(I wrote these thoughts on my writing many years ago and my perspective has not changed.)
In the midst of a culture filled with pain, hopelessness, selfishness, confusion, and every evil work, there is an honest (though sometimes whispered,) longing and cry for Truth. Entrenched in a subculture of Christians who know the Truth but speak in a language they may have forgotten the meaning of, there is often an honest denial of their pain and selfishness for the sake of not being seen as unfaithful or hypocritical. There are buzzwords, phrases, and ideologies coined for the sake of ministry: “Emergent”; “We must be relevant”; “seeker-friendly”; “Water down the Cross and de-emphasize sin unless you offend the seeker (not sinner,)” etc.
Some look for a happy medium in an effort to reach those who don’t know Jesus. They re-write the Bible in a way they hope those without Jesus will understand; they ignore the Blood that bought us salvation, and only talk of God’s love, not His holy demands. They emphasize, “God is not against anything, He is only for you.”
Where does my writing fit into all of this? Or does it? Someone who I shared “Underweight” with once said as an encouragement that I should “write a happy story.” But I don’t quite know (at least not yet) how to write a happy story. I only know how to honestly portray the darkness, pain, and doubt of life, and the light, healing and hope of God’s Word. As I stated in my Blog Manifesto, my credence for writing is to allow the honesty of the character to collide with the the truth of God and His Word. A subcreed is I want to respect people’s pain and not gloss over it. I think this may be something missing often in the Church today- especially in preaching. I am not speaking of glorifying someone’s pain, though some may be tempted to say I do so with my poetry. But just because it may be eloquent doesn’t mean I am glorifying it.
People kill themselves over their pain- whether physical or emotional- so it is obviously serious. Sometimes the joy doesn’t arrive the next morning but it lasts all night and awakens them the next day. And often it is more real than any faith they might have. This is not meant to say that they have a right to allow their pain to be their main focus- as if that is all they have and will ever know. To let pain be pre-eminent is to, in effect, worship or idolize it. Therefore, they make it into their god and allow it to take prominence over and attention away from the Lord. Whether they truly intend to or not, their pain becomes the focus of their worship as they forget that God can break through at any moment and bring them healing, peace, and joy.
I want my work to be honest and about the pain of being man and the joy of knowing God. Honesty on both sides can lead to the Truth being acknowledged and people being set free by God as they come to truly know Him and let Him move in their lives. Maybe my writing will never be famous or read by many. Maybe I will never be well-known and my writing won’t be accepted either in Christian circles or elsewhere. I actually don’t lose sleep over this. I want God to use my writing as He sees fit- to reach many or few- whomever He desires to reach it with. I will not be forced to fit into any subculture; conformity has never been my strong suit. But I will also not blatantly be disrespectful of the Church. I want to let the Lord fulfill His calling in my life and be respectful of people within and without the Church. I want to treat and love others the way God treats and loves me. In this way, I need no label to define me, no “ministry brand,” but only His Spirit leading and using me. If He does that, then it will be more than enough for me, both in my writing and life.