Revolution: Seeing the miracles

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Before you read me, go read Frank Viola Jesus, the Revolutionary.

Sheri’s off to the grocery store while I baby-sit. And I wonder why I don’t feel a shudder of exultant joy being with this little miracle. Instead, I’m typing a blog entry on my laptop. And not that that’s a bad thing. It’s a small miracle in itself, this blogging: private thoughts made public through technology. Little ones and zeros…

Or groceries? I still feel a little hint of the trembling excitement of Christmas morning when she comes in with the first bags and I go out for the rest. “This is ours—all this stuff?”

And there’s always the miracles of consciousness, sight, written language, oxidation, gravity, endoskeletons, polar magnetism, hemoglobin, memory, electricity, dimensional space, and the earth’s predictable rotational axis that keeps the satellites sending all our words out. There’s no imagining how many miracles are taking place this instant. We humans are awfully good at naming and taming them, but all we’re doing is using the predicable properties of the universe, none of which we even understand.

Writing’s no different. Consider your eyes flying across these symbols, taking them in as thoughts, representations of ideas from a separate consciousness. Go get a grain of salt and put it on your tongue. Listen to the ringing of your blood through your veins in a “silent” room. Do you “understand” it? Writing is a stand-in for every experience you have in life, and not just a secondary experience, but far superior, things you’d never experience otherwise. Writers observe, critique, slow the passage of time or speed it up, jump from one place to the next, hijack the imagination and speak directly to the soul’s deepest longings. Writing is manipulated reality. Altered consciousness. Improved sensation.

And there’s just not enough good writing, is there? It’s not just in CBA. In the same way there’s not enough love and true living, there’s not enough searching to experience. And it isn’t just Christians who prefer safety to real life, is it? When we talk about revolution, it’s to experience all of life and working to faithfully represent it and manipulate it just enough to reflect the truth within.

Just a simple reminder tonight that you are a revolutionary writer when you’re seeing the miracles and pointing them out for others to see. That’s what we need.

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10 thoughts on “Revolution: Seeing the miracles”

  1. Have you been spying on my brain?
    I have a life-long goal, and I’m working very hard every day to accomplish it. You ready?
    It’s “Don’t grow up.”
    Children can gaze in wonder for hours at a caterpillar slowly eating its way across a leaf. And they’ll notice everything. And ask what, and how, and why. And they’ll keep asking until there are no more answers.
    I remember as a tiny child watching black ants march in and out of their mound carrying loads twice their size, scurrying along trails that seemed as defined to them as the sidewalks were to me. Fascinated. Enthralled.
    I married a biologist. When people ask him what he does, he answers, “I study earthworms to the glory of God.” When I forget about the ants, he helps me find the wonder again.
    I love the meeting of language and meaning — of finding just the right word picture to describe a beauty that breaks the heart. Because there are people whose hearts have forgotten how to break. They need to grow young again.
    Mick, thanks for what you’re doing here. You always make me think. I appreciate you.

  2. “Writing is a stand-in for every experience you have in life, and not just a secondary experience, but far superior, things you’d never experience otherwise. Writers observe, critique, slow the passage of time or speed it up, jump from one place to the next, hijack the imagination and speak directly to the soul’s deepest longings. Writing is manipulated reality. Altered consciousness. Improved sensation.”
    What a kick in the pants! I’m thinking about blowing off work so I can take this shot of adrenalin directly to my computer. I’d forgotten the bigger picture. Thanks, Mick. (If I get fired, it’s your fault!)

  3. “the radical goes to the roots of his own tradition. He must love it”
    where is the radical fiction, speaking to these concerns through a dedicated artform?

  4. When it comes to speaking to the world’s hunger, be shrewd as snakes and when it comes to sin, be innocents. I’m far from innocent, but I think I’ll always be kid. Jeanne, did you used to think you just had some weird monkey gene that made you spaz out sometimes? I wish I knew what that was…
    Michael, go ahead and blame me if you get fired. I’ve heard of worse reasons.
    n.o. body, go check out Bret Lott, Frederick Buechner, Walter Wangerin, and Suzanne Wolfe. David Lyle Jeffery also mentions many literary fiction writers who are writing from a foundation of Christian literary heritage in his book, People of the Book (at the bottom of the right hand collumn).

  5. N.o.,
    No such thing as a CBA publisher, at least not exclusively. CBA is the Christian bookstore/catalog market. But if I understand your question, the authors mentioned are published through both Christian and “unenlightened” publishers.
    A simple check on amazon.com should tell you who published who. Then look for publisher’s websites. That’s an education in itself.

  6. thanks. i’d like to but can’t.
    in a limited way i’ve discovered that CBA-related publishers will publish books to encourage readers to read excellent works…but will not publish such. is it so?

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