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Screwtripe exposed & Planet Fitness

Just some thoughts for discussion tonight. I considered giving Screwtripe the chance to respond to some of the controversy he stirred up, but he had far too much fun with that last post. No need to encourage him. (Just for the record, I’m not him.)

No, but you’re not so far off, are you? When we make others think it’s all about you, your little repressed ego feels the thrill.

Actually, that’s not true. I don’t want to divide us up. When people want to dismiss my point, they focus in on me. That doesn’t make me happy.

Ha ha! That’s right! They focus on you, the format you use, whatever assumptions they bring to it, and sidestep your silly message entirely. It’s a beautiful thing!

What I don’t get is why they just want to hear that everything is good and working perfectly in our industry. They don’t hear me saying I see improvement. All they hear is criticizing. And even if there was nothing positive in what I was saying, why do they listen to me? I’m just one guy. And now you’ve gone and undone all the good that was happening with that one silly post.

No. You’ll see. They’ll be back. They know you speak for the industry. You’re very powerful.

Get behind me! I’m just one editor, saying what I think. I should never have let you speak. I figured, since many people see me as a minion of evil anyway, I may as well show them what a true minion sounds like. And despite their misunderstanding, I don’t agree with your sweeping generalizations about “imbeciles” and “schlock.” But it’s too late to make that claim now. Unfortunately, there is schlock in CBA. And it does no one any good to defend that. Either you see it or you don’t. I wish I didn’t see it. It would be much easier….

Anyway, maybe some of you have heard of this chain of gyms called Planet Fitness. It’s a private membership gym where you can’t grunt during your workout because it’s too intimidating to the other members. Yeah. If you grunt, you’re out. As a case study, I thought it was pretty interesting. This safe haven is apparently for those who don’t fit in at World Gym. For whatever reason. So they created this less-stressful environment to workout. Can such an “average Joe gym” keep unwanted intimidation out? Is that reasonable?

Toward the end of the article, it’s very interesting what the physical therapy professor says. Studies show “weight lifters produce between 2 and 5 percent more force when they grunt, in part because the deep breathing grunting entails can help stabilize the spine.”

“I’m not so sure it’s wise to tell people not to grunt,” Professor O’Connell said.

In other words, it’s not necessarily a good thing to tell people not to grunt while working out because it makes the workout less effective. Which means, if you’re trying to get a good workout, you need to risk intimidating others.

I’m not a big one for working out. But when I do, it’s safe to assume I’m not in much danger of intimidating others, even if I was grunting like a constipated warthog. But, though I’m unpublished myself, when I say this stuff about quality in CBA, I grunt. If I take it seriously, I’m liable to grunt now and then, and people are going to complain. They’ll try to humiliate me and get me kicked out. But I guess I don’t care much what they think about me anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I used to care. I cared far too much. I used to be very careful to edit and soften my statements anytime someone was offended, not only to be more Christianly, but to keep the site stats growing and the community building. But this Planet Fitness thing seems the way it is in CBA to me, where writers who hope to join had better not get too serious about their workouts or we attack. How do you soften that?

I don’t want to draw any undue attention on anyone except the most flagrant, those who consider themselves the safe haven police. It’s not working, folks. No one’s convinced we’ve got anything worth taking such heat for. We’ve got a nice club where some people are having fun and keeping grunt-free. But what happens when someone comes in for a serious workout? 

Of course, there’s the fact that our workouts are regulated by those who buy our products. They don’t want any serious stuff either, nothing that’s going to make them sweat. It’s not an easy situation by any stretch of the metaphor. But if we’re not getting stronger and healthier, how long do you think they’re going to continue buying?

Stick around. More to come.

19 Responses to “Screwtripe exposed & Planet Fitness”

  1. Nicole says:

    I just want to focus on the last paragraph. My wonderful Dad worked in retail, starting at the bottom and retiring an executive vice president of the company to which he gave over 35 years of his life. He loved it.
    I worked retail off and on, and my most recent retail job was part time in a Christian bookstore. Whenever a customer came in looking for a novel to read, the girls always gave them to me. First I asked them what they liked. Their tastes were as varied as the subject matter.
    So, once again we have this conundrum.
    If there are those who just want to be entertained when they read “fiction for God” and to heck with “literary” quality much like Rachelle’s and my husbands, then there are books out there for them, and some are well written, adhering faithfully to the novel formula. If there are those who want to invest in an intellectual journey to stimulate their minds and spirituality as well as to challenge their own abilites to be a wordsmith, there are obviously not enough out there, according to several recent and past posts on various sites addressing this problem.
    Now one would think the publishing crowd would want to satisfy ALL of its customers, but apparently if part of those customers are in a smaller number than the other part, the $$ earned from the smaller market aren’t enough to inspire reaching those customers. However, we’re trying to discuss “fiction for God” here, not the secular market. So, in keeping with attaining to a “higher” goal , it would figure that exceptions to the general rule would be met with the intention of meeting those needs for the people of faith with differing tastes in literature.
    But, since most of that market seems satisfied to buy in the secular market, maybe they’re not reachable anyway. After all, when major editors of well known Christian publishing houses are raving about secular novels (present company excluded) as if those writers are the only folks who can truly write “enlightened” and entertaining fiction, maybe the Christian marketers have concurred they’re not worth the marketing it would take to woo them.
    On the other hand, I’ll reiterate, those who buy the “norm” have an endless supply and, let’s face it, they should. They have every right to be able to read and enjoy what they want. There are those, however, who will continue to search for what satisfies them, and if and when they don’t find it, they just won’t buy anything: that would be me. I ask again. Will anyone notice?

  2. I’m completely with you on the problem of “grunt-free” saccharine Christian lit.
    Nicole mentioned that Christian Lit is “fiction for God.” A higher calling than secular lit. That struck a chord with me since the site I work for is The High Calling. (Implication: We can serve God through all vocations. None is necessarily higher than any other.)
    I freely admit that my response may be influenced by my time at our non-profit “company kool-aid,” but I still wonder. Why should fiction for God look any different than secular fiction? Less gratuitous in places sure.
    But after all, we are called to love God and our neighbors. We are called to be all things to all people. I don’t mean to call you out specifically, Nicole. I’m just thinking about your comment.
    I wish Christian writers and publishers could just meet this simple goal: Make good, entertaining books that people will read.
    Or maybe creation is not such a simple goal. Maybe working in the image of God–with honesty and courage and beauty–is the most difficult goal of all.
    (And thank God for Technorati which led me here.)

  3. A couple of thoughts, more or less related to these last two posts of yours. They are somewhat random.
    I’m reminded more and more how much we filter everything through our own personal lenses. I’m as guilty as anyone else of focusing in on one statement or one scripture and thus missing the whole point. Therefore, it’s important to figure out where I’m biased and try to let the Holy Spirit make the necessary adjustments. This takes time (it’s taken me 40 years or so) but it is possible.
    I’m lazy. (this is not a recent discovery) So I need to be reminded on a regular basis of the dangers inherent in my laziness. The truth is, I’m probably a writer of dreck at this point. But I don’t want to be a writer of dreck, so I keep coming back here (and I keep writing). I can speak for no one but myself, but thanks for saying the uncomfortable things that make me take a hard look at what I’m doing.
    A sense of humor is essential — I like yours, Mick. Thanks.

  4. Nicole says:

    [Mark, if I could give a shameless plug here for my blog entry for tomorrow (hopeofglory.typepad.com/into_the_fire), you’ll see where I was coming from more clearly, I think. I hope.]

  5. “I’m not in much danger of intimidating others, even if I was grunting like a constipated warthog.”
    That made me laugh out loud, which means you get 50 points.
    Obviously your last post upset a lot of people. If I were a published novelist, perhaps it would have raised my defenses, too, but I really did take it as hyperbole.
    I read all the comments, and some of them were quite thoughtful and insightful. I admire Mary DeMuth, Susan Meissner, Lisa Samson, and Brandilyn, as writers and as nitty-gritty, living-what-they-believe sisters in Christ. I guess because I know you admire them (and others), too, I took your post the way I did. No one assigns Screwtape’s views at face value to C.S. Lewis, and I felt no inclination to assign Screwtripe’s to you.
    But I also know you long to see a lot more “serious” art published in the Christian market. I do, too. For me it’s not frustration over the presence of entertainment-driven fiction, but rather the apparent lack of interest in more literary works among publishers and readers. To long for more isn’t to deny the existence of some. I would think those who are writing the “harder” books would be thrilled to hear you sounding off on their behalf. Unfortunately, though, it sometimes comes across as a sweeping condemnation of everything on the shelves. That last one apparently stung, and they reacted. No surprise there, I suppose.
    As much as I hope to be published, I fear and tremble for the day my words are out there for all to see and criticize. Though I gravitate toward classic literature as a reader, I’m not at all convinced I’m capable of producing anything on that level. And that’s fine, as long as I’m producing what I’m meant to. All any of us can do is employ our gifts to the glory of God.
    Well, I’m rambling and need to go anyway. I’ll be interested to follow the conversation as it continues.

  6. Noel Coward says:

    Mick, your vague, nebulous, angst-ridden, self-loathing, pontificating posturing has come somewhat home to roost. What is the point of endlessly harranging the general populace about your dissatisfaction with your own profession? I think Brandilyn nailed it. It’s time to quit spouting off useless aphorisms and either shit or get off the pot. Endless grousing never accomplished anything. Quit talking about it and DO something about it, for crying out loud.

  7. As my Southern granpappy would have put it: “well, day-um!” Don’t sugarcoat it, Mick, tell us how you really feel. *G* Seriously, I’ll be the first the admit I’ll never be a literary writer; I simply don’t possess the necessary brain cells to pull it off. What I am is a writer of suspense. According to my reviews, I’m not bad at it either. Does that mean Carl Haissen might lose sleep nights over my possible taking of his market share? Doubtful. Nor does Elmore Leonard, Robert Crais, or even Ted Dekker. Which is fine. They run their railroad; I run mine. All that to say, if a CBA writer wants to try his or her hand at the literary plow, go for it. The more diverse our voices, the better (unless I’ve completely missed the point of all this; immenently possible).

  8. anonymous says:

    I swore I’d stop reading all the comments on this blog and just stick to the posts themselves – the way they challenge me and make me think about my own motivations. After all, I can’t run armchair for someone else’s game.
    Alas, I get sucked in, and I get so frustrated with all the Mick bashing that goes on. Then I feel like I want to add to it (not the bashing, but the pocket change). Then I kick myself for getting involved in the political posturing you all seem to love so much.
    At the risk of sounding like a bleeding heart liberal on this one, can we all just learn to be ducks once in a while? I know you’re all entitled to your thoughts and opinions just as much as Mick is, and he has set this blog up to not only accept but encourage your comments, so in a way I guess he gets what he asks for, but it seems to me that a lot of peoples’ hackles are up and that can only mean one thing: pride is hard at work, underlying every defensive attitude espoused on these pages. Screwtripe had a point, and the truth hurts.
    The point of this blog, if you haven’t noticed, is to stir the waters a bit; to guard our hearts and minds against complacency; to provoke us to jealousy so that we might improve our craft, reach for the high places, and go farther than we previously dared or believed for.
    It’s not for us all to agree. That would be silly. Yes, you all have your own genres and no, not everyone is called to write literary fiction. But, we are all called to improve our craft. Entertainment, yes, but we can entertain and challenge at the same time, can’t we? You should listen to yourselves once in a while instead of getting caught up in the fray and pull your heads out of your own computer screens long enough to realize that Mick is not putting up roadblocks to your destiny. He is merely creating sign posts that you can choose to read or choose to heed. It’s still your choice. You’re still in the driver’s seat of your own creativity.
    Mick is in all of our lives for a reason. Figure it out. God offends our minds to reveal our hearts. Let yourself be offended and then ask God what he’s trying to work out in you through these discussion threads, and please, don’t hear what I’m not saying. Don’t let Screwtripe twist your hearts or you’ll miss the next sign post. Reach for the edge. Hang your toes over… and lean.

  9. Geeze Louise says:

    “a lot of peoples’ hackles are up and that can only mean one thing”
    Absurd. It is very rare that some manifestation can “only mean one thing.” It’s this kind of sloppy thinking and writing and broad-brushing on this blog that has become so annoying that people are finally saying, “Enough, already!”
    “Screwtripe had a point, and the truth hurts.” Screwtripe had a point, but it had little to do with the truth. At least not the insightful type of truth that actually accomplishes something of value. More like the truth of “Pain hurts!” or “That water, it’s powerful wet stuff.” With such daring declarations of truth, Mick has basically become the king of the Dufflepuds.
    For example, “Unfortunately, there is schlock in CBA. And it does no one any good to defend that. Either you see it or you don’t. I wish I didn’t see it. It would be much easier….”
    Of course there’s schlock in CBA. There’s schlock in ABA. There’s schlock in EVERY industry. It takes no genius to notice that. And it takes no genius to realize that the schlock will always be with us, no matter what market or industry. 50% of the population is below average, so what do you think they will produce? Sub-average work, whether they’re making big Macs or writing blogs or writing novels or acquiring novels or publishing novels.
    You don’t fix the schlock by telling everybody it’s there. Everybody who is capable of recognizing it already knows its there. Those who aren’t capable of recognizing it are the ones who are producing it, so basically attacking the schlock becomes a personal attack on them, which accomplishes nothing.
    The reality, which also is accessible to the sub-genius, is that you can’t get rid of schlock. All you can do is offer an alternative to the schlock. And that is best done without haranguing the schlock producers. Do your bit to brighten the corner where you are instead of pointing out how dark your neighbor’s corner is compared to what you think it should be.
    But when Captain Obvious teams up with Captain Self-Pity (“I wish I didn’t see it. It would be much easier . . .”) it goes from annoying to insufferable. “Alas that I should have to endure the presence of lesser works in the market.” Sheesh. Look at it this way. Let everybody else produce schlock, you produce excellence, and then you have a competitive advantage. The glass is half full!
    “Mick is not putting up roadblocks to your destiny. He is merely creating sign posts that you can choose to read or choose to heed.” No he’s not. Not even close. He’s sniping and second-guessing from the back seat.
    “It’s still your choice. You’re still in the driver’s seat of your own creativity.” Yes, everybody knows that, obviously. What? They’re smart enough to write a novel but not smart enough to figure that out? The point is that it’s annoying to have a back-seat driver constantly complaining about the paving and the road signs and the traffic signals and the weather and your driving and the other drivers while you’re trying to actually get somewhere. After a while you just want to scream, “Shut up!”
    I don’t know a single writer who isn’t trying to improve with every book they write. Constantly harping on how bad you think things are does nothing to improve anything.
    Here’s a startling thought. Since Mick is a writer (or at least, that’s what I hear), what if he directs all this currently misapplied energy into writing the kind of books he thinks need to be written and leaves the other writers in peace so they can try to do the same? Why doesn’t he do what every writer is admonished to do, show instead of tell? Show us how it should be done instead of telling everyone what they should be doing.
    Or maybe this thought. Since Mick is an editor, what if he directs this energies toward acquiring the kinds of books he thinks need to be published instead of complaining about how nobody publishes them? Mick is in the most powerful position of all the people blogging and commenting on the subject to actually DO something about it. He’s an acquisitions editor for Waterbrook, for Pete’s sake!
    Less talk, more action seems to be the wise path.

  10. anonymous says:

    case in point.

  11. Karen B. says:

    Two warnings: (1) This is a long post. Like Mick, I speak my mind, and that can take awhile. (Some of you may feel I don’t have enough of a mind to share, but such is life.); (2) I’ve done something I hate in posts & e-mails: put things in all caps. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to italicize. Okay, so I never said I was a techno-genius.
    So, hey, interesting posts. Lots of emotions flying. Mine among ‘em–which is why I called Mick to talk it over. (Good conversation. I don’t think either of us has put out a hit on the other…yet. Just keep in mind, Mick, that I lived outside of Chicago for 20 years, so I know people who know people. You know?) Anyway, I’m not saying anything to you that I didn’t say to him. Interesting, though, that my talk with him confirmed something for me. What we read on this blog? It’s not necessarily Mick’s heart or attitude. Mick is a thinker, and as such he’s putting out ideas to see what others think—-or, maybe more to the point, to GET people to think. Safe to say he succeeded. But are people thinking about what Mick hoped? A question that leads me to…
    The down side. Because Mick is passionate and intelligent and desirous of change, and because of the way he sometimes communicates things, and because email and the internet are SO not effective when it comes to clear understanding, people also FEEL. Big time. And when feelings get stirred, the focus too often shifts from the message to the messenger. So yeah, there’s been Mick bashing. Some of which, let’s be honest, he deserved for the ways he said things. And yeah, lots of us felt Mick (and a number of those posting here) bashed us. Bottom line, though, I don’t believe Mick meant for all this to happen. In fact, I believe he’s supremely unhappy that so many are caught up in a controversy that pulls minds and energy away from what really matters: understanding the realities of publishing good Christian fiction and doing what we can to ensure what’s on the shelf is as excellent as it can be.
    That being said, some of the comments posted here just turned my crank. Brilliant little tidbits such as:
    “I wish Christian writers and publishers could just meet this simple goal: Make good, entertaining books that people will read.”
    Um…news flash: they’ve done so. For years. If you can’t see that, then go sell shoes. ‘Cuz you clearly don’t get either fiction or Christian publishing.
    And then there was:
    “Or maybe creation is not such a simple goal. Maybe working in the image of God–with honesty and courage and beauty–is the most difficult goal of all.”
    Well, no. From what I’ve seen here, the most difficult goal is actually this: Speaking to the challenges in CBA fiction without arrogance, ignorance, or absolutes—-all of which simply scream that you don’t know spit.
    I’m sorry—
    No. You know what? Strike that. I’m NOT sorry. I’m not sorry that I’m irritated by the whole “Why doesn’t everyone see what I see?” crowd. Here’s a thought: Maybe, because they’re the ones doing the work and not just talking about it, they’re sick and tired of being told there’s little of quality out there, that publishers just don’t get it, that no one is publishing good fiction for people to read. I have to ask: What planet are you people on?
    Look, I’ve heard this same little ditty for nearly 26 years. And you know something? It’s not insightful, brilliant, or edgy. Know what it is? The same ol’, same ol’. Not because things haven’t changed in CBA fiction. They have. I’ve seen the quality—-yes, QUALITY—-of writing improve leaps and bounds, even in just the last ten years. But I’ve also seen people moved and changed by the very books elitists would consider garbage. Books that are just good storytelling, rife with truth. Okay, maybe not the most complex representation of truth, but I don’t recall the Master saying we had to communicate truth any particular way. In fact, I’m thinkin’ He was a pretty good example for just telling a good story:
    “A farmer went out to plant some seed…”
    “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field…”
    “A certain landowner planted a vineyard…”
    Scintillating writing? Nope. Beautiful prose? Nah. Rock-your-world truth? You bet. Just like you’ll find in any number of novels out there on the shelf.
    And then there’s the whole “Why does everyone just want to hear things are perfect?” spiel. Um…hello? I don’t hear anyone saying that. Heckfire, we know it’s not perfect. For that matter, we know WE’RE not perfect. But dang, folks! Pointing out challenges—-talking together and finding ways to push each other toward excellence—-that’s one thing. A needed thing. A GOOD thing. What we have here, though, is more than just a failure to communicate. What many of us have read here is a number of our own team—-you know, that Body of Christ thing–dismissing those who are doing the work, who’ve fought long and hard to even keep Christian fiction on the shelves, thank you very much. And why do you dismiss them? Because YOU’VE decided what they do isn’t quality?
    No. Not in a million years.
    Sure, have your own opinion. Just don’t forget that’s all it is. Your opinion. (Mick, you said that very thing yourself. And you’re right. Reality check, though. You’re in a position that gives your words added weight. And your passion is palpable, which also makes folks sit up and take notice. Face it, people do care, they do listen. They want to be thought of as clever and insightful and deep. And they are hurt when a brother’s words seem careless, not because those people are ostriches suckin’ sand, but because they’re out there, fighting on the front lines, and you’ve just tossed them a hand grenade in the guise of a first-aid kit. Makes it pretty hard to see the reason and heart in that…)
    Listen, all of you, our likes and dislikes, they’ll always vary. Some of us love literary writing, some adore just good stories. But the moment any one of us lets in the belief that we have the right to snub those who don’t share our particular likes, we’ve crossed a line. So what if someone loves to read Grace Livingston Hill? Her books touched lives. I can only pray my books will have as much impact. Literary fiction put you to sleep? No problem, there’s a lot of good, simple stories for you. Jerry Jenkins not your cup o’ tea? Fine. Go buy coffee. Or Mountain Dew. Or whatever charges you up. Just realize those very folks you tend to dismiss have paved the way for you. More than that, if you want to be a part of the solution and not the problem, then take a minute to show some gratitude. I can guarantee you, paving the way wasn’t easy. (Still isn’t. I mean, success doesn’t make things easier, it just paints a big, fat bull’s-eye on your back. As many of you have so eloquently proven lately with your potshots at Jerry Jenkins…Tell you what. When you’ve accomplished for the call of Christ what that man has, then you can snipe. Until then, zip it. Because you’re coming perilously close to sounding like a twit, and making the rest of look bad. So stop it. Now.) As for whether or not an author is “grunting,” do you honestly believe you have the right to judge that? To judge an author’s heart and intent? How hard it was for him or her to write that book? The pain it may have caused him or her? I’m here to tell you, my friend, not all of us bleed the same. And while you may grant yourself the liberty to say someone hasn’t pushed him or herself, hasn’t wrestled within, hasn’t faced his or her demons in the writing…well, that’s a freedom I won’t be claiming any time soon. ‘Cuz I figure there’s only One who has the right to judge another’s heart, and folks, that ain’t me. Or you.
    Since we’re so into speaking our minds here, let me join the club with this tidbit: The idea that authors, editors, and publishers are out to make a buck, to preach to the choir, to make things safe—-that whole supposition is simplistic at best, asinine at worst. I know those people. I work with them. I am one of them. And friends, I’m here to tell you, authors, editors, publishers…they’re just as passionate as you, just as determined to address the tough issues, just as deep. They’re working just as hard to do their jobs with excellence. Okay, so maybe what they’re doing isn’t your view of excellence. Fine. Whatever. Just means it’s different. But what it DOESN’T mean is that it’s not valid, or sincere, or effective. It’s all that and more.
    One last thought: Please, for the love of Poughkeepsie, give me a break on being literary. (Mick, you’ll notice, didn’t say a thing about excellence meaning literary. So this is aimed at those of you who jumped off from his comments into the whole “Literary is best” two-step…) I checked Webster’s. Guess what? Excellence isn’t in the definition for literary, or vice versa. There are excellent westerns out there, and thrillers, and suspense, and ROMANCES. Go ahead, choke. But folks, sooner or later you’re going to have to face it: being writers of excellence doesn’t mean following one genre or style. Otherwise, God would have called us all to literary writing. And He didn’t. What He did call us to is obedience. We’re to obey His call, telling the story He breathed into each of us with as much skill and honesty as we can. Yes, we all need to refine the craft. Absolutely. Just please recognize that all refinement roads don’t lead to literary writing. And that your paean of excellence may very well be someone else’s dreck. (Ah, ah, ah! Stop that! I saw you frown, saw that nose tilt, heard you mutter, “Anyone who’d call this masterpiece dreck doesn’t know what she’s talking about!” Stop it!)
    Go ahead, love what you love. Be passionate about it. Sing its praises to the sky. We’ll let you, even if we don’t agree. In fact, we love to hear you talk about what you like, why it moved you. But here’s a thought: how about you grant others the same courtesy? Let them like what they like without implying they’re lazy, sold-out,lacking in insight or deep thought, imbecilic, and on and on and on.
    I believe most of us want to make things better. But we all need to make sure we’re doing our part with reason, not arrogance; with truth, not opinion; with grace, not condemnation. And when others say things that get YOUR Irish up, realize the shoe’s been on the other foot more times than we can count. We all need to give each other an extra measure of grace.
    I think that’d be a nice change…don’t you?

  12. Nicole says:

    Here, here! Yeah! Yay! Halleluja! Amen!
    (Now tell us how you really feel, Karen. :-)).
    (Of major importance which I think Karen covered: Mick loves the Lord.)

  13. Mick says:

    Geez, Karen! Get your own blog, why don’t you! …and they call her an “editor!”
    Actually, I was really, really glad Karen called. I don’t know who gave her my number, but it was still really nice. If she wasn’t so busy doing real work all the time, she’d have a really killer blog.
    I’m so thankful for those who are able to see past the surface and offer some balance to the conversation.

  14. Karen B. says:

    LOL! Hate to tell you this, Mick, but YOU gave me your number. In the emails you sent me a while back.
    See? You subconsciously WANTED to hear from me. And if that doesn’t prove just how warped you are…nuthin’ will. *G*

  15. I have nothing incredibly insightful to add to the conversation.
    All I know is that God will do what God wants to do no matter how much I get up in his face about it.
    So really, it doesn’t matter what Mick thinks or what Brandilyn thinks or what position they hold. It doesn’t matter whether Jerry Jenkins wrote good books or bad books.
    The bottom line is God is going to use the one with the willing heart. I can only speak from personal experience and I know Mick has made me think harder than almost anyone else. Brandilyn has a sweet spirit and I’m blessed by her a lot. I don’t know Jerry Jenkins, but he’s touch a few lives.
    Critize who you will but remember it doesn’t matter. God is still going to use them to get to people like me if they’re willing to submit to Him. My self worth isn’t based on your opinion of me. If what Mick says makes me take a good look at what I’m doing, who are you to tell him to stop?
    It reminds me of Job, when God started talking. You telling Mick in a not so nice way to stop what he’s doing–who are you in comparison to the One with the Earth as a footstool?
    My prayer is that Mick only change when God sees fit to skim off a bit more dross. I’ve had enough people in my life throw me off my path (like when Jesus looked at Peter and called him Satan for trying to change his path.) And then things change and Jesus asks Peter, “Why are you concerned with what I’m doing with John?”
    Isn’t that Jesus basically saying, “Mind your own business?”

  16. anonymous says:

    That “Mind your own buiness” thing cuts both ways. Yes, everybody is jumping on Mick, but only because he’s snarking about what others should or shouldn’t be doing as he interprets the world. Hence the admonition to strive for excellence in your own sphere of influence and lay off the finger pointing.
    Nothing would make me happier than for the “mind your own business” admonition to be implemented across the board.

  17. Many mornings, I’m blessed with the time to crawl back under the blankets with a cup of coffee and the Bible. This morning I read some of Revelation. (I wanted to jot in the margin the thought that the last church in Revelation was called many things, but not evil, and my conclusion, that we are not those John sees on the earth when he looks down from heaven, please, God! Because Iran and China–anyway–)
    I continued reading all the symbolism and imagery, and thought about Jerry Jenkins–and we cannot mention him and his books without our words reflecting on a fine Christian leader, Jenkins’ partner, *Tim LaHaye*–and what a wonderful ministry these books have been to so many. Why shouldn’t the authors be blessed monetarily.
    It’s–excellent–to aspire to write with excellence, but even better to simply be available to be used of God to bring people into the Kingdom and to minister to those already here.
    As for 5-star reviews on Amazon, I write them. I promote the things a reader can enjoy, and not just my personal taste or desire. The only exception to my rule was for a presentation I thought could actually harm some people, and had nothing to do with story or craft.
    I just feel a forum in front of the whole world is no place for a *critique*.
    Correct me if I’m wrong. Maybe that’s too soft-hearted and unprofessional, but I wouldn’t appreciate it, myself.
    Yes, we should aspire to excellence for God while not discouraging those who are crawling before they can run. (That would be me!) Or those that are running along beautifully on the path God gave them.
    Even St. Peter was told “Get thee behind me, Satan,” because he didn’t get it. But with a little time and encouragement and the power of the Holy Spirit, he touched 5000 souls, and then some!
    Would that that be me!

  18. Dee Stewart says:

    I missed this whole mess, because I was spending my days writing. Didn’t know a big mess had started here again until I was reading through The Master’s Artists comments that referred to whatever happened over here.
    People, y’all need to get a grip. There are men and women dying right now in Christ’s name so that we can write whatever crap we think we are writing for God.
    We are writers. Come on now. Christian celebrity is a MF. Y’all crazy.
    There’s a lot of pride talk. I don’t have no stakes in this game, not published novelist, not an editor. I was a Christy Judge. Who hasn’t been? So I can speak with great freedom when I say God ain’t pleased. He wants more. This world is crying out for Him. And we want to degrade each other instead of write more, pray more, write better, pray better, die daily. Do what he asks us to do. Do your job. Mick is seeking for something we’re not doing, we know we need. If you don’t write in that way, go write you. Stop blocking.
    If you’re stopping by every day just to hate, then you’re not writing. You’re wasting the world’s time. Period. Do you.

  19. Marcia says:

    Lots of passion going on here. And that’s a good thing. Sure,Mick made me angry, like many here, but he made me stop and look at my work, like he wants us all to do.
    Maybe it’s just me, but hearing harsh words can sometimes force us to do better. In fact, I started writing seriously when I picked up a book on writing and the person with me said, “You’re just throwing your money away on another hobby.”
    I was so steamed I went home and went to work. Since then I’ve had hundreds of pieces published and my novel will be released in Sept.
    Anger sometimes has its purpose. Maybe, just maybe, it aligns with God’s.

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