Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Dipping the Quill Deeper: A Christian Writer or a Writer who is a Christian



by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

Lately I’ve struggled with something personal. A thought, really. One that the enemy brought up, I know, to confuse and confound me … to slide a tentacle up and around my throat ever-so-gently … almost unnoticeably … until time to squeeze.


And the squeezing has caused me to question. To wonder. To try to figure out, on my own, whether or not I am who I say I am, namely a writer. More directly, a Christian writer. Or, a writer who is a Christian. 

I do not doubt my Christianity. That I am a follower of Christ is without question. That I know Him … worship Him … want to be more like Him, I do not have to wonder about. I also do not doubt that I am a writer. For one, I’m published. My works have won numerous awards for pity’s sake. For another, I write and, therefore, I am a writer. It’s kind of like the “I think therefore I am …” quote first used by Rene Descartes, which means (according to reference.com) that thinking cannot be faked. Neither can writing. If that’s a pen in your hand (or a keyboard at your fingertips), and you are spilling ink onto paper (or pixels onto a document), then you are a writer.

But, am I a Christian writer or a writer who is a Christian? Am I worthy of the first? Or am I trying to simplify the latter?

Years ago, after my mother’s unexpected passing from this life to the eternal, I found a book she had been teaching from. An old book, but one with truths that appear timeless. God’s Psychiatry, by Charles L. Allen, published by Fleming H. Revell Company in 1953 (I had to use my old skills of translating Roman numerals to know this), is a look at the 23rd Psalm, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Beatitudes. I wasn’t as interested in the words by Reverend Allen as I was in the notes Mother had made in the margins. I spent weeks upon weeks reading them. Writing them down. Studying them. What had made her zero in on these particular words, for example, rather than those? But for years now, that book has been left unopened on my desk.

Until … the struggle began, and a sweet voice called to my spirit saying, “Find that book.” It took a while. Gracious, it was right under my nose, but I’d set another book on top of it, and I’d only focused on that book rather than the one I sought. (There’s a sermon in there, if you’ll look for it.)

I opened the book to the first page, titled The Healing of Mind and Soul. On the second page of Reverend Allen’s narrative, my mother had penciled in these words: train mind, teach the truth, wrong thoughts are sick mind. Next to it, she had underlined Allen’s A mind which thinks error is a sick mind. 

I felt a jolt. Had I been thinking in error? Had I allowed the enemy to confuse the issue of being a Christian writer and a writer who is a Christian? Had I allowed—haveI allowed—my mind to become sick? 

Seek truth and know truth … Mother had circled. And so I have. And I have tried to stop my thoughts from running amuck when it comes to this question. If, as a Christian, I write truths not necessarily Christian-Literature-bookshelf-bound, are the truths any less so? Am I any less a Christian? Or am I daring to walk away from the choir and go into the world? To share a story I know it will understand. Furthermore, were the words Jesus spoke along the way or in the marketplace or on a hillside any less impactful or powerful than those He spoke in the synagogue? 

What say you?

TWEETABLE

Thoughts on defining ourselves as writers - @EvaMarieEverson on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Eva Marie Everson is the multiple award-winning and bestselling author of over 35 books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and North Georgia Christian Writers Conference. Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they enjoy a lake view, their children, and grandchildren. They are owned by a very small dog.

23 comments:

  1. Ms. Eva Marie; I'm the least qualified to offer any opinion on who and what you are ma'am. I'll simply say that the key point is that whichever of these two you are, "Christian" is at the center of them both. If your writing, no matter the genre, is true and reflects God's truths and values, then how you define yourself is not as important as how God defines you. My heart tells me it is as "His dear child." How insightful you are ma'am. God's blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. Have a feeling you and our friend Ms. Cindy Sproles have spoken. :-) Perhaps the difference is that if your target audience is Christians/Christian Living, then you might call yourself a Christian Author. If a non-Christian target audience (i.e. either or), then you are an Author whose a Christian. I'm just glad you're a Christian my friend; and am coming to enjoy all your writing. And yes, I've started to read some of your books (what better way to learn than from a master).

      Delete
  3. Thanks so much for sharing heart thoughts. I remember your Mom from Blur Ridge. What a wonderful heritage she gave you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes ma'am she did! I can hardly believe it's been nearly 9 years.

      Delete
  4. Boy, the enemy sure got hold with that one. He's such a jerk. Isn't it always something that is truly simple? Like you say at the end, Jesus stories got people's attention. So I say it's both or either. Semantics, I say.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In response to your last paragraph, I think there is room for both. The book of Esther doesn't mention God's name, yet His fingerprints are all over the story. Jan Karon presents wonderful Christian truth in her books, though they are not marketed as Christian fiction. (I first discovered her in a secular magazine.) I've rejoiced at that, yet also wondered how a postmodern public who gripes at any spiritual content accepted it. Maybe because her protagonist was a minister. Otherwise I don't know how an author would get subtle spiritual truth out there, unless it's veiled as in some of C. S. Lewis's fiction.

    On the other hand, the choir still needs preaching to, so they can then go out and be lights to their spheres of influence. I enjoy Christian fiction where the Christian characters unashamedly do Christian things. That bolstered my faith a lot as a new Christian, and it does so even now 40+ years later. My mom was not a Christian, and she was resistant to discussing spiritual issues, but she loved to read. I started sending her Christian fiction, and she soaked it in. When I first became a Christian, I think she thought I had gotten into some kind of cult, so these stories helped reassure her that was not the case. But they also showed her realistic people trusting God and seeking His guidance. I do not know whether she trusted the Lord before she died, but I have every hope that she did from what few things she said.

    God can work through either kind of writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara, what a wonderful reply! Thank you so much! And I love CSL!

      And thank you for your last line!

      Delete
  6. Our God’s timing is ever perfect - and amazing! He spoke to me through your words at 10 am, making further clarification about instructions given from Matthew 17 at 6 am.

    As Joseph Prince recently pointed out from Isaiah 55:10+ “For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven...but water the earth....” God’s Word gently falls all over the earth, on every type of person and personality. It takes all of us - every genre and voice, male & female to spread the message of Jesus’ love.

    In the old days we would have said, “Do your best and let God do the rest.” Of course modern speak has shortened this to the current: “You do you.”

    Thanks again. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "You do you ..." LOLOL! That was great. Or, in other words "Let God do you..." I kinda like that better. I make a mess of me.

      Delete
  7. Very interesting thoughts. I am a Christian. I am a writer. My goal in writing is to lead people closer to God in some way. Whether I ever learn of how they were led to God is not important. The most important thing is to know I have written words to help them draw closer to Him.

    ReplyDelete
  8. For me, I let the LORD guide me. When I was in a writing group, they all wrote fiction, mostly time-travel, or 'science fiction', I chose to write mysteries. One day, I felt led to write devotions and Christian essays. almost a decade ago, I left that writing group and am still writing Christian devotions, essays and some short plays. I guess that makes me a Christian writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quiet Spirit ... we'd love to see you in Word Weavers (Word-Weavers.com). :)

      Delete
  9. This is a topic that has come up in my writing group. As a Christian, even my secular fiction must glorify God. So where will it be shelved? In the CF aisle, or the Romance aisle? This is something all of us who feel called to write should contemplate. If we are to be "salt and light," are we limiting ourselves by huddling in the CF aisle?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love this. I have a book I'm working on at times that is very different from the others. It is not, so much, for the choir...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, my goodness. You and Eddie Jones (his last keynote at NGCWC 2018)are making me think . . . and pray over the work of my hands and heart. Lord, what is it You would have me say? Blessed to have an insightful editor and an equally gifted publisher.

    ReplyDelete
  12. If what you are writing carries a seed that will be planted in the readers mind and it's roots will grow down to their inner Soul and sprout a new spirit...You are a Christian. God tells his children to spread the Gospels.
    If you are watering other Christian Spirits with your words as they read them, then you are edifying them. God also commands us to edify each other, that also makes you a Christian. So, if you are using your gift to reach people who are saved or not and planted a seed that GOD wanted you to plant....

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a timely discussion for me. I was feeling guilty because I don't write with a mindset of getting the whole gospel into the work at hand. Although I do wonder how much of a character's "not-yet-believer" state I should reveal. Does it confuse the ultimate message? Still feeling my way there.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Eva, we struggle with the same battle. God is moving in a big way and I believe He is strongly shifting our thought process into writing into a non-Christian world. He first asks us to search our own hearts. Align ourselves so that he might abide in us. Excellent post from a woman who is both an amazing Christian and an amazing Christian writer. I am honored to learn from you and to call you friend.

    ReplyDelete
  15. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that
    can help me. Thank you

    ReplyDelete