Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pet peeves are a popular theme among bloggists, so here’s one of mine: Profanity in Christian Fiction. More specifically, the rejection of profanity in Christian fiction. Here’s the thing... In real life I cuss (curse/use profanity/swear). Some days it’s rare, some days you might think you got off the bus at a truck stop. For those of you with delicate sensibilities, cover the next line with a finger or pencil…

My favorite cuss is futher mucker. No, it’s not spelled wrong, that’s exactly how I say it.

Since it’s not the same pronunciation as the street favorite, I’m not certain it is a cuss, but I only say it when I’m angry or frustrated so I guess it counts. My point is that I’m a Christian. Not the “arrived” kind, but of the work-in-progress category most of us fall into.

Everything I write is personal. It’s also a w-i-p until the time it’s in someone else’s hands and I no longer have a say. Before then I keep going back, keep finding errors or things that just fit better. So it makes sense I’m the same way. I’ll need plenty of work right up to the second Jesus comes for me.

Some reading this will get it, some will wonder if I’m in condoning cussing. Well…not condoning so much as accepting. It’s not that I want to cuss or even particularly like it (though I must confess a flair for the darker side of my vocabulary), but it’s just the way it is. For me. And for some other Christians I know. And if Christians cuss, how much more those who aren’t saved?

I write about people I find interesting, about places I’ve been or would like to visit, and about things I see, hear, experience and feel. I’m not just writing about the way it was or will be one day, but the way it is now. As a Christian I’m writing just as much for those who don’t know Christ yet as for those who do. Should I represent Christ in the most flattering light? Well He doesn’t need me to do that, He’s pretty good at His own P.R. Should I represent Christians in the most flattering light? Well, it is fiction, but no. That’s each individual’s job, not mine.

And as a writer, I want to show people with flaws and temptations, not always wanting to make the wrong choice, but sometimes falling on their face even with the best of intentions. That’s me. That’s you. A profane word might never cross your lips, but maybe you’re a bigot. Prideful. Or a hypocrite.

As writers we shouldn’t shrink from showing the underbellies of our characters’ personalities. They’re ours as well. Of course let me say that Christ can change anyone who is willing to be changed and in my books the main characters do recognize their errors and make steps to correct them, often trying to use their own ability and strength, but more often, relying on Christ, the Author and Finisher of our (their) faith.

At least half of you will disagree with me. That’s fine, and feel free to say so. Maybe we’ll come to a meeting of minds when I write about my next pet peeve: Sex in Christian Fiction.


  1. Ooh, ooh! Get to the sex topic. I want to see if we stand the same there too.

    P.S. Love how open you are in your blog. Good voice!

  2. This is something I've struggled with in the past...(whether or not to allow my characters to cuss)
    My current wip actually has nothing to do with Christianity at all, it's a fantasy book, with vampires and humans, (book two will have vampire hunters, and perhaps a few more other-worldly creatures...) I did manage to keep my main character pure until her wedding night...and in a fantasy world, that is not always easy!!
    However...some of my (not so nice) characters, and even my protagonist's sister, just happen to use a cuss word here and there. Hey, they're human...(some of them) and I had to let my character's speak how they wanted to!!

    I know a lot of Christian's will have trouble with the cussing, even though there are probably only about 4 times in my whole novel...but I've already had to deal with some of my friends not even liking the whole vampire idea. Hey, it's all in good fun!

    I'm with you get on with the next subject...I'm very interested in how you've handled s.e.x. Curious minds need to know.

    ps. Thanks for following my devotional blog...(I also have a writing blog, if you're so inclined to check it out!)