This is a very special blog on an idea I hope to continue over the coming months as we look to bring about industry change, both internally and externally. Today, I’ve asked a good friend of mine, an editor and writer of a recognized publishing source in Canada, to brainstorm with me some of the reasons we believe in this revolution of Christian writing, and what we see as its biggest hang-ups.
For obvious reasons, I can’t share her name or what company she works for, but that doesn’t change the significance of the ideas she shares…
So often, I fear this “Christian writing revolution.” It’s hard to understand and though we long for it—and though our faith might eventually die without it—I find myself unwilling to commit to the ideals. Both my personal faith and the faith of those around me are suffering for the fear that’s surfaced in Evangelical churches and their watered-down messages. In much of our lives, there’s little of substance to draw on to give us an idea of what this supposed revolution is about.
I think that’s one of the reasons I’m afraid. I fear standing out in the crowd of other writers, established, well-respected writers, some of whom have rocked the boat in their own way and dealt with resistance and even ostracizing. I also fear setting myself apart from the larger world, being isolated from society, labeled by it, and possibly (likely) persecuted for it, at least verbally.
But even so, I know we’re not even close to being in the same peril others are for their part in this revolution. Some of the ones who went before us were incredible revolutionaries. Some were martyred for their resistance of watered-down faith. Missionaries, preachers, and insightful Christian writers of far-off and recent generations: Luther and Calvin, Lewis and Chesterton, Skinner and Tozer. Writers. Fighters. Humble, passionate voices. There are so many others we don’t know about—in Ghana, Vietnam, Iraq, China.
We need passion, conviction, and community to seek them out and commit to the task of writing the old truths in fresh, inspiring ways. We need to resist society, publishers, marketplaces, and complacent churches who would dictate what we should be writing. Our stories must come from the depths of the heart, a fundamental passion bred by God our Father. It’s a gift he’s given us that needs use to be strengthened. We’re all here, reading Mick’s blog with one similar purpose: we feel a deep-seated desire for change in the Christian publishing industry to accept our art, to change the world around us, and show the light of Christ, Truth, and honest, hard-won faith. It’s a reactionary call, but also proactive, always thinking of ways to get the industry to supplement what it’s currently producing with more honest, difficult stories. Though some of us are ensconced in the business, we can see above and beyond its limited reach, to the suffering people we’re not helping, the voices being drowned out.
Whether our fears are of isolation or forgetting the call, compromise or complacency—the simplest solution is the best: don’t allow them. It sounds simple, but remember, fear is a choice, like happiness. We must choose daily reminders (like this) to remember, to continue not to compromise what’s ultimately important, to resist isolation. Get people around you praying and discussing so that you don’t get caught up in the fears or allow them to take hold in your life. Even success can be a fear. Pray for a shield from those fears. And remember, fear is not of God. It hinders what He has called you to (I’m preaching to myself here, too.) But fear can always be transformed—it’s a choice chosen by faith.
Jesus’ example is one of incredible passion, fury, humility, love, and acceptance. He was martyred, crucified for his zeal. Should we be treated any differently? Complacency has no place in our lives. We are forced to make concessions. But this isn’t the same as toning down to keep our jobs. The job isn’t important; it’s the good work being accomplished through them. We are committed, despite our fears, to the new day that’s coming to Christian publishing. When it comes to being “riled” up about things, we need to let ourselves respond with passion—it’s the only way change can come about. The ones who looked down their noses at former revolutionaries are gone, lost to history, like chaff in the wind. Their legacy remains in those who transformed their resistance into fuel for the fire. Who will carry the fire today?
Read about them to better understand the work at hand. Times have changed, but not the ideals, and not the enemy. There will always be resistance to the truth of God’s grace. The martyrs knew it. Jesus knew it. He didn’t accept the common assumptions of the day, but challenged them and managed to create a revolution that echoes in our hearts today. In truth, the only true revolutionary to ever exist was Christ himself. He took on all the things the complacent Christians won’t touch—abuse, torture, murder, deviance, and all forms of sexual sin—took them onto Himself, so that we might understand his revolution. Read His story. Learn from Him.
So write on, friends, and remember there are editors, writers, and publishers on this side who believe with you. It will happen. Ultimately, what is there to fear?