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What Are You Writing Into Your Story?

by Lanny Smith

I like reading Christian action-suspense thrillers. One of my favorite authors is Joel Rosenberg. No matter how dark certain parts of his stories may seem, his novels have always glorified the Lord and inspired me. My first novel, The Radical Ride, was an action-thriller because I wanted to take a blatant, in your face jab at terrorism. However, I wrote this novel to glorify the Lord and to inspire people!

Being a guy, I also like to watch action flicks. One of my favorite action films is “Executive Decision” (Warner Brothers, 1996). That’s the movie with Kurt Russell about religious extremists who hijack a passenger jet to use as a “poor man’s atomic bomb” to attack Washington, D.C. I like the story, the characters, and the overall action and suspense in the movie.

It later occurred to me that this film could have been a secular prophecy of what happened on September 11, 2001. I recently watched it again on a certain channel and got a major surprise: the closed captioning service conveniently replaced certain words and names that I knew were in the film with neutral words and names. These words and names referred to the religion and deity of the terrorist characters. This I know because like I said, it’s one of my favorite films. I knew what to expect!

But, here’s the really offensive part: right after I read the closed captioned sentences with the replacement words, a good-guy character would casually take the Lord’s name in vain. Oh, there was sincerity in his voice — but it was still unacceptable to me! It’s bad enough that we have to tune out profanity in any popular film. But do I always have to hear the Lord’s name taken in vain in almost every secular film today? Do I have to read profane words found in most secular novels? Here’s a suggestion: in the spirit of political correctness, the next time a novelist or filmmaker feels the urge to have his character profanely utter a deity’s name, let’s give all religions (and deities) equal time!

I realize that this is not the most uplifting or positive opinion written for an ACFW blog, but consider what’s going on in the world today. Christians are persecuted in third world countries. There’s a culture clash occurring in the United States, and Israel gets attacked almost daily by her enemies. I can almost hear Jesus asking, “who will stand up for Me before I return?”

I know I’m preaching to the choir but here’s my point: what are you writing into your story? If your stories are glorifying the Lord and inspiring us to share His love, then I say, “Bravo, please keep up the ‘God’ work.” If your stories are far removed from the above listed conditions, please pray about it and reconsider what you are writing into your story!

Lanny SmithLanny Smith is a Christian, a former “Class B+” surfer and a veteran of the U. S. Air Force. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida. His novel, THE RADICAL RIDE, is an explosive, suspense-thriller. His novella, THE CHRISTMAS BEACON, is an inspirational supernatural-mystery (and due out September, 2014).

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2 Responses to What Are You Writing Into Your Story?

  1. LeAnne Hardy says:

    Lanny, I think the problem is that writers try to portray the way people really speak. Unfortunately, many people take our Lord’s name in vain (and use a lot of potty language and sexual innuendos that I don’t appreciate), but no one swears casually by Allah. They would be stoned if they did. So it’s not the way people talk. I admire Dale Cramer’s ability to portray characters who use language we don’t appreciate without actually using the language, especially in Bad Ground.

  2. Lanny says:

    Thanks LeAnne! I’m sure you’re right. I’m afraid I was venting a bit. I’ll check out Bad Ground. Appreciate your insight and God bless you!!!