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Without Love…

Welcome back to the discussion.

We’ve been dissecting this idea of “books for God.” As publishing professionals and hopefuls, we need to know what makes our books Christian. What makes them “godly?” Is it worth discussing how “books for God” might be different from “Christian books” or books for Christians?

Your Writers Group has an intentionally broad focus to encourage ideas for discussion, discovery, and community built around God’s role in our books. And since I’m the moderator here, my idea is to unite us in this cause and keep focused on this most important goal. Often, I have my own troubles doing that, so the rules are obviously fairly lax.

And we all have biases. We try to subvert those for the greater purpose, but sometimes, we forget to remember that. I forget to remember that. In my brain. Where the thinking doesn’t always happen. The problem is that this seemingly-relaxed group seems like a crowded, sweaty dressing room at times. You try on ideas and take opinions on how they fit. Some of the threads don’t always groove…

“Hey, that blouse is crap on you, Nancy-boy!”

Dissent is to be expected, I think. Really, the whirled-wide web is more like a busy bus station. And so much is out of context, it’s often more like crashing some high school reunion to sing some Van Morrison favorites with the band. I’m trying to use the technology accordingly, to be smart. There’s a reason we don’t take our shirts off in front of the class, right Brenda?

But Christians, we represent God. And we don’t do the repping very well. Luckily, there are a lot of us, but we need to all be following our own unique calling, being true to how we hear it. Diverse. There are many representations. Many we need to see. May never see otherwise.

Yesterday, I was leaving for work and my 3-year-old daughter runs to the garage door to tell me goodbye. I’d already given her a kiss and hug, but you know 3-year-old girls. I gave her the kiss-the-hand-and-blow-it thing as I was pulling out. She did it back and then raises her arms in a mock hug, tilting her head, really playing it up. And it hits me funny how sincere she is about it. I never showed her that; she just added it herself. Thought she’d like a distance hug to go with the kisses. And it looks like a really good hug and I suddenly don’t want to go to work even more than before.

I get things wrong sometimes. I’ve argued here that God’s not amused by our amusing ourselves and ignoring our world. Maybe I argue too forcefully, too sweepingly, at times. I don’t think we can escape reality—either in real life or in books—because it mocks grace, ignoring the truth of what Jesus came to save us from. But that doesn’t mean we need all novels to be philosophical, metaphorical, literary. What I’d like to see is more people striving to make more God-focused reading and writing choices. That’s how we’ll balance the limitations of our industry. God’s way.

To better represent God, we need more invention and less convention. We need more honesty, and maybe an understanding that some feelings will get hurt. And we need to work at delivering honesty in love, so they won’t stay hurt.

We also need to be aware of how our discussion sounds, much like derision, to the experienced authors, the working professionals who are out there exposed. We need to seek the big open middle ground. I’m a firm believer that the first step in effecting change is realizing who you’re talking to. We need to be constantly growing in our understanding of the nuances of this subject of books for God. We were all called in different ways. And not all of us will represent God the same way. We need all kinds of writers who can reach all kinds of readers.

I send you a 3-year-old’s hug tonight. We need more hugs. Straight from her heart to yours. If we’re talking about the value of words, we need to value open dialogue and listening more than speaking. The smaller voices over the louder. The simpler, purer, less complicated values of the little people. We need their guidance from God. Without it, there’s nothing any of us can do.

6 Responses to “Without Love…”

  1. siouxsiepoet says:

    yes mick. humility. true humility.
    i’m sitting at an open mic, flipping through pages and pages of God stuff. the kind of work that won’t win hearts, but means something to certain crowds. i’m struggling with what i’m reading and whether or not choosing your audience, or choosing to be in two audineces, or choosing to be where i am is wisdom or folly.
    i don’t want to be surrounded by christians alone. i no longer want to write for christians alone, but when i see christians editing my work to make it more appealing to the secular set that doesn’t work either.
    all i know is to trust. to use the voice God has given me. speak to those who will listen, and try to listen to those who won’t.
    speak less, especially around evangelicals is my new motto. we are only humans here, woundable, fallible, trying the best we can humans. i hate that we are in need of so many disclamers and caveats. as if the truth simply isn’t adequate anymore. the whole thing bums me out really.
    but thanks for the hug, i needed it.

  2. one of the hard things about blogging is how cold things can get. i don’t know your personal experiences, in which our arguments and debates are always couched. it’s easier to pick and choose and protect ourselves picking and choosing only those with whom we agree. and it’s easier to fight when i don’t see your face and don’t see your hurt.
    but i like the hugs all around. on the house.

  3. pandacanup says:

    I think it’s good to be honest, but in humility as said here. Love is not love without honesty, but neither is it without humility. Thank you for your continual commitment to both, and may we all aspire to do the same.

  4. Hugs are one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.
    It is always hard for me to see the world through the eyes of a child, yet try to live each day as if it was my last.

  5. Ahh. The quest for the radical middle. Truth in love but without compromise. Ask fifty authors to define truth or compromise and you’ll get fifty different answers. You run a difficult race Mick Silva, but I’m glad you’re holding the banner.
    You’re doing a phenomenal job.
    I’m still here. Still on your team. Course corrections are to be expected, just don’t stop running, please…

  6. L.L. Barkat says:

    Funny how kids can make us just want to stay home, with a warm quilt and a nice book and a snuggle or two. I love my kids… they bring perspective to my life… glad to hear about yours. :)

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