By Daniel I. Weaver
I subscribe to every good CSFF team blog I come across and participate in a dozen or so writer's groups. Across the board, one topic has been reappearing with tenacious redundancy, yet every time I see a new post, I read and end up considering the opinion and arguments. CBA, ABA...does it matter?
Ninety percent of said discussions revolve around Tolkien and Lewis as the archetypes for Christian SFF and the allegory their now-immortal tales contained. Perhaps Lewis was too obvious, Tolkien not enough, or neither blatant, etc. etc. etc. As the guild grows, we've become privy to a vast range of experience and opinion. We have many more published authors in our ranks, and a slew of unpubs thirsting to learn from them. Across that gamut, we have folks published in both the CBA and ABA, and plenty of defenses for doing so.
I would pose the question, more so for discussion than anything else, where do you stand and do you see any real relevance in who publishes your work? Here are a few points to consider:
--The potential for making money "seems" to be greater in the CBA (I offer this loosely because statistics are so hard to track down...)
--What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? (Just ask Adam Graham what can happen, or read his tale in LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS). Sure, the ultimate ministry goal is to be blessed enough to do it full time and be in a position to dedicate 100% of your "work" time to writing. I mean, who says, boy I'd like to write on the side? But do you write solely to make money, or do you write for a higher purpose?
--Overtly Christian themes are viewed as "preachy." But who is more critical of the overt themes? The CBA or ABA?
-- How far do you go to avoid "Christian" themes? Sure, a great story is a great story. Theme's and "messages" shouldn't be an add-on. If they're integral to the story, they exist naturally. But does the pressure to avoid "preachiness" drive you to CUT Christian elements?
--If a CBA publisher publishes your work, would there be ANY indication that you're a Christian author? Would you care if the answer is no?
--If a CBA publisher publishes your work and no one "gains" anything from reading your story (as in, deepening a spiritual walk, learning a moral lesson, sharing some spiritual truth, etc), are you satisfied to simply tell a good tale? Is there anything truly "Christian" about doing this? Do you care?
We haven't had a good discussion going for a while, so I'm just curious to hear what you have to say. Please remember that everyone is entitled to an opinion regardless of whether or not you agree with it. Please, share yours.