FCWC BLOG

Ethics for Christian Writers
10/21/2016 10:58:00 AM by: Marti Pieper

Christian writers often find themselves asking these questions:

  • My protagonist lived a wild life before he came to know the Lord, and I want to keep him real. How can I show his depravity in a “Christian” book?
  • As a believer, should I consider writing for a secular market?
  • I know God wants me to tell my story of abuse, but if I name names, some people will get hurt or angry. What can I do?

As these questions illustrate, our personal ethics (our values or moral compass) have a direct effect on our professional lives. The current presidential election has shown that in more graphic ways than any of us anticipated.

Since my seminary days, I’ve loved writing, reading, and discussing ethics. This area of study is where our faith becomes real, where we see the values we espouse play out (or not) in our day-to-day actions and activities. Both the Old and New Testament contain many verses that pertain to ethics, urging us to put our faith into action in various ways. These include such well-known passages as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 12), the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12) and the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:38-39).

A couple of years ago at FCWC, we offered an ethics panel. The wide-ranging discussion covered topics from whether or not Christian writers should use profanity in their work to how a Christian author should handle situations like the offer of a car ride at a conference from a member of the opposite sex.

And guess what? Not everyone had the same response. And guess what else? That was a good thing.

You see, a key part of our Christian faith is its personal element. Yes, there are certain basics we consider essentials (see the Statement of Faith for Word Weavers International, owner of the FCWC). But in and around these essentials we find various interpretations of scripture along with the impact of culture, experience, and personal conviction.

My goal in offering this new-to-FCWC workshop is not to provide answers as much as to present questions. We’ll examine some specific situations in the field of writing and publishing where ethics (or their lack) have made a difference. We’ll discuss some examples of ethical decisions Christian writers face and, as a part of that, define the phrase “Christian writer.” And we’ll examine the axiom “Let your conscience be your guide” for elements of biblical truth.

Whether you realize it or not, you make ethical decisions every day. Join me in “Ethics for Christian Writers” and learn how to apply your faith to your writing in a biblical, personal, and transparent way.  

 

What are some ethical questions you’ve come across in yuor reading or writing?

 

Marti Pieper’s passion to read, write, and pray makes her life an adventure. She holds an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with concentrations in Ethics and Communications. Find her at www.martipieper.com or serving as chaplain at the FCWC.

 

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