(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

In The Wind in the Wheat, novelist Reed Arvin demonstrates the nobility of following one’s own calling, as well as the perils of power, fame, and wealth, even in a religious context. His protagonist, twenty-year-old Andrew Miracle, begins the story as a somewhat naïve idealist, adrift in a world of ordinary people. In the beginning of the novel, Andrew has just received a brief and simple vision from God, in the form of a voice saying that Andrew is love. Andrew lives with his mother and works on the farm built by her and his deceased father near the small town of Rose Hill, Kansas.

Andrew’s faith finds expression in the intimate, spiritual music he composes and performs at his church, where he has quietly become a small-town attraction. Andrew’s obvious talent prompts the church’s enthusiastic pastor, Cy Mathews, to arrange for Andrew to meet Cy’s friend, John van Grimes, who comes to the church accompanying Heaven’s Voices, a group of young musicians managed by John and his small Nashville company. After the concert, the three men meet, and Andrew plays and sings for John. Extremely impressed, John arranges for the group to have breakfast at the Miracle farm the next morning. With his mother’s blessing, Andrew agrees to move to Nashville and join Heaven’s Voices.

On his arrival at the Nashville airport, Andrew is met by John’s young assistant, Carolyn Hemphill, who introduces him to the city and to some of the workings of the Christian music business. The two form an immediate friendship that quickly evolves into romance.

At his first meeting with John in Nashville, Andrew is surprised not only to be joined by two executives from Dove Records, a Christian music label, but also to be informed that John would like Andrew not to join Heaven’s Voices as planned but instead to become a solo recording artist. Andrew eventually signs a management contract with John and a recording contract with Dove. Both contracts contain unusual provisions not beneficial to the inexperienced and trusting Andrew, and John secretly...

(The entire section is 849 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Arvin, Reed. “Romeo Must Die: Christian Publishers Censor More than Profanity in Their Quest Not to Offend.” Regeneration Quarterly 8, no. 1 (Spring, 2002): 6-8. Arvin’s first-person critique of editorial censorship at evangelical publishers, suggesting much of classic literature would not meet their narrow standards.

Mort, John. “The Christian Alternative.” In Christian Fiction. Greenwood Village, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 2002. Sets the background for contemporary Christian fiction and evangelical novels in particular; The Wind in the Wheat is cited as a distinguished example.

Riess, Jana. “Fiction’s Growing Pains: The Awkward Adolescence of the Christian Novel.” Publishers Weekly 249, no. 24 (June 17, 2002): S4-S9. Comments on the quality of Christian fiction; Arvin compares editorial direction from religious and secular publishers.