Since when are Christian books not allowed to deal with heavy content?

Somehow, there are people in today’s world who apparently believe Christians never face trials, never make mistakes, and never have weakened faith. Newsflash – that’s not the way things work. The Apostle Paul was beaten and thrown into prison for preaching the gospel, John the Baptist’s head was cut off and served to the king in a charger, Noah got drunk, and Moses killed a man.

So why am I on such a tangent? On Saturday, my new Christian mystery “Hidden in Harmony: Danger is Imminent” was released.

The book has already received some harsh criticisms that I feel are extremely irrational. I have thick skin and usually negative reviews don’t bother me – they’re simply people’s opinions. But for whatever reason, this is frustrating me a tad more than usual.

So here are some of the things people are fussing about (saying this type of information doesn’t belong in Christian books):

  • A part of the plot deals with cannibalism
  • There is ONE scene in the book where a pedophile photographer is getting his thrills from taking inappropriate pictures of juveniles (no graphic details are provided and nothing is done other than taking indecent photos)
  • An unmarried man, long separated from his wife, goes on a date without telling the his date that he is still legally married.
  • The novel deals with a stalker, kidnappings, bombs, murder… and believe it or not… human trafficking

Did I mention someone accused the family of being legalistic Christians? That inaccurate opinion was based upon the fact that throughout the novel, the family tries to improve their relationship with God and attempts to honor Him by bringing their family closer in line with the principles taught in scripture. They do make mistakes along the way as they aren’t perfect people and have to face difficult decisions – like when their thirteen year old son disappears and the local authorities aren’t really doing anything about it. However, legalism has to do with obeying the laws of the Bible for fear of being cast into Hell for disobedience. This family chose to honor God by trying to please Him – not for fear of going to Hell. That is not legalism.

The same reviewer claimed the dad was basically a control freak – that he wouldn’t permit his son to sin and that he wouldn’t allow his wife to have a telephone or even to leave the house. So… what good dad doesn’t punish his kids for sinning? Newsflash – God punished Adam and Eve for sinning – He didn’t allow that either. Does that make God a control freak? I don’t think so. As to his wife not having a phone or leaving the house, it is never implied that Collin forbid her from either. They are a poor family and cannot afford a telephone. They can only afford one vehicle and when Collin is at work, his wife has no transportation and they leave in the middle of nowhere so she doesn’t have the luxury of walking or taking a cab or a bus to get somewhere. The same reviewer said the dad sentenced his son to hard labor and that was child abuse – the dad made his boy wash the car, mow the grass, and clean his shoes as an act of discipline. Is that hard labor?

“Hidden in Harmony: Danger is Imminent” does not contain any foul language, any inappropriate bedroom scenes, and no unnecessary graphic details of blood and guts – yet there are people who say it should be in a different genre.

What do you think?

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  1. I was told by one person that my book was “too dark.” You’ve read it, so you know. I think there are a lot of people that feel Christian books should be positive, inspirational, and devoid of hard topics. And there are plenty of books in the Christian genre that are like that. But some authors tackle the world (in all of its pain, trauma, and heartache) from a Christian perspective. Seeing as we live in a fallen world, I prefer the books I read to deal with the deep and realistic troubles of the world. Neither is wrong. It’s just a matter of preference. Unfortunately, this reader seems to be reading outside of his/her comfort zone, which is not a reflection on your writing, but a reflection of their tolerance. I despise books full of romance, so I do my best to avoid them because I know I wouldn’t enjoy them and I would rate them poorly. I sincerely hope this reader finds books they enjoy, but don’t take this review to heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing that. Someone thought your book too dark? Really? I loved it!!!! I guess it makes me feel better in a way to know I’m not the only one with a newer book out receiving that type of feedback. To each their own, I guess, right? I’m with you 100% on the romance thing. I don’t have a problem with a man and woman falling in love in a book, but I’m not into all of the immorality that occurs in a lot of them. Ugh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This saddens me. As much as the Bible itself vividly and accurately portrays evil, why do many of us as believers feel like we have to confront these issues with kid gloves? No wonder much of secular media doesn’t take us seriously.

    Don’t be discouraged by those negative reactions, sir.


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