Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Hello friends, it's been some time since I've posted - and the below is a blog written by Dan Walsh that definitely spoke of my own recent questions and thoughts on the subject....I hope you'll find it as interesting and thought inspiring as I have.  Thank you Dan Walsh for your committment to Christian values and humbly stating what many of us would like to say.

Do Books and Movies Influence or Only Entertain?

I’ve been pondering lately the answer to this question: “Do books and movies influence people or merely entertain?” What prompted this is reading a few of the more critical book reviews my novels have received on Amazon.
Thankfully, most of them have been wonderful and very encouraging. But every now and then someone throws a lowball at me. I read these, too, in case there’s something I can learn. But what I’ve discovered, for the most part, is that these 1-star reviews mostly complain about something I can’t, or don’t want to change.
They’re complaining about the Christian message included in my novels. See, I work real hard to weave the message into my stories in ways that seem natural and unforced, and not preachy. But I am after all writing Christian fiction. My publisher is a Christian publisher.
But with a surge of readers buying books online vs. in bookstores, the fact that
my books are written from a Christian worldview sometimes gets missed. Some of these folks are simply buying them on Kindle or Nook on special promotional days when they are free. They don’t spend any time reading the information provided on the main page.
On almost all my books, a cursory glance of the book summary and a few of the reviews
would remove any doubt about the Christian themes included.
I marvel that someone who downloaded a book for free, then discovers the “religious content” and hates it, feels compelled to review the book, as if to warn others of the book’s
“hidden message.” Over the past holiday,  someone actually gave my Christmas novelThe Unfinished Gift 1-Star and called it “pure crap,” because of its Christian theme.
I mean, come on, it’s about a little boy who’s lost his mother in 1940s at Christmas time.
This highlights to me an area of significant hypocrisy I see in American culture (“Just one, you say?”). Books and screenplays written for the general market are almost always written with a strong message or theme, clearly trying to reach and influence the minds of its audience.
Whether they are promoting a political agenda, environmentalism, the homosexual and lesbian agenda, or some other cause, the intent to influence the audience with a specific message is clear. Sometimes blatantly clear. Often when writers, directors and actors are interviewed they will reveal their hand and their intent (maybe their hope) that their work will have a major impact on people and cause them to think or do things differently.
Hardly anyone raises a red flag to complain about this. If they do, the people behind the project quickly repeat the mantra: “Oh no, our project isn’t seeking to influence anyone, just entertain. We’re simply reflecting the values already out there in our culture in a relevant way.”
Ever heard this? Ever buy into this line of thinking when you have? Why do you think such a strong bias exists in our culture against Christians writers who are simply trying to do the same thing? That is, create a great story that contains, what we believe, maybe a worthwhile and life-changing message?
Can you think of some examples of this blatant hypocrisy in recent books, TV shows and/or movies?

About Dan Walsh

Dan Walsh is the award-winning and bestselling author of 7 novels, published by Revell and Guideposts, including The Unfinished Gift, Remembering Christmas and The Discovery. For those who haven’t read Dan’s books, reviewers often compare him to Nicholas Sparks and Richard Paul Evans. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and CWG’s Word Weavers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years and now writes full-time. He and his wife Cindi have been married 35 years and have 2 grown children, 2 grandchildren and 2 mini-aussies. He marvels at how active Jim Rubart is (and feels like a slug by comparison). He and Cindi live in Port Orange, FL and love to take long walks on the beach. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter, or read his blog. There are buttons to connect to these places on his website, as well as a bunch of other info on his books at


  1. I feel your pain. It’s okay, in our society, to be anything and everything but a Christian. Even Facebook has been removing Christian messages, deeming them inappropriate content. Jesus said they’d hate us because of Him…and that’s a tough bite of truth in life to swallow. But I will not change my ways or views because someone is offended by them! That said–I miss the days when we could “reason together.” There’s very little reason nowadays. It’s almost all emotion.
  2. I’m right with you on this on, Dan. I’ve been the recipient of the same type of reviews: one star because of Christian content.
    I’ll gladly (ok, not always so gladly) take it. I’m not changing the important content. I know I write not only to entertain. I believe there are a few who do write only to entertain, but the vast majority, let their world views and the issues they are passionate about come through the pages loud and clear. They may think they are being subtle, but most of the time, it’s pretty apparent what their leaning is.
  3. I love your work Dan, you just keep right on doing what you are doing. I think there are more that like what you do then the few that don’t. I too think this world is a sad place right now with the way so much is accepted that should NOT be.
    thank you for weaving the christian aspects into your work for those that need it.
  4. I’m another who feels your pain, Dan.
    I had one e-mail from a gentleman wondering why I, “as a marketing guy would fool people into buying one of my books without a label on the cover saying, Christian Fiction.”
    Interesting that you use Avatar as you image in this post as I wrote back and asked him why the the Avatar posters and trailers didn’t have a label on them that said, “Pantheistic Movie”.
    This entry was posted in 3 MenPolitical StuffWriting Stuff by Dan Walsh. Bookmark the permalink


  1. Actually, Christ warned us that the world would hate us because it hated Him first. If people hate us because of our novels have a "Christian message",give us 1-star reviews or email us to tells of their disgust, it shows we are worthy to suffer criticism for Christ's sake. It should make us bolder not shrink back and compromise.

  2. I've seen many one-star reviews where the reviewer simply didn't read the book, and probably shouldn't have downloaded it in the first place. Faith messages aren't the only cause. Sometimes politics, content, violence, sex, etc. And nearly always the non-reader could have known by checking the blurb that it wasn't their sort of book. More a case of everyone thinking their opinion's worth sharing rather than opposition to faith.

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