend. They were YA books written by am AA Christian author. I read the back of the books and didn't read the books. It didn't matter to me that the kids were black. It mattered to me that I thought the books were too culturally loaded to interest me. I don't buy white contemporary novels for the same reason. I don't like contemporary culture much.
I don't watch black culture movies. Whereas I love Will Smith in Enemy of the State and I Robot, I never watched some of the AA TV shows that seemed to be about the characters being black more than about some other topic with people who happened to be black.
It's the same with Christian books. I love Christians. But I don't want to read a book about Christians struggling with persecution so much as I'd like to read a novel about something else and the characters just happen to be Christian.
So if you write a novel with black or Christian characters I sure do hope to see them dealing with the novel conflict from their perspective. I want the black boy from the inner-city to act like the black boy from the inner-city, not like the white boy from the burbs. I want the Christian to act like a Christian and not like an atheist. But I don't want to read stories that are wholly about the black experience or the Christian experience.
I don't discount that AA people have had a tough time in this country in the past and still do, often. I don't discount the fact that it's a relevant struggle for them to deal with in novels. It's just not a struggle that I can relate to much.
That's kind of odd because I can relate to the Jewish struggle in Nazi Germany. Maybe that's the key--I would like to read books about slaves or about persecution--I loved Something the Lord Made, for instance--but I don't want to read books that are full of black humor and black inside jokes that I can't relate to, maybe. I feel excluded.
Hmmm I'm not sure. It's an interesting question. I have black friends and white friends and I married a Alaskan Native and have Native kids so I don't generally care about the color of someone's skin. But I do have a cultural comfort zone. I am not engaged in the conversation when my in-laws speak Yupik and I'm not engaged in books and movies that have a lot of black or Hispanic culture that I don't understand. *
Not sure what Christian literature is seeking to accomplish. Any story in any genre can offer moral guidance and advice along the guidelines of what the historical Jesus sought to accomplish.
Perhaps, the major publishers are pandering to writers and readers who will support anything by simply adding the word "Christian" to it.
In my humble opinion,there may be little no value to apply labels such as "Christian Lit" or "Muslin Lit" or "Jewish Lit" or "Hindu Lit" to our stories. People are people regardless of the faith they choose to follow. And, take away a few rituals and social aspects, most of the major religions are exactly same.
Let's be writers willing to open our minds and explore our basic humanness and not limit our literary creativity by tags or dogma.
That's all for now. More tomorrow.
*edited for length