One of my students recently asked me, “What is a Christian writer?”

And I stared blankly in response.

No, seriously. I. had. no. idea. what. to. say. I have been preparing my whole life for this question and when I got it, I didn’t have an answer. It was almost (but not quite) as humiliating as when my master’s thesis committee asked me what theologians I read. Duh, Sarah, you only went to Christian schools for half your life. I think, in both cases, they were “out of context questions”. In other words, during my thesis defense I knew the answer, but I was confused by the context in which it was given. If my pastor had asked the questions, I could have engaged in an hour long conversation. In the instance of my student asking “What is a Christian writer?” it was out of context because currently it is something I am working to define–within authors I intentionally choose to read and within my own writing.

And, here is the answer I have (to shamelessly plagiarize Augustine): Love God.

That’s it. The answer really has nothing to do with writing. It’s all in the loving. Lewis and MacDonald would say the same thing, I think. Love God (and, hopefully, Jesus). But that’s it. That’s what it takes to be a Christian–faith, love, Jesus. And beyond that, everything we do is spiritual.


End scene.