Your God Is Too Small

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.

4 thoughts on “Your God Is Too Small

  1. Couldn’t agree more!! I just stumbled across a terrible article about what’s happening in children’s literature – I believe my books can counter the negative, destructive message that so many books are promoting to kids. I believe being an author is God’s plan for my life. And I believe that what I hold dear resonates through the pages of my books, regardless of how overtly Christian they are. Keep writing!

  2. I am a Christian that writes. I don’t try to force my beliefs in to my writing but neither do I try to take them out. I write stories – I write things that I’d want to read and that tends to be Science Fiction and Fantasy. I also have no desire to be one of those “Christian” Fantasy/scifi authors that are clumsily trying force morality in to a story or force a story in to a moral message… I’ve read to many of those authors in the ancient halls of many a Christian Bookstore. My two main ‘influences’ as a Christian writer are CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Lewis said he never set out to write Christian fiction while Tolkien denied that his stories meant anything at all (as you pointed out.) I also tend to write pretty violent battle scenes, something that I know many “Christians” would not want to read…despite the Old Testament being really, really bloody. (Not that I’m complaining, just how it is.)

    Yet I know it all comes out in what I write. I am not *trying* to make it that way, but it there. My beliefs aren’t just “Something I believe in that helps keep society together.” They are the core foundation on which everything else is built. God is as well as this computer I am typing on or the relatives I have. Christ died for my sins. I am a *Christian* and one that would literally die before giving up these ideas. This will influence what I write no matter if I am trying to hide it or not. Might as well not try to hide it, my work will suffer for it. Neither will I, I hope, write cheesy moralistic stories that ham-fistedly try to force a tidy “Christian” message in to a place it shouldn’t be. HOwever God is there even in the darkest ally ways and most disgusting drug dens and brothels and there is always a light of hope. That, I pray, is what comes out in my writing. Even if it might seem to violent and/or dark for some people to read – it is obvious that I am not writing for them, heh.

    Anyway… sorry for the rant XD. This is just something I’ve been thinking about for a long, long time.

  3. I think this gives all Christian writers and all Christians some food for thought. Our lives and the things we write all comes out even if we say we weren’t trying to do that. I think it is a strong message to aspire to.

  4. I was just thinking about this topic yesterday. I will probably continue to struggle on and off with reconciling my love for writing and what I think the role of a Christian should be in this world. A lot of non-believers read and I guess if we touch a few of those we’ve made a positive contribution to the Kingdom. Good thought-provoking post.

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