Christians Writing “Edgy” for the Wrong Reasons?

Christian author C.J. Darlington wrote an interesting blog post the other day entitled, “Writing edgy… for all the wrong reasons.” She raises a good point — for Christians and non-Christians alike — calling us writers to check our motives for writing something that is edgy, controversial, or contentious. I’ve been known to right a provocative article or two (see: “A letter to the Affluent Church“), and I admit that once you see a maelstrom of comments flooding in over something that touched on an edgy issue, the attention is nice. It makes you want to right more like that, even if the writing itself wasn’t very good.

Darlington writes:

In the last couple of years I’ve noticed a trend in Christian fiction. More and more aspiring authors desire to write edgy fiction. And by edgy I mean pushing the envelope of what has generally been considered acceptable in novels regarding violence, sex, language, etc.

Now I’m all for writing real. I want my characters and situations to be true to life. I don’t want to write about saints. But somewhere there’s a line, and I admit, it’s a gray one. Personally, I think it comes down to motives. Why do we want to write edgy? Is it to shock? To do it because we can?

Do you write what you write, because you can? Or because you hope it will make a difference in somebody’s life?


Who Is Your Favorite Writer?

For me, there are several writers that I appreciate reading — it varies depending on my mood.

When I need my heart to be rejuvenated by simple themes of beauty, truth, and justice, I read John Eldredge.

When I’ve got a creative idea or am wanting to feel innovative, I read Seth Godin.

When I’m feeling profound and wanting to be challenged by something academic that will make my head hurt, I read C.S. Lewis.

When I want to read a great story told in an untraditional way, I read Ernest Hemingway (although, I confess, it’s been awhile).

When I’m feeling worn out by religiosity and perhaps a bit of angst towards the church, I read Anne Lamott or Donald Miller.

When I want to read something poetic, I read Pablo Neruda (in Spanish).

When I’m starved for truth or good theology, I read John Piper.

When I need a good old-fashioned kick-in-the-butt, I read the blog of my mentor Seth Barnes.

And, of course, whenever I need to feel inspired, I read the Bible — often an epistle of Paul, the Gospel of John, or the Psalms.

Who is your favorite writer? I don’t think that I could pick just one.