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The HOME for Christian writers!
The Home for Christian Writers!

"Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

All the facts about the Challenge and special announcements from the Coordinator.

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solerpower68
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"Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby solerpower68 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:07 pm

I saw this wording in the submission guidelines and was wondering if someone could elaborate on what this really means. I understand that commonly accepted vulgar, racist, and derogatory terms would be included, along with literotica or unnecessarily gratuitous violence, but is there anything else that might fall under this?

I am a "Christian writer" because I am a writer who believes in adhering to the teachings and life instruction of Jesus Christ (who was in fact God on Earth), based on the historical documents of the New Testament. My intended audience is never "Christian readers", however, it is for all readers, just like the Good News was.

I certainly am not looking for a reason to subject any of you to writing that could be construed as evil, ungodly, or offensive in any way, but sometimes writing based on the reality of human life and all of its complexity may include topics and subjects that make some people uncomfortable. If we leave out things such as

1) Good things happening to someone who has done a very bad thing
2) A character treating another character, animal, mother nature, or private property in a manner that God would not find pleasing
3) A character making a comment that some may find morally inappropriate, but others may find funny or thoughtful

among other possibilities....

Those scenarios often represent the real world, even if it is a side of the world we are not pleased with as servants of a God that is all good. However, I understand many of you may come to this site as a break from the "unclean creativity" that you feel may plague other collections of written works both on the web and in brick and mortar establishments. Therefore, I certainly apologize if anything I ever post includes something that you interpret as "un-christian", for that is NEVER my intention.

So if there are more in-depth guidelines as to what constitutes "Christian writing", please let me know. I am blessed to be here and grateful to serve.

Mike

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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby glorybee » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:32 pm

I hope that our Writing Challenge coordinator, Deb Porter, will see this and respond. I'll alert her to it, but be aware that she's in Australia so her reply may be a bit delayed. In the meanwhile, I'll try to answer from my memory of how she's answered similar questions in the past, and from my experience in the Writing Challenge.

First of all, please don't shy away from touchy topics. We've had entries in the past that have dealt with many of them: child or spouse abuse, drug and alcohol problems, criminal behavior, and the like. The key, I think, is writing them from a Christian world view. That is not to say that they must be overtly Christian or that God has to be mentioned in any way. But evil or sin should not be presented as acceptable or desirable behaviors.

We've had some dark and edgy writers who have done well in the challenge, and many of them shared the approach to writing in your second paragraph.

I'm aware that the guidelines are somewhat open to interpretation, and I think that's a good thing.
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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby Deb Porter » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:17 am

Hi Mike.

Jan let me know about your post, so I'm jumping in from Down Under.

As Jan said, we've had some very edgy pieces in the past, but there is a line for sharing any writing at FaithWriters. I wish it were a very clear and obvious line that every person could see and agree on, but of course, that line is very subjective. What will upset one person may not bother another at all.

For FaithWriters, we just ask that you don't use language which may be considered offensive to Christian readers, and that you aren't heavy handed with violence or sex. Keep it PG.

The thing that makes it hard to define is that there are Christian writers, and then there are writers who are Christians. One is writing for the Christian reader, with hopes that the Lord will also draw those who are seeking to the things they write. And then there are writers who are Christian. They may be writing for the secular market with very little mention of anything faith related (for example, John Grisham), or they may be sharing their faith in a way that is non-threatening and appealing to the non-Christian reader. My only advice would be, regardless of how you write, always let your light shine before men. In other words, if something you write could become a stumbling block to others or appear to be condoning sin, then that is best avoided.

Love, Deb
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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby solerpower68 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:44 pm

Deb, you brought up the point I was getting at beautifully - is this site intended for Christian writers, writers who are Christians, or both? And I do mean intended for, not "open to."

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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby Deb Porter » Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:26 pm

The owners would say both, most definitely. However, in the communication of our message to the non-Christian seeker, we need to balance being all things to all people with not compromising our values or causing another to sin.

So, in reaching out to the lost on FaithWriters (and many people visit the site to read articles, and many have come to Christ by then taking the next step and clicking on the evangelistic banners), the actual original intention for the site was to provide a safe place for Christian writers to share their work (with Christian and non-Christian reader), to grow their skills, and to find publishing avenues for their articles.

With the Writing Challenge, a winning entry may not mention God or Scripture at all. However, it still should reflect a Christian point of view regarding life. So we do regularly have strong articles and stories that deal with real issues, but staying true to Christian values and beliefs. In other words, a story that communicates the devil is actually a really good guy who slipped up once and is really misunderstood, would not be seen as expressing Christian values and beliefs.

Hope that makes sense.

Love, Deb
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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby RedBaron » Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:30 pm

solerpower68 wrote:Deb, you brought up the point I was getting at beautifully - is this site intended for Christian writers, writers who are Christians, or both? And I do mean intended for, not "open to."


Absolutely both :) And depending on the project they are working on at the time, some people could do both.
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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby wheelygirl58 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:18 pm

I, personally, am deeply happy that I 'Googled' the phrase "Christian writers' forums" a while ago!! This is my Internet home where this Christian wannbe writer is settled in permanently! :superhappy
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 This is,another of my life verses!!

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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby solerpower68 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:21 pm

NO WAY redbaron love the avatar! There's a perpetual block calendar of Snoopy's doghouse with Snoopy on a typewriter I've been dying to get.

I will take your word that this site is just as much for "Writers who are Christians", but I'm going to tread lightly here, and only post certain projects of mine. I still think this is a wonderful site, and that as long as there is a demand for "Christian writing", I believe writers who enjoy writing such material should always have great resources to perfect their craft.

I was going to get into a whole discussion of why I think "Christian writing" is a dangerous term, but I'm going to just keep it to myself. To each their own.

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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby swfdoc1 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:46 pm

Sex is always a little dicey around here.

Part of what I do for a living is fight pornography, so I would never submit anything that I thought was inappropriate, yet I had an entry disqualified for content (before the current owners took over--but I don't know whether that would have made a difference). I've always disagreed with that decision (in the sense that I did not believe the content was objectionable, although it was "edgy"), BUT I RESPECTED THE RIGHT OF THOSE WHO MADE THE DECISION TO MAKE IT. As a consequence, I also self-censored and declined to enter a different story that I a had written. Despite these 2 incidents, I have occasionally seen entries that I thought were graphic that obviously (since I saw them) were not disqualified. (I started to say "more graphic than mine," but neither of mine were graphic at all--no descriptions of body parts, etc.)

My advice is to either 1) not enter anything with sexual content, even loosely defined; or 2) be willing to accept the view of others that your piece should be disqualified; or 3) allow enough time to re-work the entry before the deadline expires. As for #1, the piece I declined to enter was not that important to me. As for # 2, my belief that the powers that be had the right to reject my other entry was genuine--I was not offended at all and continued to enter the Challenge for 2 1/2 years after the piece was disqualified. As for #3, I was offered the chance to tweak the entry in light of the concerns, but my schedule did not permit.

Your questions may have to do with other matters entirely, but there could be similar issues with other types of "push the envelop" entries; and my advice would be the same.
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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby solerpower68 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:31 pm

Thanks so much for the guidance Steve. What a noble cause you stand for - the fight against pornography. I was a terrible victim of such imagery for most of my life.

Many people do have difference of opinion over the blurred lines between appropriate writing of a mature, sexual nature and striaght-up literotica. Unfortunately, we are also treading the line of censorship here too (which I believe has a lot to do with the inception of "Christian literature").

Do I think a human being would be better off if they never saw a lick of pornography or lit-erotica in their life? Absolutely. But I feel the same about eating fast food too. We are a long way from eradicating either of them, but in time it will be done. I'll take tougher Christians over tougher laws any day.

So I offer this to the site and the individuals who make the God-inspired decisions that control its content: Myself, and many other writers on here grew up in a time (the 70s, 80s, and beyond) where the vulgarity of life was in our face 24/7. We saw guns, grams, guts, girls, and glorified profanity, and we saw A LOT of it. For us to communicate effectively to our peers how all of those experiences eventually led us here to the ultimate truth and the ultimate role model, we may have to say some of those things you wish our child ears and eyes never witnessed. BUT WE WERE JUST KIDS, REMEMBER. The previous generation is responsible for our corruption. And this corruption was due to a lack of effective communication skills by the adults we submitted to, not a lack of censorship. Not to mention, I'd rather write a masterpiece about anything and have people read it, so they can find me and see how much I praise God though Jesus, then write something about characters that look like cookie-cutter Christians- you know, the ones that are turning people AWAY FROM Christianity in America today - and have people not want to read it, and therefore NOT KNOW GOD.

Mike

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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby RedBaron » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:18 pm

Yup :) I'm a huge Snoopy/Peanuts fan (and my nick being Red Baron, long story lol).

If you are wary of posting some of your works, you might look for a writing buddy and email things back and forth, when you find someone who will be able to give you the kind of feedback you are looking for :) There are many people here, and some do consider themselves Christian writers, while others writers who are Christians.

solerpower68 wrote:NO WAY redbaron love the avatar! There's a perpetual block calendar of Snoopy's doghouse with Snoopy on a typewriter I've been dying to get.

I will take your word that this site is just as much for "Writers who are Christians", but I'm going to tread lightly here, and only post certain projects of mine. I still think this is a wonderful site, and that as long as there is a demand for "Christian writing", I believe writers who enjoy writing such material should always have great resources to perfect their craft.

I was going to get into a whole discussion of why I think "Christian writing" is a dangerous term, but I'm going to just keep it to myself. To each their own.
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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby solerpower68 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:31 pm

Hey Deb! I missed your last response - just now read it. I think that sums up the intent of the site beautifully. We definitely don't want a reader to visit and think we are somehow "posing" as Christians with ulterior motives. I hope over time Christians will continue to evolve on the distinction between writing that is risque yet acceptable, and that which is truly hostile to the further glorification of Christ our Lord.

Thanks for the suggestion RB!

Ok, back to writing articles...

Mike

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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby swfdoc1 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:28 pm

Mike,

Tough, tough issues.

The first question is what OUGHT Christian writers write. Or more precisely, what ought SOME Christian writers write. Which is complicated by the issue of what they ought to be ALLOWED to write. Until recently the “allowed” part dealt with what Christian publishing houses would accept. Now, with blogs, self-publishing, etc.; for many writers, it deals with what will the writer “allows” himself to present to the public.

I have often railed against the publishing house gate-keepers, although more often on issues of quality—seeking formulaic books, not taking risks, being anti-literary fiction, etc. But, of course, the issues you raise are implicated, as well.

On the flip side—as a beta reader—I have seen the price a self-publishing writer can pay in damaged relationships when his own family disagrees with how far he wants to push the envelope.

But after the “ought” question, there is still the “where” question: “Where” should the Christian writer be allowed to publish certain things. At one level, whoever owns the medium—including FaithWriters—gets to decide. At another level, those with strong feelings—on all sides of the issue—get to advocate with and attempt to influence the media owners. And they/we get to make decisions about the self-blogging/publishing media they/we control them/ourselves.

And, of course, further downstream issues exist. Some media that are sympathetic to “pushing the envelope” (or should we say “realistic in the modern world”) writing will only publish certain genres. I could go on and on with complications.

Anyway, I am generally very sympathetic to your views. However, I am concerned about the outer limits. On top of that, I vacillate from time to time as to where those limits are and as to how those of us not in power (traditionally speaking) ought to proceed.

No response necessary of you are busy writing (but welcome, of course, if you’re not.)

Steve
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Re: "Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers"

Postby oursilverstrands » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:08 pm

Mike wrote:I am a "Christian writer" because I am a writer who believes in adhering to the teachings and life instruction of Jesus Christ (who was in fact God on Earth), based on the historical documents of the New Testament.


Welcome, Mike, I'm glad you found the Faithwriter community. The answers to your query leave little to add, so my simple/simplistic formula might not contribute much to the discussion: If you would not feel uncomfortable with Jesus (should He be among us) reading what you've written, then write it. However, as Steve alluded to, those who govern the site will and should always have the last say as to its appropriateness for Faithwriters.

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