Dave Long's Faith in Fiction blog linked to Relief a new magazine for Christian literary expression. What follows is my comment on the editor's blog:
"Gritty" is a word I don't often associate with church. It does, however, describe abrasives, which are used to shape most any material.
"Seasoned" is a word I do associate with Church-goers, the ones who have worn customized spots for their fannies in church pews. It is, however, also what happens to make cooking surfaces impenetrable.
Christians aren't cookware. And we aren't born--or born again--closely resembling Jesus. Only as we endure the pain of being shaped into His likeness will we ever experience His glorious, joy unspeakable. And only with that unnatural joy in our hearts, propelling his love, will we reach the world's lost.
Though it seems closed to the gospel, the world is open to authentic spiritual fruit. Christian writers enjoy the unique opportunity to enter peoples' minds with our stories: stories of love over bitterness, joy over heartbreak, peace over travail, patience over anxiety, goodness over depravity, kindness over cruelty, self-control over license. When God's fruit permeates our stories, not as a sermon, but as a savor, He will work in our readers' hearts--if the Christian marketplace will allow us to express the contrast between the joy of good and the despair of evil. But joy in literature--even Jesus' unspeakable joy--can not easily survive religiose sanitizing.
Enter RELIEF. May it be a mustard seed that will grow to shade and refresh a parched world.