Words Tangled Up in God

For me, faith, writing, and recovery are intrinsically connected. These three very different things are intertwined, tangled threads of a beautiful tapestry.

favorite-place-1674986_1920

I wrote my first stories as a young boy. Growing up an only child left me ample time to employ my imagination. Through the years, my writing benefited from excellent teachers and mentors, many of whom I did not realize were influencing my creative prose at the time. In those years, Marshall High had a stable of phenomenal teachers. Most of us, me especially, did not recognize how good they were at teaching us.

Attending Marshall High School, my writing profited from the solid teaching of Mrs. Douglas and Mrs. Muchmore. Although dramatically different in their style and approach, both were adept instructors molding my skills even before I fully recognized writing as my calling. A dear family friend recently remarked that she could see Mrs. Douglas’ DNA on the way I write, particularly in the manner that I craft sentences and in the very deliberate, intentional organization of my story. Mrs. Muchmore served as one of my earliest encouragers, lauding the words I put on paper.

My Great American Novel should already be complete by now. But, it isn’t. Life threw me some unanticipated curve balls. That really irks me because I pride myself on my ability to anticipate. However, life takes detours in between here and now. All is not lost, albeit that it is different. Over the years I have managed to write a batch of stories, poems and even a couple of plays. My publishing success has been limited. I chalk that up to being my own fault.

The past three years, as a member of our local writers group, the Writers Guild of Texas, and through creating content for this blog, I have been able to rekindle my craft. It has not be easy. At times, it has been really rough. Telling a story isn’t simply a matter of putting a bunch of words on paper. Writing is a craft. Writing is a calling.

Like me, my writing has changed. I’m not the same writer that I was a quarter century ago. I’m not the same person. What I cared about writing about then isn’t what I care to write about now. But I still have stories to tell. Getting to know Jesus has affected my writing. For me, writing has very much become a form of worship. It has even become a means of ministry.

pray-2558490_1920

Similar to my journey of faith and recovery, my writing remains a work in progress. Words can change the world. I believe that God uses the stories we tell for the good of His kingdom. At least, I believe He can. I don’t write in a vacuum. God has a plan for my writing. Sometimes, I am fortunate that He lets me in on it. But as is true with ministry most of the time, I simply need to be obedient and remain faithful in this creative calling.

Recovery impacts my storytelling too. The stories I care about clean and sober are not the same that appealed to me when I wrote drunk and high. Thankfully, sobriety has permanently altered my perspective. For me, I write with a greater purpose.

Faith, writing, and recovery. These 3 things remain intricately linked.

workstation-336369_1920

Photos courtesy of Pixabay.

Being a Christian Writer

The world likes to put people in boxes. We like genres and categories. They help us identify who belongs where. More importantly, labeling things helps us know where we belong. In this seemingly hap hazard world we inhabit, giving things a name provides us comfort. It’s a principle that goes back to the most ancient of times.

Writing is hard enough without trying to fit into a niche created by a marketing guru simply to sell books. After all, writers, like all craftsmen, must remain true to themselves. Doing otherwise would be practicing in bad faith.

So what does it mean to be a Christian writer?

Is a Christian writer someone who writes stories involving Christian characters living in Christian environment doing Christian things? Or does being a Christian writer refer to your craft being influenced by your particular worldview?

What kind of stories to Christian writers tell? Is it okay for a Christian writer to write stories that don’t have a religious theme or undertone? Does being a Christian writer mean that anything you write is seen through the lens of your worldview? Are Christian writers free to write about the same subjects that non-Christian writers write about?

Yes…there are lots of questions.

El Rancho Bantau silk

Personally, I have come to believe that being a Christian writer means that I write stories from a Christian perspective. My characters may not all be believers. My stories may not all take place in a religious setting. Being true to myself as an artist means not separating what I believe from what I create.

Although I am free to write about anything, as a Christian it is important that I choose wisely and avoid writing stories that might discredit my witness or that might defame the glory of God. Our Creator instilled the very talent in me that I aim to use. It is up to me, like with all things He provides, to steward that gift well, ultimately to bring Him glory.

At the end of the day, the stories I tell are not my own, but ones that He intends for me to tell, for the edification and equipping of the saints and for proclaiming the Gospel with a lost and fallen world.

Temple Mound_silk

I think that’s what it means to be a Christian writer—my worldview informs my craft. It’s not simply a marketing tag putting me in a box; instead, it is what gives my writing purpose and direction.

How about you? How does your worldview impact your craft?

This world isn’t as hap hazard as we may perceive it to be.