Christian Romance or Religious Elements—What's the Difference?

I don't write Christian fiction, but every one of my novels so far has at least some religious element to it. My time period is late 18th century America, so it would be hard to ignore religion altogether. Plus, I find it fascinating, so I can't help but use it to flesh out my characters motivations and personalities.

As I finish up novel #5 (working title: Kiss of a Stranger) I've considered whether or not it might actually classify as a Christian romance. My personal definition of Christian fiction is writing with an intent to evangelize/inspire as well as entertain. My intent, as I wrote Kiss of a Stranger, was purely to entertain. However, I understand not everyone's definition of Christian fiction is the same, and I wonder if Kiss of a Stranger crosses over the line from secular to faith-based fiction. I'd love to get your input.

Here's a scene from the story where Sarah defies her father's wishes and follows Jack to a church where he and a group of rebels are meeting to plot their revolution.

            She pushed the iron handle on the front door of the church. It didn't budge. Sarah pushed again, this time, with more force.  Nothing. She gave it one last shove, but more out of frustration than a sense that it would serve any purpose.
            She should have known the church would be locked. Despite their reputation as sanctuaries, a church in this part of town could not leave its doors unlocked. Hard times had fallen on Wilmington, and the statuary and relics were more valued than the care and feeding of the poor, at least at this time of night.
            If the committee were to meet here, they must have arranged to leave one of the side doors or perhaps a back door unsecured. She found it on her third try. With one more glance around to be sure she was alone, she pushed the small door open and stepped inside.
            Though ominous shadows hung everywhere, church was not as dark as she expected it to be. A row of prayer candles filled the nave with a flickering glow, creating shadows that leapt across the pale green walls. Against the stained glass windows, craggy silhouettes danced as the wind tossed the empty branches of the trees. Even deserted, the church was alive with movement.
            Above her head, a crucified Jesus looked down. His sad eyes seemed to be directed straight at her. Suddenly, the words that unknown governess taught her so long ago sprung to mind.
            "Oh, bless me Father for I think I am about to sin." The church was not large, but Sarah's voice echoed in the emptiness.  She continued arguing aloud with the plaster statue. "But is it really sinning if I am just satisfying my curiosity? I am not really doing any harm, am I?"
            Something about obeying one's parents sprang to mind. Clearly He had her there. She was on the verge of losing her resolve, when a voice broke the silence.
            "It should be observation and inspection!"
            Definitely not the voice of the Redeemer this time. This voice scratched like the fingers of the trees against the stained glass. And, if she wasn't much mistaken, the speaker might have slurred his words a bit.

            So, what do you think? Secular fiction with religious elements or Christian fiction?

Thanks for your input!


No comments:

Post a Comment