Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Deep And Serious Blog Post

Okay, this week I’m going to be serious.
Deep and serious.
This is an important topic that deserves deep and serious contemplation.
What? Oh! Right! I’m awake!
Anyway I wanted to share a situation that came up that got me thinking (oh, you know how dangerous that can be). So I do what I always do and blog about it.
Another believer, who shall remain anonymous because everyone is entitled to their opinion whether it is mine or not, seemed to be of the opinion that it is not possible for Christian Fiction to be a ministry. Kind of a letdown for me because it soon became obvious during the course of the conversation that this person had never read any of my books (they seemed to think there were cats in them for some reason). Also one of the aims of my writing is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in an entertaining way.
I prayed about that, honest!
Now this is a sentiment that I have run across before. So what do you think? Is fiction just too frivolous or worldly to be of any use to God?
Here are two points that have been brought up to me, and I’m going to try to get in the logic of both sides even if I don’t agree with it. I’m sure there are plenty of others, but that would make this post really, really long and my attention span is limited. Here goes.
Fiction writers insist on being paid so it can’t be a ministry.
I don’t agree with this one at all. Christian non-fiction authors get paid, and the last time I checked my pastor (who writes by the way) gets paid. Probably not as much as he’s worth but then I really like my pastor. Also Paul (the Apostle) pointed that he and his followers were worthy of being paid, although he never insisted on it. Writing, fiction or not, is labor. If you don’t believe me try it some time. Getting imaginary people to do fantastic things in a logical way is not easy. 
My opinion is that making money is not  an impediment to it being a ministry. Like anything else it’s the motivation. I have heard other Christian writers suggest that we need to compromise our writing in order to make sales. Uh…no. It is okay to make money from your labor, but remember God can read too so watch it. Me, I don’t make a lot of money in my writing (hint, hint buy my books).
Sorry. Maybe I am too worldly.
Kidding aside, as an Indie writer I knew it was very unlikely I was going to make very much money. I am sure the IRS snickers at my 1099’s, so I do not write for the prime motivation of money although it is always nice. (Thank you those who have bought my books.) It's what God gifted me to do. Side note, it still bugs me a little (okay a lot) when the first question I get asked, even by other believers is, “you make a lot of money doing that?”, and promptly lose interest when I answer honestly “No.”
So it’s worldly to make money, but then my writing is irrelevant if I don’t?
I will never get people, including me.
However, I do have a friend who writes beautiful poems she receives from the Holy Spirit. She shares them freely and would never feel right about being paid for them. They were given to her, she gives them away. That’s her ministry.
Next, people say that it is fiction, so it’s frivolous and a waste of time. You should be spending your time reading the Bible, a concordance, Matthews Commentaries, Paradise Lost or something like that.
Okay, how much time do you spend in front of the TV? Be honest. When I could afford TV I did watch it even though I didn’t like it that much. But Mom liked sports and...Well that’s another story. So is there anything wrong with entertainment and can’t God use it?
Just saying.
I’m sure I wasn't as even handed as I meant to be and there are going to be a lot opinions.  What do you think? Can Christian fiction writing be a ministry or is it just a diversion?
My goodness this deep and serious stuff is exhausting. I will have to rest up for next week.

Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Cozy Mystery Series, and a superhero story called Chasing Lady Midnight. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. Although that is where she got her idea for The Secretary, she is not an evil mastermind. Although some of her former employers might disagree. These days she contents herself with knitting while contemplating her next diabolical plot. Story plot that is.

Current E-Books
THE REBOOT FILES:  The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.


  1. There have been times when the only reason I continued on in my writing was because I believed God could use my witness for Him. Believers and seekers both benefit by reading Christian fiction because the writing is inspired and directed by God. That's what I have found in my association with other faith-writers. Getting paid just comes from publishing. We can't help that. Besides, an author can always give income away if that's what God lays on an author's heart just like anyone else can. (But I'll bet even the generous givers keep something back to live on.)

    Good post, Cindy.

    ~Nancy Jill

  2. Cindy--As believers with a God-given gift for writing, we should be able to write for His glory and make an income as well. "You shall not muzzle the ox that treads the grain." I donate half of whatever I earn from writing--whether it's an advance or royalties, right back to God. I've given to various ministries over the years, but the one I'm stuck on right now is Living Water International. They build wells for people in Africa and South American third world countries. But even if every writer tithes ten percent, all that money is going back into the kingdom of God to help missionaries, to feed and clothe the poor, etc. AND let's not forget, our words travel all over the world, to people we don't know and will likely never meet. The books we write have an eternal impact on our wonderful readers. Getting paid for writing is icing on the gingerbread. Bless you, my friend!

  3. Cindy - food for thought. I wouldn't be writing Christian Fiction if I didn't think it was a ministry. I could write just plan ole fiction and not think about the content - that way I could please the world and write what I thought they wanted. I have a long story on how I came about writing Christian Fiction and I do look at it like it is my ministry.

    Deborah Malone


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