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 www.danwalshbooks.com.
5 THOUGHTS ON “DO BOOKS AND MOVIES INFLUENCE OR ONLY ENTERTAIN?”