The Contemporary Christian Conundrum
When I started writing, I wanted to include my faith, but also keep my books real. I didn’t fit into any real Christian genre, both too secular for the Christian market and too Christian for the secular market. The fact is, we’re not perfect people, and my characters aren’t either.
Amish romances, or “bonnet rippers,” typically feature women who are the Amish ideal – pure and chaste, with a very different concept of salvation than evangelical Christians believe. They’re too perfect, and that’s false. As the Bible states in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – we are all sinners, except Jesus Christ. To pretend otherwise isn’t honest, and while we should aspire to a Christlike perfection, we simply aren’t. The good news is that while the wage for sin is death, that price was paid by Christ on the cross at Calvary.
I knew after doing some research that the Amish romance genre wasn’t for me, and I wasn’t sure my books would ever fit in anywhere. I classify them primarily as “chick lit with a Christian twist,” sort of Sophie Kinsella meets Karen Kingsbury. After all, life is messy. Our walk with Christ isn’t without bumps in the road, and I personally find myself in a spiritual pratfall now and then. To me, contemporary Christian features reality. It might be messy, but it’s real.
I was so pleased to find that Heather Huffman, my favorite author ever, was starting up a new imprint with Booktrope Publishing. She’s now the managing editor of Vox Dei Publishing, calling it “Christian Books for a Messy World.” What a perfect genre – marrying spirituality and humanity. The imprint puts out real books for real Christians, both non-fiction to grow our walk with God (in a deeply personal and honest way) and fiction that explores how characters act and react when they have a deeply rooted faith. I’m finding it impossible to nail down any one definition of contemporary Christian romance, but I can tell you this – I’ll take my characters flawed and imperfect any day. I want to read about people like me, to gain a better understanding of the world around me. As we face daily trials in the world around us, we must arm ourselves with our faith. Reading about both real and fictional people overcoming such trials can renew our spirits and bolster our beliefs. With Vox Dei, I feel like I, and my books, finally have a home.
Becki Brannen is a thirty-something writer born and raised in the heart of Georgia. Her debut novel, Breathless, is the result of NaNoWriMo 2011, having been written in just twenty-nine days. Becki primarily writes “chick lit with a Christian twist,” marrying one of her favorite genres with her Christian faith. Her life verses are Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 41:10. Becki and her husband have twin daughters and a poodle, Sophie.
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ABOUT VOX DEI
Our name rhymes with Fox Day. We’re an imprint of Booktrope, a new type of publishing company founded in 2011 in Seattle, WA that’s pioneering a model called team publishing. Our mission at Vox Dei is to provide books for a primarily Christian audience that edify and entertain, encourage and inspire. While Christian themes are woven throughout our fiction, our purpose is not to preach a sermon but rather provide a quality alternative to the secular market for entertainment. Our non-fiction titles are intended to help readers explore the Bible in a more personal way and grow in their walk with Christ, while being informal in voice and approach. Whether fiction or non, our goal is to shine the light and love that is central to the Christian faith into a dark and messy world. Learn more at voxdeipublishing.com.