Christian Literature, writing which compromises neither its literary quality nor its ability to point us Christwards—is a holy grail for those of us who are both Christians and writers.
Lewis created it, and Tolkein, and Bunyan.
I read Shadowmancer by G.P. Taylor to Irene, then 8 and she was gripped by it. I heard him Taylor at New Wine, and he is a charming and hilarious speaker.
Shadowmancer is well-constructed, certainly, by traditional rules. Each chapter has a gripping climax, and you end it with your heart in your throat. Irene can hardly bear for a chapter to end. All the same, though the blurb calls it children’s fiction, children’s fiction it most certainly is not.
There is a sense of evil, casual cruelty, menace, and threat that disturbs me. The fate of noble Raphah, the Christ-figure is almost too painful. What I do like a lot, even though it is overt, is the casual quotation from Scripture. Taylor has evidently immersed himself in it, which not all Anglican vicars, I daresay, have and it spills forth, soothing the soul.
Good Christian fiction I can recommend includes Marilynne Robinson’s “Gilead.” She has a good man, a truly good man, as a protagonist, Reverend Ames. Not an over-wound, passionate Christian, he is probably a Christian with a small c, but the goodness of the gospel has soaked through him, He is decent, trustworthy, someone for whom it would be an effort to behave badly. Christianity is so woven into the fabric of his life that is what he is– a Christian almost without any overt effort on his part, an “anima naturaliter Christiana.” A naturally Christian soul!
“Peace like a River” by Leif Enger has another kind of Christian as a protagonist. Jeremiah Land, like Reverend Ames is someone whose first reaction is to pray (as it is increasingly becoming mine). When his hothead son murders bullies who abused his little sister, we see Jeremiah deep in prayer. Land is someone who experiences miracles as a second language. Peace like a River is a startling, and successful attempt to bring the miraculous into the realm and discourse of contemporary fiction.