Has a secular writer has ever been rejected because their story was too heathen?
While I don’t want to come across as disrespectful and snarky, I do think it’s important to give some thought to the above question. Christian writers are often cautioned against being too preachy…too explicitly Christian. And, frankly, for some reason something about that concern bothers me.
In all intellectual fairness, it must be stated that there are various ways for a Christian worldview to manifest itself. A great example of this is the (Protestant) Bible. It’s a collection of sixty-six books that contain examples of multiple genres written by a host of personalities–all guided by the Holy Spirit. Some parts are explicit in their God-talk and others are less so. One book doesn’t even mention the name of God at all.
But, when it comes to Christian writers writing stories, what fuels the concern about being too preachy? By the way…[Larry slides out a different soap box and jumps aboard]…as a preacher, I take offense to the way the words “preach” and “preachy” are used. [Larry surveys the room and realized that no one else is here, so he shouts, “Amen! Preach it, brother!” Then, feeling silly, he gets off the second soapbox and returns to the first].
Are we to strike a balance between entertainment and mission? Or do we have to choose between the two? How much is business-driven and how much is a reflection of the current state of American Christianity?
What do you think?
As far as many children in America are concerned, Mother Goose is more relevant than Father God.
That happens when the Bible’s historical accounts are taught as “cute little stories”, complete with comic strip characters. It happens when our children are taught Bible history that has been revised from fact to fable. It happens when are children are exposed to a system that intentionally expels the Bible from the room when a discussion about “real-life, real-time” world history is about to begin. This is done in the name of tolerance, which usually means that everything–except the Bible–is invited to contribute to the discussion.
As a Christian who writes fiction, I do so based on one non-negotiable conviction: the stories I write are ways to communicate knowable, powerful, and Divinely inspired truths from God. I didn’t say my stories were divinely inspired…I said that my stories ARE BASED ON the truth that comes from God and can be found in the Bible. I believe the Bible is the Word of God in the language of mankind. And any meaningful truth that I seek to highlight in my books can be found in the Bible. I don’t create truth, but I am called to proclaim it.
A Christian writer who does not have a firm belief in the Bible as true and accurate is not Christian at all. They are religious probably, but not Christian. My claim to be a Christian is based upon my response to the Christ that has been revealed in the Scriptures. If I can not trust the validity of the Bible, than I have nothing but religious fancies upon which to base my stories. And that’s not worth my time.
God has dealt with mankind in the context of literal times, places, and events. He made sure those real events we needed to know about have been preserved in His book. And, someday, we are all going to meet the Author.
Oh, by the way, that’s a matter of literal history too.
I keep a library on my desk. Sometimes I carry it with me. I’ve even been known to take the entire collection with me when visiting someone in the hospital. I have the same library at home too.
It’s handy and affordable.
The reason that I love this portable library is because it’s a gift from a dear friend. This collection of sixty-six books is more relevant than today’s newspaper. And I find out more about my friend, my world, and myself when I access this wonderful assortment of literal history, prophecy, poetry, and some of the greatest stories ever written.
My friend is a best-selling author. He knows a thing or two about communicating effectively…you know, the whole handwriting on the wall thing, just to name one. He understands the power and permanence of the written word.
My friend is God. The “library” of which I speak is the Bible.
Writer friend, understand that there is a unique influence that has been entrusted to us. No, I’m not suggesting that our words are on par to inspired scripture, but I am saying that God has entrusted us with a powerful tool. We have the honor of learning from God’s Word, and then teaching the great lessons in story form. Lets just make sure we’re staying in His Word while we’re trying to carry out this incredible task.
What are you reading in the Bible this week?
(see previous post for Part 1)
Our only weapon in the spiritual battle is the Word of God. Let’s be clear on that. The stories we write do not take the place of God’s living Word. In fact my stories are only effective if they are based on firm scriptural truth. I need to think of them as a “this is how God & His Word brings victory in place of defeat, light in place of darkness, life in place of death” applications of what God’s Word reveals.
So if you and I, as writers, are not feeding from the Bible, we have robbed our writing of its most powerful–life-giving–force. The kind that touches souls and not just emotions. And we are cutting our readers off from the only supply line that really matters.
So while we are well equipped for spiritual warfare, there is another great truth that we need to remember: we are not alone. Please re-read those last four words again. One more time–this time put “I” in place of “we”. Do you remember the last part of the quote from St. Francis de Sales that began Part 1 of these posts? It said:
…for without being seen, they [angels] are present with you.
We are not alone. We’re not alone when we pray for God to give, then bless story ideas. We’re not alone when we develop characters and story goals. We’re not alone when we bang out word after word after word, only to cut or replace many of them. We’re not alone when we stare at the blinking cursor on our screens and wonder if we even know what we’re doing anymore. We’re not alone when the story rushes out of our minds & souls like a flash-flood sweeping down a muddy mountainside. We’re not alone when we type “The End” or when we finish polishing that proposal and with trembling finger punch the Send button. We’re not alone during those tortuous weeks or months when no response plops down in our Inbox. We’re not alone when the rejections come. And we’re not alone when God says “Yes” and we sign a contract and enjoy the fruits of our labor.
WE ARE NOT ALONE! EVER! NOT FOR ONE SECOND…ONE WORD…ONE JOY OR SORROW.
God never abandons His troops. We are surrounded by a reality beyond the veil. Like the servant of Elisha, we need to know that the hills are filled with God’s mighty angelic warriors.