So I got this letter from a reader the other day. I’m posting it here, edited for space reasons, with his permission.

Mr. Broaddus,

You offered the chance to ask you a question on your website, so I’m taking you up on the offer. I’m in a quandary and you may have been through the same thing I have. The following is a private post I slapped on my blog:

“A bit of a background on this: I’m from a religious family (obviously) and my father holds five degrees (including a PhD) in biblical stuff. The PhD is from Dallas Theological Seminary and he currently teaches at Oregon Theological Seminary even though he lives in Colorado. My brother, who was a graphic artist in Cambridge, decided to move his family cross country to “follow the will of God” and start over in the basement of my parents’ house, attend Seminary and work in a nursing home. I guess it’s something he’s always wanted to do (he went to Norway on a missions trip when he was 15), but drawing advertisements paid the bills. Whatever works for him, I

guess.

“Now the black sheep here has never had a desire to do anything related to the missions business or the church. I have my own beliefs and I tend to keep them to myself. I think I’m more of a student of theology than they are in some respects because I’m willing to look around, open my eyes and see just what all these other religions, sects or teachings have to say. I don’t look down on anyone for their beliefs or their non-beliefs, and in return, I’d hope that no one would look down on me for my beliefs (or, for that matter, what I do for a living). Someone said it best once that religion and spirituality are two totally different things. Indeed.

“So, the consistent internal battle with the attitude of my parents and brother toward my writing genre is getting under my nerves a little more than usual. I could blame it on the season, but they’ve been this way for years. Never once have I heard any praise for selling a story, finishing a novel or whatever. If I sold a book for six-figures they’d probably wonder when I’m going to church. On the flip-side, if I followed my brother and became a missionary to Uganda and plummeted my family into poverty and lived on the edge of starvation, then they’d rejoice and all that stuff.”

Anyway, a friend asked me the other day if you could really be a

church-going Christian and a horror writer at the same time. Have you ever battled this type of dissent within your own family or church? If so, how do you deal with it?

I’ll post my response tomorrow.