Can you believe all there is to think about as we start another year? So much to evaluate and reevaluate–and there’s never time for it all.
One of my resolutions for 2007 is to make sure that every new thought that glides across your screen here begins with a question: Does this affirm the greater purpose of what writers do? I’ve missed that goal at times, and I’ve allowed many things to get in the way. So first off, I’d like to start with an apology, for not leading more consistently from my heart for writers. The changes I’ve seen in the industry over the past year convince me Christian writers are escaping the stigma of substandard work and moving forward. Yet frustration and fatigue have clouded my judgment, and I’ve offended needlessly–when I intended to offend with purpose.
Thanks to some wise counsel, I’m learning to express truth and beauty with love, and it isn’t such a struggle to say what I mean when it’s simply coming from that simple goal.
Certainly, the Internet breeds misinterpretation, and a little controversy doesn’t derail the larger work going on. But I do hope those who’ve taken offense will accept my apologies for besmirching the difficult work they do. It is not my intent to undermine sincere efforts or pure hearts.
It is my intent, however, to divide us where truth and lies become indistinguishable. It’s been difficult to clarify this purposeful division for everyone because there are assumptions, reputations, and great advances made (pun intended) on the pretense of "not rocking the boat."
I’m writing this post tonight to reestablish the purpose of Your Writers Group–it’s been misunderstood by many. What’s frustrated me is that it’s almost as though my words are misunderstood intentionally by a clan of usual suspects who come off looking very regal as they drag through the mud our sincere concern for the negative image Christian writers are given. If I’m demonized because Christian writers are disrespected by the larger market, that’s fine. But some very well-respected folks in CBA assume it’s blindness to their feelings that keeps me from changing this message. On the contrary, it would be blindness to ignore the truth and the passion that convinces me to continue encouraging Christian writers to press on.
Yes, it bothers me that we can’t all agree. But everyone sees things differently and if my detractors think I’m divisive and harsh or high and mighty, I know my heart. And if I’ve come off harshly, I do apologize. Yet sometimes harshness is read into my words where I’ve intended only love, and that’s when I realize it’s a spirit problem. Let she who has ears to hear tell me I’m being too harsh in saying that Christian writers don’t always live up to their own high standards, and I will choke down my words and take down the blog.
The fact is we all need encouragement in this fight to balance commercial viability with high quality inspiration, and I can’t abandon the truth to make myself or anyone else happy. If that sounds laughably pious, I’m an easy target. It isn’t intended that way. Simply, my naive goal is to love my fellow writers and friends who work to produce their very best every day, and not bow to compromise under the great pressures that face us in this industry of Christian book selling. Where we are without love, we become useless.
Yet where we are without biblical insight, we become substandard. Truth and love must be balanced as the two hands that lift us to success in this life. Just as acquisitions editors are often challenged to balance commercial viability with inspired content, no truly successful book endeavor can be complete without both. The goal of both is to interweave those goals: commercial and inspired, truth and love. They don’t take turns and alternate; they become one and the same.
This is the ideal, whether we accept it or not, whether we always state it clearly or not. It’s falsehoods and illogic that convince us otherwise. For our purposes here, I want to add beauty into the mix, but don’t be confused: it’s still truth that carries beauty forward and allows it its power. But love, as the apostle Paul says, is the greatest of all, and all the truth in the world can’t save us from the fact that we are nothing without it. Truth may make life livable, but it’s love that makes it worth living. There can never be enough.
So as we move forward with our discussion of the challenges facing CBA and Christian writers, let’s remember that we’re all on the same side, each of us trying to create something better from the clay we’ve been given. And some may forget and compromise in the face of the pressure, but we don’t judge them, lest we be judged. Instead, let’s build up and focus our energies on learning to balance truth and love in everything we do.
And maybe, in the process, we’ll find some of the balance we’re seeking in the rest of life.