16 Comments

Redeeming a vampire?

Vampire Not satisfied with the drivel that is known as the majority of what passes as Christian literature today, (obviously a reflection of what’s oozing from most pulpits), the Christian publishing world has long abandoned classic Christian literature like that found in the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s.

Today, the Christian book publishing world is moving in directions that begs the question how they can still use the name “Christian.”

According to this news article, meet the new face of “Christian” literature:

Other Christian fiction shows growing sophistication. No longer must characters follow a predictable path to salvation, for instance. The heroine of Nicole Baart’s “The Moment Between,” published by Tyndale, is not a conventional believer but a spiritual seeker; the novel is set in a vineyard and deals with a suicide.

And as if it couldn’t get worse . . . it does:

Even as Christian publishing suffers during the recession — one study found net sales for Christian retailers were down almost 11 percent in 2008 — several publishing houses are adding or expanding their fiction lines with both the tame (Amish heroines) and boundary-pushing (Christian vampire lit).

You heard right: “Christian vampire lit.” I never dreamed I’d ever in my life use those words in the same sentence.

More on “Christian vampire lit”:

On Sept. 15, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group will release its take on vampires in “Thirsty,” by Christian chick-lit author Tracey Bateman. Not surprisingly, the marketing material mentions “Twilight,” the hit vampire book series and movie whose abstinence message resonated with many evangelicals.

Bateman’s vampire, Markus, is a character but also a metaphor for demons anyone must overcome, said Shannon Marchese, an editor at WaterBrook Multnomah who sought out Bateman for the project. The object of his obsession, Nina, is a divorced alcoholic dealing with addiction.

“These are themes that work in the Christian life,” Marchese said. “You have to fight to say, ‘Am I going to choose unconditional love and redemption or a life of following obsessions, a life with holes in it?”

Still, challenges exist beyond what to do with dripping fangs (they were edited out). On the theological front, questions lurk about whether a creature both alive and dead has a soul that can be saved.

“I think we can redeem a vampire,” said Bateman, adding that she won’t be a spoiler and disclose her character’s fate. “I don’t think this is a despair too dark to pull out of.”

The problem in the world of Christian publishing and bookstores can be summed up with the last line in this quote:

“If you look at ‘Left Behind,’ the moon turns to blood and one-third of the people die,” said Karen Watson, associate publisher, fiction, for Tyndale House, which published the series. “Or you have people with bonnets on drawing water from the well. It just tells me there are a wide range of things you can talk about, and Christian books can be a lot of things.”

It seems “Christian books” are a lot of things, but Christian.

If you enjoy good Christian fiction (without vampires) but cannot stand the garbage that passes as today’s Christian literature, I cannot recommend enough the book Basket of Flowers by Christoph von Schmid. And needless to say, you probably won’t find it in your local Christian bookstore!

16 comments on “Redeeming a vampire?

  1. It seems “Christian books” are a lot of things, but Christian.

    Couldn’t agree more!!

  2. UMMM! Christian vampire.! I can’t get my mind around that one. I suppose if it gets made into a movie, christians will be flocking to it, saying what good lessons we can learn from it. Also the bible studies they can make out of it.

  3. Jude, I second that!!!!

  4. I just purged “Left Behind” from my home – felt good. Hadn’t touched those books in 12 years. Had to make room for dust. And Calvin’s “Institutes”, Colquhoun’s “A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel”, et. al. A much better use of the shelf – and the space between my ears.

  5. Wow, I can just seek the attacks from so-called friends of mine if I were to go after this book like I did The Shack. A few stopped talking to me or deleted me because they couldn’t understand why I’d go after “such a great work of fiction that makes people think”. First The Shack, now a book about Christian Vampires. *smacks forehead with hand*

  6. Mat 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
    What is next Christian horror?…. wait we have that.
    What is next Christian death metal? …… Wait we have that.
    What is next Christian porn? ….. wait we have that.
    What is next Christian yoga? …. Wait we have that.
    The list goes on and on.
    It’s all about the money.

  7. papapatriot…I had to laugh when I read your comment, but yet it made me sad at the same time because it shows how horribly the line has been blurred.

  8. Okay, so a question….what should Christian fiction look like? I would submit it is impossible to have good Christian fiction. The point of fiction, first and foremost, is to ENTERTAIN. Anything purporting to be Christian, should be concerned only with bringing glory to God. I don’t know how you reconcile those two. It’ll either bring glory to God and come across preachy, or be pure entertainment and have no redeeming value.

  9. In the early 19th century the purpose of vampire novels were to create metaphorical hot sex scenes without being considered obscene.

    In the early 21st century the purpose of Christian vampire novels were to have romances with metaphorical hot sex scenes where everyone stays a virgin.

    Doesn’t seem like much of a change.

  10. @papapatriot, We have Christian porn? I must be out of the loop.

  11. Dear Jim Jansen:

    You raise a very good and valid question. I think that based on what’s currently found on the bookshelves in Christian bookstores, I too would come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to have Christian fiction (based on the reasons you cited).

    However, I submit for your perusal Christian literature from 100, 200, 300, and 400 years ago.

    What was written then was not so much “entertainment” as it was instruction. This does not mean every Christian book written long ago is good simply because it was written long ago, but sadly whether you seek fiction or non-fiction, you are better off reading books written over 100 years ago.

    My wife and I (and some of our friends) have been reading many of the Lamplighter Rare Collection of books. I encourage you to check them out and see for yourself the difference between Christian literature of years ago which sought to train and instruct in the ways of the Lord, and the junk that passes as “Christian” today that seeks simply to make money.

    If you have trouble selecting a good one to start with, I again, can’t rave enough about The Basket of Flowers. And don’t let the name fool you. It is NOT a chick lit book. It is a book for whole family to read. This may change your perspective on whether or not Christian literature is possible or not.

    Sincerely,
    - The Pilgrim

  12. Jim Jansen:

    Amen to what Pilgrim said. I’ve read “The Basket of Flowers” and “Pilgrim’s Progress” – both fiction and both very much good at communicating Scriptural Truth.

    While most modern “Christian” novels are not biblically sound, many are worth a read if one wants to “be entertained” – which is a form of rest – then a truly Christian novel ain’t a bad thing. Some of Ted Dekker’s books fit the bill.

  13. Was it on this blog or elsewhere someone made the point that every stupid, silly or pointless trend the world comes up with will be aped by Christian marketers.

    Case in point: vampire novels.

    Excuse me while I go scream and jump off a cliff.

  14. Marie – don’t do it! That is also a worldly action :-) Run into the Strong Tower – He is our only hope (sorry Oby Won).

    Seriously, we should help one another withstand the deception of the world. Christ will drive some out (1 John 2:18 & 19) and others will remain until the harvest (Matthew 13:24ff).

    As Paul Washer and others reminds us – such preachers and authors are (at least in part) God’s judgment on those who claim Christ but have no evidence of new life, those who serve the flesh.

  15. Never heard of Christian vampire books, thank goodness. Who needs to read books that glorify the prince of darkness, “Christian” or otherwise, when there is a series of books that glorifies our Lord and Savior, such as the A.D. Chronicles by Bodie and Brock Thoene?

  16. Hello, fello believers. I’m intrigued by the conversation here surrounding my novel, Thirsty. I respect your opinion and would never try to explain how God led me to write this very Christian novel. But I do want to take a moment to clarify something that seems to be a misconception. The vampire in my novel is not an object to be glorified but rather an evil metaphor for the tragedy of addiction, which I’m sorry to say, is rampant in the Christian community. The simple answer of course is redemption through Jesus for the female protagonist in this story. My desire and goal is first and foremost to point my readers to the Truth, which is Jesus. I am a Christian, strong in my faith and committed to Christ above all else.
    I am so sorry to cause offense. But strong in my position that Jesus, and not evil, is glorified through the pages of this novel, which I have prayed over every single day from the moment I agreed to write it.
    Thank you so much for the opportunity to respond to your thoughtful comments.
    God bless you as you live, move, and have your being in Him.

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