Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of Christian writers. I chose as my topic, Culture and Craft. I was a little worried at first that I might offend. After all, I was taking on some hard topics and I wasn’t planning to candy-coat. There are certain things that bug me about much of what is published under the Christian label: things such as overuse of what is commonly termed “Godincidence” in writing for audiences that might not necessarily understand what that means or even be in a place spiritually to accept it; or rushing a conversion story leaving the audience wondering “How did that happen?”; or skimping on character development. In preparing for my talk, I discovered I’m not alone. Alex Wainer writes about the need for excellence in the Christian arts in his article: Creating a Conservative Counterculture – Harder Than it Sounds and Eric Mataxas responds beautifully with his call for us to write, as C.S. Lewis did, “not sermons, but stories” in Engaging Culture in the Right Way. There is simply no excuse for putting something before an audience that is not as well-written or as well-performed as it can be! When we say “it has a good message”, let that be the cherry on top of the entertainment, not an excuse for something that is not quite as good as. . ., or that could have been better if we’d taken the time to hone our craft. Write responsibly.