This is the first of a series of discussions that I’m planning based on my experiences at RT 2015. These are thoughts that were inspired by specific panels, or by books from RT, or just by random passing things that happened there. I love that events like this help me to think critically about books, blogging and the publishing world in general!
So, today’s topic can be a little touchy. “Faith in Blogging” – just that part of the title, and some of you are probably tempted to hit delete (some people probably already have). Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll get as many readers for this discussion, but that’s okay with me. Because I still think it’s something that needs to be talked about.
NOTE: Throughout most of this post, I’m going to refer to Christianity (because that happens to be my faith and the faith of the authors that spurred this discussion), but everything I say here could really be applied to ANY set of religious beliefs. The discussion shouldn’t be exclusionary. I’m also going to assume that you’re not specifically a Christian (or other religious) book reviewer – because, well, then I’m assuming sharing your faith is not an issue for you.
What inspired this post, you ask?
Well, at one of the YA panels, a question was posed (that I won’t even talk specifically about because that would get me majorly sidetracked) that prompted Kiera Cass to say that she’s a Christian and that she’s pretty open about being a Christian on her blog and social media (so true; a quick search brought up this fun post on her blog about scrapbooking style Bible journaling). A few authors later, Gena Showalter mentioned that she, too, is a Christian (you can find Gena’s testimony on her website). I could tell that, for both of them, especially in light of the question that was being asked, it was a little bit of a step of faith to just come right out and say, “Hey, I’m a Christian.” And I totally respected them for it.
After the panel, I specifically went up to both Kiera and Gena and shared with them that I was thankful that they put their faith out there. Both of them were super sweet and shared with me a little bit of their experiences. Kiera said that, for the most part, she’s had really great experiences with people of ALL faiths being receptive to her being open about her Christianity. Gena also said that she’s had some really positive interactions as well, but she also mentioned that it was definitely hard at first for her to share her story and that there have been some negative ramifications. Not everyone has positive things to say about an author who speaks out about God. But, Gena said that her faith is such a huge part of who she is that hiding it felt like denying a major part of herself – and she just couldn’t do it anymore. I left the conversation feeling really encouraged and uplifted. And that inspired this post.
What does this have to do with me?
Most of you who read my blog regularly, know that I’m a Christian. I believe in a God who loves me and who takes an active role in my life – I’ve seen direct evidence of that, but I won’t go into my specific story here. It’s not like I’m on here preaching or posting daily devotionals or anything, but my faith sometimes comes up in a Sunday Post when I’m talking about what went on in my week and it occasionally comes up in my reviews. I have to tell you that it was a tiny bit difficult for me to broach the topic of religion on this blog at first. The book blogging/publishing/writing community in general is often a little more liberal than some other communities, and the mere mention of the word religion can make some people cringe. I get it, I do. Actually, I’m a pretty liberal Christian (as you can probably tell from the types of books I read and review), so I sometimes cringe myself at certain things said and done in the name of religion.
But, just like Gena said, my faith is a part of who I AM. I can’t separate myself from it, any more than I can deny being a mom or an American or a woman. These are the things that make me Nicole. And my faith colors how I see the world, including how I respond to the books I read. When I see religion addressed in a book (especially as a side topic), I worry a little, I have to admit. I start to wonder how the Christian characters are going to be portrayed – will they all be judgmental fanatics? Will they be the devout parents who ruin the child’s life? Or will the book show the broad spectrum of Christians who I know in my own life? (I love when I see this!)
My faith also informs how I view issues in books – which is why I LOVE books that make you think about issues without giving pat answers. Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a fantastic example of a book that delves into the issue of the value of life (and even into the issue of abortion in a roundabout way) and truly makes you think and come to your own conclusions. LOVE this!!
Anyway, so I made it sound (in the title of this post) like I was going to be giving some ultimate wisdom about how to mention faith on your blog without making people upset. And, really, the actual answer may be that you can’t. You may HAVE to rock the boat a little bit. In fact, I think sometimes that I might be rocking the boat in a bunch of different directions – the mere mention of Christianity might turn some readers off, while plenty of Christian readers might be turned off by the types of books I read and review. (After all, LGBT is not acceptable reading among some Christians – neither is a lot of the New Adult stuff I read. I’d love to dive in and read more Christian books, but honestly, I’ve found many of the ones I have read to be just a little too cheesy, schmaltzy or preachy for my taste – I’d love recommendations for good ones if anyone has any!)
But here are a few basic guidelines:
- Don’t try to hide who you are. This is my biggest message here. No matter what your beliefs, don’t try to hide them simply out of fear of being misunderstood. If your faith is important to you, treat it that way and feel free to mention it now and again! Remember, this is your blog! (Well, probably – I guess if you’re a co-blogger, you’ll have to discuss this with your partner(s) in crime, but hopefully they’ll be open to you sharing this part of yourself.)
- Sprinkle it in. I wouldn’t recommend blindsiding everyone with a sudden diatribe on faith if you’ve never even mentioned it on your blog before. This is definitely the most I’ve ever discussed faith on my blog, but I’ve been throwing in references to it for the past two years. Hopefully none of you are shocked by the revelation that I’m a Christian!
- It’s all about tone. When you do include issues of faith in a post, pay attention to your tone. Just like with any controversial subject, your attitude makes all the difference. This is especially tough in the written word because inflection and body language are missing. Read, read and reread what you wrote and think about ALL of the ways it could be taken. Does it really say what you want it to say? Trust me, I’ve had plenty of “friendly debates” with people (both Christians and non-Christians) – even about really touchy subjects. It can be done if everyone keeps their cool and stays away from personal attacks. I am a firm believer in the idea that friendly debate is always healthy.
- Know that it might end badly. When it comes down to it, someone might respond negatively to you mentioning your faith. No matter how delicately you try to phrase something, someone might misinterpret you or just plain hate what you have to say. And, in the end, you can only control your side of the conversation. (Though you can, of course, delete comments if they are hostile.) You might lose a follower or two. You have to be okay with that.
- Remember, sharing is caring. (Yep, I totally stole that from the Care Bears.) The same way that we gain perspective about people who are different from ourselves by reading books, we can gain perspective from reading each other’s blogs too! Every time you represent your faith in a positive way, you are helping someone else to understand where people of your religion might be coming from.
Now, after saying all that, I have to say that I haven’t ever received any really negative feedback because of mentioning my faith on my blog. I’ve felt the tension occasionally when it’s come up in “real life,” but I’ve never had a nasty comment or anything – and if anyone’s unfollowed me because I mentioned faith, I didn’t know about it. My lovely followers, I’d like to think, are free-thinking people who are willing to open their minds to my perspective on life, even if it doesn’t match their own. I hope that’s encouraging to anyone out there who’s been nervous about broaching the subject of their faith on their own blog!
This post is amazing. I am a Christian myself, and as Christians I find that we often battle with being accepted but not wanting to hide the very part of ourselves that makes us, us. There’s always that lingering though about hmm, how will my readers respond. All of what you said was valid, and true. A lot of what I read or don’t read has a lot to do with my beliefs. It’s hard for it not to, when it’s such a large part of me. I’m typically drawn to authors, characters, and books that mention God positively. I think you give great advice, and I’m sharing this post on my twitter. Bravo!
Yes, it’s such a hard balance. Of course, we don’t want to upset or offend people by making big statements about religion on a blog that’s supposed to be focused on books, but the fact is that our faith is too much a part of us to ignore. I’m glad that this post was encouraging to you!
First and foremost – good for you for taking the leap and talking about something personal for you, that can also be controversial. *HUGS*
For me personally, it’s best to not discuss my religious beliefs, what they might or might not be, on my blog. I know it is my space and for me to discuss whatever I want, but from personal experience it never EVER ends well. I know there is always talk of “acceptance” but I have seen evidence on the contrary. As for other blogs, I don’t shy away from those posts, because they are enlightening to the reader and I love seeing everyone’s POV. However, your comment about tone is right because if it sounds “preachy” then I skip. (honestly, I haven’t even seen many blog posts about this, now that I think about it)
Although, I feel like with any topic mentioned on your blog, you have to be accepting too and even expect others to disagree. Religion is one of the TOUGHEST and touchy topics. Not that anyone should be “bullied” or judged, but the world is full of opinionated people and there will always be someone that will disagree. Many times, it’s the replies that bother me.
Now I am rambling. Great post lady! 😀
Sorry that you’ve had negative experiences with this. Faith (or lack thereof) is such a personal decision, and it makes me sad that you’ve had bad encounters with people over it – the pendulum definitely swings both ways. It can be hard to talk about religion no matter what side of the fence you sit on!
This was a really interesting post to read! I don’t believe I’ve mentioned that I’m Christian on my blog. However, I have briefly discussed some of the cornerstone beliefs of the Christian faith because they fit with my post about Christ figures in literature. (Readers really need to know who Christ was/is in order to spot a Christ figure.)
I think it’s fine when people discuss their faith on their blog, be it Christianity or not. I find it interesting to learn about people’s faith because it shapes who they are. Thanks for broaching this topic! I’m interested to see what others have to say.
I read that post about Christ figures on your blog actually – it was really interesting! I agree that I like learning about all aspects of the bloggers I follow, and religion is one part of that!
Great post! It’s so refreshing to see a post like this. I actually felt a pull last year to incorporate my Christianity into my blog more and started a feature “What I Read & How I Linked YA Lit With the Bible” which reminds me, I need to make more posts under this feature haha but anyway, it’s so awesome to see the effort that is being put into incorporating all that is within you (no matter what your faith is), respectfully, on your blog and not being ashamed about it. It’s so freeing. Great tips!!! Can’t stress tone enough! That is so important. All the best!
I’ll have to go check out your feature – that sounds really interesting!!
Very insightful post here! I’m pretty sure that in some of my reviews, I’ve talked about my being a Catholic and how some books inspired me a lot when they use their faith as a source of strength, but it’s something that I also never really make a big deal of. I don’t hide it, definitely not, but it’s only something I bring up when it’s necessary to the post or a factor/element in a book resonated to that part of me. I’m glad, though, that you’ve decided to be open about this part of your life on the blog. I always like it when people do that because I like learning about people and their inspirations/strengths in life. Go, you!
Yes, just mentioning faith here and there when it applies to a book that you’ve read (or maybe in a Sunday Post type thing where you talk about your outside life) is really all I would normally expect. I certainly didn’t think that I would be writing a whole huge post on the topic, but that little moment at RT just sparked this discussion thought in my head and … there you have it. Like you, I love learning about the people behind the blogs I read!
I agree with Ardelia: “I find it interesting to learn about people’s faith because it shapes who they are.” I really enjoy getting to “meet” people through their blogs (maybe because I live in a rather isolated rural area in real life!) and if they wish to share their faith in an honest, open-minded way I’m all in favor of that. It’s also fine if they keep it private. Personally, I haven’t talked about my faith on my blog because it just doesn’t seem to fit in. But if I ever do, your ideas will be really helpful.
Yes, I do know that some people choose not to speak about faith simply because they prefer to keep that sort of thing private in general. But I just thought I would encourage people who wanted to mention it, but felt awkward about it. Like you said, I love getting to know other bloggers and this is one major aspect of a lot of people’s lives!
I just recently became a Christian and I am struggling with how to approach it on my blog so I am so very glad that you wrote this post. I also really like to read horror so I have been curious about what Christians read and how you review. I think this is going to be an awesome path for me but right now it is scary!
I also really liked that you said that all viewpoints for religions matter. I want to get that Coexist sticker on my car and I am just not sure if that goes against what Christians are supposed to believe. For me my biggest answer is that Jesus wanted to promote love first and foremost and accepting others as we wish them to accept us seems like a first step (for me).
I may have some questions for you later if you do not mind! 😀
Feel free to shoot me an email and ask away! I’m happy to answer any questions you might have (and share a little more personally my beliefs in a one-on-one kind of way). I know that when you’re a new believer there are so many questions about what’s “acceptable” – the best thing you can do is ask people’s opinions so that you feel informed but then make the final decisions yourself. If you’re seeking truth, then you’re already headed in the right direction! And I definitely agree that Jesus’s message was pretty clear – first and foremost, he chose to love.
You’re opening a can of worms! 😀
It’s ironic you wrote this post when you did! A few weeks ago someone asked me why I wouldn’t read m/m or overly religious books. At first they tried to insist it was because of my religion even though it’s not. I think religion on blogs can definitely go one way or another, it’s all about acceptance and understanding. Some people see any mention of religion as a front to their own, while others are cool with whatever. As you said, the tone and way you present your belief is going to be the deciding factor.
Yes, you do take a bit of a chance that people might see it as an affront when you mention religion, but hopefully most people will be open to your beliefs if you don’t present them in a judgmental way. 🙂
This is a great post! I am a Christian and I have talked about it on my blog. I sometimes review religious books on my blog and I review books that do not have Christian values in them. I’ve never experienced anything negative on my blog but I’ve had people in real life make comments about how I shouldn’t review books that aren’t Christian friendly. I just kind of let it go. I know where I stand in my faith and if others don’t approve of something I do or do not do, that’s okay. I don’t do too much “preaching” on my book review blog. I save that for my blog I write with my husband because it’s a Christian faith blog. No one, Christian, Muslim, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc. should be embarrassed or ashamed to share their faith even if it’s just a simple, “Yep, I’m a _____”.
I’ve never had anyone specifically comment on the books that I review, but I have worried about it from time to time. I actually teach in our K-1 classroom, so every once in a while I wonder what parents might think if they stumbled across my blog sometime. I haven’t made any effort to hide it or my identity. And I’m certainly not preaching on here, but I do like feeling free to mention my faith when it suits me!
A very interesting and thoughtful post! I’m an atheist, and it’s not something that I really talk about much on my blog because of the same kind of… discrimination (for lack of a better word, I am really tired!) But as you have probably guessed from reading my books, I like to include religion and some basic thoughts on it as part of a character’s whole life without being even too in-depth about it. Isa in SUMMER HAIKUS was raised Buddhist and her father is Catholic with his new wife. It’s “sprinkled in” as part of their background. Same with Sanaa in the Nogiku books, though she finds some religion in the last one.
As an atheist, I like to observe all religions, their bad and good parts, and consider how those things affect friends, family, or characters in my books. I have a lot of respect for those that wish to practice religion and those that do not, and I find it intolerable when people judge each other based on religion, so I tend to be pretty relaxed about this. I think my biggest fear as an author in this case is running across reviewers who are not as liberal and are offended by what I write. But they could totally be offended by anything in a story, so I also try to relax about that as well 🙂
I kind of got the idea that you were either athiest or maybe agnostic from your books, but I love that you explore religion in your books and how it affects your characters. Like you say, you can’t please everyone, so I suppose someone could be offended by the way you portray religion, but if you wrote to please everyone you pretty much couldn’t write at all!
(By the way, I’ll admit to being slightly worried in Face Time that I was going to be cringing at all the judgmental Christians, but I think you did a good job of making it balanced – I remember being happy that you had the main character’s friend as a non-judgmental counterpart to her father, who was an all-around bad example of a Christian!)
Lol. He was an all-around bad example of a human being! I like to make religion a part of a character’s life, but not a focal point. One of my crit partners wrote a great YA book that had religion at its central focus and I hope it gets published someday. I really have yet to see anything like it in the market. When I read it, I was blown away by how beautifully she dealt with everything. I could never do that. 🙂
(And yeah, I gave up the agnostic label about 10 years ago and just went atheist. I didn’t like the uncertainty of agnosticism and preferred to just take a side. 🙂 )
Okay, now I need to know the name of this author so that I can start stalking her now!!
As a pretty non-religious person, I really like this post. Being Christian is part of who you are, just like being a retired teacher is a huge part of who I am. I don’t write entire posts about it, but it gets mentioned in some posts. If I wrote a blog about being a teacher it would be different, just like if this was a faith-based blog instead of a book blog. I always find anything presented moderately is a good thing.
Exactly! I don’t think I’ll write another whole post about this (probably ever), but my faith does get mentioned from time to time because it’s a big part of my life. I’m glad it doesn’t bother you!
I am not a religious person and faith doens’t play a role in my life, but I try to be open about the topic and I actually find it interesting to hear about people or bloggers for whom faith does play a role. I think as long as it isn’t preaching or you aren’t forcing other to do the same as you there is nothing wrong with sharing your story, your faith or your believes.
I am a vegetarain, but I am not going to force others to become so, it’s a personal choice. I also don’t mind slicing and dicing raw meat and bake it for my boyfriend. I don’t mind it if others eat meat, but I won’t. Okay so this isn’t the same as a religion and it impacts my life less, but I just wanted to explain that I think believing things is okay as long as you don’t force your believes or faith on others. I think you handle it very well on your blog. And like Elizabeth worded it so nicely, your faith is part of who you are and it’s okay to mention it in posts.
One of the books with religion I have read is Cindy Ray Hale her series Destiny and I thought it was well done in there It showed moderation and also a borader specturm of religious people. I think your basic guidelines are great! I think sprinkling it in and your tone is very important when it comes to certain topics. Great post Nicole!
I’m so glad you mentioned that Destiny series because I enjoyed that one, but I don’t think I actually finished it! I need to go back and look at that!
I love this post. Didnt really have much to say but wanted to let you know I agree with a lot of what you wrote.
Thanks, Joycedale! It means a lot to me that you took the time to comment!
This is a great post, Nicole! Thank you for writing it. Like you, I’m also a Christian. It sometimes comes out in my blog, and sometimes it doesn’t, it just depends on the kind of post I’m writing. I honestly don’t find religion offensive. Even when other people are talking about their religion on their blog even if it is different from mine. I don’t know if it’s because I’m used to being around people of varying religions (because I have done mission work before or because I have roommates who of a variety of religions), but it doesn’t ever really offend me. I’m quite the advocate of ‘blogging your way’. You can say that you are a book blog, but add a smattering of personal posts, or your can put yourself in a completely different category, but I think as long as you are happy with your blog, then you will ultimately be okay. Yes, you will have some people who are rude and may even tell you so, but in the long run, did you really want them following you anyway? I think this is a great discussion post, and it should be talked about in the blogging community! 🙂
Yes! I remember reading a post on a friend’s blog about how she is Muslim and how her religion was portrayed in a specific book and I loved learning that about her! It’s a big part of who she is, and I love getting to know other bloggers – not just their taste in books, but other things too! 🙂
Good topic, Nicole!
I am a humanist, and I definitely see it affecting my blog at times. I don’t mind telling people that any kind of religious posts usually turn me off. I knew you were a christian from posts in the past. Somewhere, I know you mentioned it. I don’t mind if people talk about their religion, but books with heavy religious undertones definitely turn me off. I don’t know why you would think it would turn your readers off for you to talk about what inspires you. What I love about the way you mention your faith, is that it is YOURS and not necessarily the only way to go. I do hate when people try to sway my thoughts either way. I think that is definitely crossing a line for me.
Okay, first of all, I confess that I had to go look up what humanism is (I had an idea, but not a clear one). 🙂 Secondly, I’m glad you’ve never been offended by my mentions of Christianity. I definitely don’t think a book blog is the right kind of place for trying to sway people – if people are seeking, they’re certainly not coming to Feed Your Fiction Addiction for wisdom! 🙂
This is a beautiful post Nicole! Thanks for sharing:)
I myself am a Christian. But my views sometimes differ from the way I was taught to think.I was brought up in a conservative Christian community, go to a catholic school but at the same time, I am also an open minded person.
What I believe is that, there is a God.And I believe in him and love him deeply. He’s the life force that guides me, the conscience that rights me and the courage that motivates me. But I don’t believe in religions. I don’t believe in institutionalizing the concept of God and faith, and dividing people into groups based on it.
My faith has changed a lot over the years – it’s personal and you need to come to it in your own terms and decide what it means to you personally, separately from the way you were raised, so I think it’s great that you’re making those connections for yourself!
Well, I think you have to be very careful when talking about religion on the internet. I purposely avoid the topic, because it’s very easy to upset people. There is no wrong or right in religion, that’s why it’s difficult to clearly state what you believe in without seeming patronizing. Sprinkling it in if you want to is fine, but on a blog that’s not about faith it’s probably not a good idea to state it all the time.
I agree that it is easy to upset people when you talk about religion – though I do think that how you talk about it makes all the difference. I don’t really plan to mention my faith any more than I have in the past (certainly don’t plan to do any major posts like this one about it again – though I guess I never know for sure what the future may bring), but I also won’t specifically try to avoid it. Totally respect your decision not to talk about it if you feel more comfortable with that, though!
This is a really fabulous post, Nicole! (In fact, I read it in my email, and wanted to comment, which was why I asked you about your blog not working last night!) I am bummed that I couldn’t add it to my weekly recap in time, but I will next week because I think you have made some amazing points!
So. I don’t have faith. Of any kind, really. I wish I did sometimes, because well, we’d all like something to believe in, no? I digress. I do know that religion is a part of your life, and I absolutely, 100% respect that. And I find YOU to be 100% respectful of everyone else, too, which I think is the big message here.
I know even in the Twitterverse, there has been an issue with religious topics coming up and arguments and such. A friend of mine (and I won’t mention names or specifics for her sake) was kind of ostracized for talking about being a Christian.. in a religious chat! I guess they wanted non-Christian, but other religious people, to be chatting? I don’t know, but it made me very upset for her. She wasn’t saying anything inflamatory, just the same kind of stuff you mentioned- about religions in books, worrying about how Christians would be portrayed, etc.
It would never, EVER bother me if someone talked about faith on their blog. (Unless their faith was “I believe in hurting bunnies and burning orphanages” or something, then I am probably out 😉 ) I might not necessarily agree with a viewpoint, but that doesn’t make it wrong, and it doesn’t offend me. How boring would the blogging community be if we all believed in the exact same things? I LOVE that we are diverse, in every way, including beliefs, or lack thereof.
Fabulous post, I am really happy that you took the leap and decided to discuss this. I can only assume that a LOT of religious bloggers will find a lot of comfort in knowing they aren’t alone!
Thanks, Shannon! I’m so sorry for your friend – unfortunately, when you do talk religion there’s always the chance of upsetting people. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is. You kind of just have to make the decision to talk about it anyway and then try hard to have a thick skin about it. (Easier said than done, I know.) I just try to make sure that I’m careful and tolerant on my side of the conversation and try to remind myself that I can’t control other people – and that there are unfortunately people in this world who just like to be inflammatory. It’s just a fact of life.
Thanks for your kind words, though. It means a lot to me that my blogger friends who don’t share my faith are behind me on this too!
[…] Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction talks about Faith in Blogging […]
I’m a Christian, so this post really spoke to me. I’m pretty conservative, so it’s hard to go to a public school sometimes where I feel scared to be open about my beliefs because a lot of people get angry about conservative Christian beliefs. There is so much pressure to share the beliefs of others around you at school. However, I have been lucky to make so many blogging friends that are Christians and actually share my views. I don’t know if blogging is a homeschooling thing or what, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out about the Christian community in the book and writing blogosphere because I really did not expect that when I first started blogging.
As for good Christian books, I highly recommend the Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. It’s clear in the books that they have elements of allegory, but they are in no way cheesy. I think they are spectacularly written and I fell in love with them right away. As a bonus, the author is really nice and she does a lot for her fans because she hosts a ton of writing/art/music contests. I would also recommend Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I hope you enjoy those books if you decide to check them out.
I would imagine that it would be hard in a public school to hold strong to your faith because there’s definitely a lot of pressure to conform there. I didn’t start homeschooling my kids for religious reasons, but I do love that we can incorporate God into our schooling and really talk about faith and how it applies to the things we’re learning. I’m glad you’ve found a great Christian community here in the book blogging world as a support system!
Oh, and I forgot to say – thanks so much for the book recommendations!! I will definitely have to check those out!
Wonderful post Nicole. I have no issues with anyone who shares their faith, sexual preference or opinion for that matter. I enjoy books that have a faith base to them, although I prefer the ones that don’t preach but rather share the character’s beliefs in a natural way. I don’t think anyone should hide who they are or be judged by what they believe, read or practice. As for how faith effects our choices in reading, I think other things do as well from life experiences to preconceived notions.
Yes, I definitely prefer books that explore faith without directly preaching. Not that I’m opposed to preaching (I do go to church on Sundays, after all), but I just don’t like it to feel “inserted” into a story. I HAVE read some great Christian books, but I think I’m kind of picky about them. And I definitely agree that there are MANY things that affect our reading choices – faith is just one!
I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian environment that I left when I turned 18. I’ve had some really negative experiences with religion (I’m cool with Jesus, but tend to have issues with some of his followers). I’m a liberal, which makes people assume that I hate religion and anyone who has faith. That’s so not the case. In general, I will support and defend anyone’s religious freedoms as long as they don’t come at the cost of other people or their rights.
I admit that I was expecting to disagree with every word of this post. I’ve come to expect certain things (objections about content, refusal to read LGBT books, etc.) and that wasn’t the case here. I think you approached this in the best way possible. And, honestly, even if it had been the post I (in my admittedly biased thinking) was worried it would be, I would support your right to say it. It’s your blog. If it had been that post, I would have quietly unfollowed and moved on. The worst I’ve ever done is subtweeted about a situation, never naming the blog.
One of the things I do when I decide to follow a blog is read a few posts to see how I line up with the blogger. If it’s a book blogger, I want to read a few reviews or discussions. We don’t have to agree about everything, of course I don’t need everyone to be the same, but if I saw something that advocated ideas I am opposed to (denying rights, decrying content) I probably wouldn’t follow. Beyond the ideas being upsetting to me, it would let me know that we approach the media in different ways and the reviews wouldn’t help me. This process of deciding who to follow or unfollow also goes beyond personal beliefs because if I see that a blog has reviewed books that I’ve read and we have wildly different opinions it probably won’t make it into my rotation. It just lets me know that the reviews aren’t going to be as helpful as I want them to be.
First off, kudos to you for actually reading the post before you clicked unsubscribe. (I actually did lose some subscribers this week and I kind of wonder if they actually read the post or just saw the title and fled! Either way, I’m okay with it – I knew it might happen when I wrote it.)
Sorry to hear that you’ve had some unpleasant experiences with Christians in your past. Unfortunately, those kinds of things can really stick with us. I’m kind of opposite of you – I was raised by a dad who taught me that Christianity (and religion in general) was just kind of silly and NOT something I wanted to get wrapped up in. It wasn’t until I was old enough to explore things for myself that I became a Christian (after first professing atheism for a while). I think that this range of beliefs has made me more tolerant of other viewpoints though – I get why people question religion (I did too!) and I know that it’s something very personal that we all have to decide for ourselves.
When it comes down to it, I just like hearing all kinds of viewpoints – even when they don’t match my own (assuming they’re not presented in a hateful or inflammatory way). I find the world to be a much more interesting place that way! 🙂 (Oh, but I totally get why you wouldn’t want to actually follow a blog if you know that you’re not going to agree with any of their assessments of books!)
Oh definitely! I have a tumblr, and while most of the people I follow line up with me politically, they encompass a wide range of religious beliefs! Pretty much as long as someone isn’t being intolerant or hateful, I can follow without issue. I’m choosier for book blogs because I want recommendations that are more to my taste. Thanks for the response!
People get SO WEIRD when you talk about religion. Like “CHILLLLLL I’m not trying to kill you or anything.” Personally, I’m also really religious but I tend to leave it out in blogging. I notice that I usually talk about my moral principles without mentioning my religion because it’s kind of a part of me. I think that your faith is totally a part of you and you should NEVER be awkward about talking about your religion. Personally, I love learning about others!
Yes, the mere mention of religion can feel like an attack to some people. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done about that. I agree that I love to learn about other people, though, and religion is one area that shapes a lot of people’s lives!
I can really relate to this post as a Christian who wonders how much of my faith to express through my blog. I feel like I have done a good job of “sprinkling” it in as you said, in a very natural way when appropriate. I’ve definitely never received negative feedback on my blog from mentioning it. It does make me feel like an outsider at times though because there are certain books that are really hyped that I know I probably won’t ever read because the content makes me uncomfortable. It’s sort of nice to see how many commenters felt the same way about their faith as well, Christian or otherwise.
Yep – you have to decide for yourself what you feel comfortable with and go from there. I’m glad that this post encouraged you!!
Love this post! I haven’t really talked about faith on my book blog because I’m not sure how to go about it. I might have mentioned it in passing with regards to a couple books, but in general I haven’t had much reason to talk about my faith on my book blog. I do have another personal blog in which I talk about life experiences. I’ve made many references to the Bible in my posts there.
This is the first time that I’ve had any occasion to talk about my faith more than just in passing on my blog (and I don’t know if/when I ever will again). Still, I think just mentioning it in passing is great -it means you’re not scared to share that part of who you are. No need to make a big deal of it, as long as you don’t feel like you’re nervously holding it back!
I’m a Christian also, and I’m so glad you posted about this! I’m a fairly new blogger, so I don’t have too many followers or casual readers to really offend, although I don’t think I’ve had much opportunity to really talk about my faith on my blog. I have a few Christian fiction books slated for this summer, but I haven’t read or reviewed any since starting my blog.
The thing that worries me the most is how I represent myself should anybody in my real life pull up my blog. Most of the pastoral staff at my church knows that I blog, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear that any of them checked it out. I’m also a youth leader, so there are a handful of girls, both jr.- and sr. high, who like to chat about books with me. I read a lot of YA, but there are still plenty of books (that I thoroughly enjoyed!) in the genre that I would be uncomfortable recommending, either because of language or sexuality or what have you.
That is a tough thing about blogging and deciding what to post. I have a bit of trouble with this myself. I am a K-1 teacher at my church and I sometimes wonder if parents might not like what they see if they stumbled on some of my reviews (not that my reviews themselves have content I’m worried about, but the books do). When I review, I ALWAYS put in a content rating and give a brief explanation of what’s in the book. Kris over at Imaginary Reads goes even a step further and gives a more in-depth description of content. Maybe you’d feel more comfortable that way? Then parents/kids could decide for themselves what is appropriate for them. I know that doesn’t completely solve the problem, but it might help!
I have so much that I would love to say about this post, but if I start I won’t be able to stop! I would love to just be able to have a conversation with you about it. 🙂 I am a Christian too, and I absolutely loved your post. It is an interesting balance, being a Christian, and a blogger who reads books like Harry Potter and talking about those books. My faith plays a role, because as you said, it is who I AM. But it is one thing to talk about your faith and beliefs, and quite another to try and shove it down someones throat. I love people, no matter who they are or who they love, or what they may believe or not believe. I try my best to never say something that could be hurtful to anyone, and I will always do my best. I will also be who I am too, and hope that people, no matter who they are, will accept me for it.
Your post was amazing, and everything that you said was done so well and respectfully! I appreciate you being honest and letting us (your readers) get to know you a little bit better!
Exactly – I feel like letting people know about my faith is just letting them know a little bit of who I am, and as long as I do it respectfully, I think it does nothing but add to my blog!
[…] @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction posted a really thoughtful post about whether it is okay to bring faith into play on your blogs. I really feel that this post is incredibly relevant and important, regardless of your beliefs or […]
I think it’s good that you’re sharing something as personal as your faith on your blog, Nicole! I don’t see myself as a ‘Christian’ but I do see myself as spiritual. So I don’t mind reading books where faith is a part of a character’s journey, as long as I don’t feel like I’m being preached to, and that the author is trying to convert me 🙂
Opening up a discussion about faith is quite courageous, because many people are so completely set in their ways they don’t want to hear anything that differs from their own point of view.
Thanks, Lexxie! Yes, sometimes religion can be such a hot button topic that people just can’t stand to hear about it – I get that there are people who have had negative experiences and they don’t want to broach the topic of religion, but hopefully there’s room for all of us to feel free to express ourselves (in respectful ways) and share that part of who we are.
Good on you for having a discussion post about! I am someone who is pretty open about my religion on my blog (fellow Christian here!) I posted a life update post where I mentioned my baptism and I got a lot of positive feedback on there, and when I do read Christian fiction and review it I do mention how it relates to me. But like you, when it comes to Christianity in books I always worry about how it is going to be portrayed as well. Try the book The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen. I loved how Melanie really portrayed Christianity there in a contemporary novel.
Thanks so much for the rec – I’ve heard of The Revenge Playbook, but hadn’t checked it out. Now I definitely want to!
[…] that I’m planning based on my experiences at RT 2015 (you can check out my posts on faith in blogging and diversity by clicking the links!). These are thoughts that were inspired by specific panels, or […]
I’m so happy I got to meet you at RT! I’m a Christian too and it can make some people uncomfortable talking about religion. I wish it wasn’t that way. I was at that same panel with Kiera Cass and Gena Showalter and I loved seeing the honesty there! Loved your post!
Hi, Megan! Yes, I’m so glad that I got to meet you too – meeting other bloggers was definitely one of the highlights of RT for me!! It’s great to get the perspective of someone else who was there, too – I really loved that Kiera and Gena mentioned their faith, when sometimes it’s easier to just keep quiet about it. It’s a shame that religion can be such a touchy topic, but I definitely think it’s worth talking about!
I’m a little late coming to the discussion, but I have a recommendation. Get a copy of Miriam’s Well by Lois Ruby. It’s been out of print for a short while, but Open Road Media is bringing out a new eBook edition in late July. It is an amazing story featuring two 8th grade students — one Jewish and one a member of an extreme Fundamentalist Christian sect. When Miriam is diagnosed with cancer, she and her family want to refuse medical treatment. The state wants to overrule them and force her to undergo chemotherapy. Adam wants his friend to live — but his lawyer father has been hired by Miriam’s church to represent their position in court. Adam sees this as a betrayal by his father.
It would be so easy to portray one or the other or even the middle-of-the-road Christian majority as the bad guys, but Ruby brings off an amazing story where everyone is the good guy. I think this is an amazing book to start the discussion of how faith and beliefs affect our opinions and actions.
Here’s a link to the book description on Goodreads –> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25757492-miriam-s-well
I’m very not into organized religion, but I enjoyed your post. It wasn’t preachy or trying to make me believe what you believe. I hate preachy posts or books on religion or any other topic, because I think it’s important to all respect that everyone else has a right to their own beliefs. I also really like that your post is something I can relate to even as someone who is not religious. Although I don’t have any beliefs that I feel the community can be hostile about, I do still struggle with how much about myself to put on my blog. Great post!
[…] thoughtful discussion on Faith in Blogging from Feed Your Fiction […]
[…] from RT, or just by random passing things that happened there. So far, I’ve written posts on Faith in Blogging, Reading and Writing Diversity and how meeting an author makes you so much more eager to read their […]
[…] Nicole talks about faith in blogging: how to stay true to who you are without rocking the boat. […]
This is a great post. I’m a Christian too, and I often feel alone in the blogosphere/book world because of it. I love finding the blogs of other Christians.
It’s so true that my religion and my faith are just part of who I am. I can’t separate myself from my religion any more than you could separate yourself from your head. Well, I guess you could, but that would be rather counterproductive.
Balancing my Christian viewpoint with my blogging has always been a tricky thing, but I’ve felt convicted that I shouldn’t just ignore my faith on my blog and pretend it doesn’t exist. I’m not preaching or anything, but I try to pepper it in and shed some light on a little more conservative viewpoint now and again. I hope that people will see my perspective and try to understand it the same way I try to do with theirs.
[…] Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction talks about Faith in Blogging […]
Thank you for this amazing article, great insights to be used in my next book. I am planning on starting my 2nd book.