As I mentioned yesterday in my first official blog, I love being published, but I hate rewriting. I had company in town the last two days (my son, daughter-in-law and grandson), so I was otherwise distracted. But they headed back to Austin this afternoon, so I am faced with no excuses to keep me from getting back to editing my book. Other than this blog, that is. And so, following the path of creative avoidance, here am I….
Yesterday, someone posted the comment that the world didn’t need another novel, they needed to hear about Jesus. I agree wholeheartedly. And as you probably expected, I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. But it’s not just a matter of quantity when you are talking about getting the message of Jesus to the world. If that were the case, you could just post it on the Internet (“Hey, guys, the end is near, Jesus is coming, so get your act together.”). But that message has been already broadcast so much that many who see it have become jaded. (“Yeah, I heard; so what are the Yankees doing today?”) I think that when Christians get serious about sharing the Good News, they need to do two things: (1) Show the world that being a Christian makes a difference with their lives; and (2) get creative about how the word gets out there.
The first challenge is probably the biggest. As they say, the biggest argument for Christianity is Christians, and the greatest argument against Christianity is Christians. People–billions of people–are watching Christians to see if and when their belief make a difference in the way they live and the world around them. So far, the jury is still out. There are some very good Christians out there–and when I say “good” I mean people who are representative of Jesus Christ. And unfortunately, there are some very bad Christians. So who should the world look at?
So I try to surrender myself to Jesus every morning and ask for Him to move in my life. Then I go out and live it.
The second challenge, creative Christianity, takes me back to a book I read several times entitled Your God Is Too Small by J.B. Phillips. Great book. The premise is that many try to put God in a pigeon hole where he can be predictable and stale. Phillips wants us to challenge all those stereotypes. As we get to know who God really is, we need to learn to peel the layers back like an onion. One of my favorite quotes from Phillips is this: “The continual emergence of the God behind God is the mark of creative courage in the religious sphere.” That’s one of those quotes you really have to think about.
That brings me back to the comment from yesterday. How creative are we in our efforts to tell the world the Good News of Jesus Christ? When I get to the end of my life, I want to feel that I have made a difference, if only that my voice in proclaiming that Jesus is Lord is a unique voice. And that uniqueness may come from my writing. Some conservative Christians have issues with novels and the reading and writing of novels. I’m not sure if it’s because they are fiction, or because so many novels have been seedy in days past. But to me it is just another venue for sharing what I believe. But it is one that gives you access to millions of people. If you are a good writer, that is.
One more comment before I stop. Christian Author Stephen Lawhead wrote about the influence J.R.R. Tolkien had on his writing. He told how many people tried to show how various things in his stories about Middle Earth paralleled the great battle between good and evil in this world. Tolkien finally just said, “It doesn’t represent anything; it’s just a story.” Lawhead went on to tell how he had discovered that the beliefs that an author truly believes and lives will come out in his or her writing, regardless of what he or she writes. That concept is extremely liberating for Christians. Rather than beating the world over the head with guilt-ridden messages that they don’t want to hear, all we have to do is share stories–entertaining stories–while living the Christian life and allowing that life to bleed through into what we write.
That’s my philosophy. Others will have a different one I am sure. I’m open to hearing what you think.