Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Dipping the Quill Deeper: Cliques

by Eva Marie Everson 

As my journey into the questions God asked within the Holy Writ continues, I came across this question asked by Jesus during His earthly ministry.

If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

That’s the New Living Translation. Look now at Matthew 5:47 again in the Berean Literal Bible.

And if you greet only your brothers, what extraordinary are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (emphasis, mine)

I visited my cousin’s church recently. A well-maintained country church set under the shade of massive live oaks that spread their branches so wide you have to squint to see the sun as it attempts to filter through. Along the sanctuary walls are stained-glass windows depicting various events in the life of Christ. When the sun finally does make it through the leaves and branches, colors like those from an 8-crayon box of Crayola cast prisms over the padded pews. It’s like Christmas every day.

I’d attended the church several times before and knew a handful of folks. On this visit, I walked into the sanctuary alone. A woman greeted me near the door as if she’d known me forever, but we’d not seen each other for decades. 

“Do I know you?” I asked. “I meet a lot of people, so I—”

“No,” she said, the warmest smile encouraging my own. “But you look like someone I’d like to know.”

Well, if that wasn’t the sweetest thing . . . I instantly felt as if I knew the entire congregation.

Conference Season #2

We Christian writers have just come through one conference season and entered another. After spring/summer session, there will be fall session and then we’ll grow quiet for a few months before winter/spring session starts up again. 

We attend these events for several reasons. We want/need the knowledge gleaned during the workshops. We want/need the inspiration received from the keynote speakers. (Let’s face it; sometimes those keynotes are like water after a trek across the desert’s hot sands.) We also, being pretty much lone wolves, want/need the time with “our people.” They get us like no one else does or can. We also, as professionals, want/need the networking within the industry. It’s true; in this profession, it’s not just what you know, but who you know. 

There’s a First Time for Everything

Do you remember your first writers conference? I do. I was absolutely terrified, telling myself the entire flight up to “pretend you know what you’re doing. If you pretend well enough, they won’t ever catch on that you have no idea what you’re doing.” 

Did I mention I was on faculty? Yep. That’s right. My first writers conference was spent as a faculty member. 

Yesterday, I spoke to a Word Weavers president about one of her members who would be attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for the first time. Let me rephrase that: this was his first conference ever. Can you imagine? Blue Ridge as your first conference? Not that it matters. The “I have no idea what I’m doing” or “I have no idea what I’m doing here” is the same whether there are 50, 100, or 600 people in attendance. 

I admit, it’s easy to see those familiar faces—those we’ve waited months to see again—and within a few hugs, retreat to hang out for the next few days within our cliques. I think of it as familiarity within a sea of scary unknown, even for the old hats. 

But let me encourage you, those of you who are the “old hats” or the “moderately broken-in hats,” to do as Jesus asked: greet more than those you know already. Welcome those who haven’t become your friends. Yet. Look for the “deer caught in the headlights” appearance on your fellow conferees and draw them in, assuring them that all will be well. 

We, most of us, may be Gentiles, but we are not pagans. We are Christians. We are writers. We are Christian writers.

Go one step further: be extraordinary Christian writers.


Eva Marie Everson is the CEO of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She is the multiple award-winning author of more than 40 books and countless articles and blogposts. She is also an award-winning speaker and a Bible teacher and the most recent recipient of the AWSA Lifetime Achievement Award (2022). 

Eva Marie is often seen at writers conferences across the States. She served as a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and taught as a guest professor at Taylor University in 2011. She and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they enjoy their grandchildren. They are owned by one persnickety cat named Vanessa.

Eva Marie's latest book, THE THIRD PATH, takes a look at 26 of the questions God asked in the Bible, then makes them personal to the reader. The premise of the book is currently her most asked for continuing workshop at writers conferences.

1 comment:

  1. I knew absolutely no one at my first BRMCWC back in 2014. It may not have been as big in numbers then, but it was big in welcome and lending shoulders to cry upon. Big in prayers prayed over one. Big in encouraging and validating words. And along the way, through the years, I’ve made friends whose names appear on best-selling books, fiction and non-fiction. I’ve learned new things. I’ve seen dreams come true. But having made friends like you who’ve come alongside me in ways I never thought possible has been the best part of this journey. We’re all in this together—writing for Him, to touch that one soul who’d not know what they could do or be until they meet Him through our words. What a blessing this Christian writing world has been and continues to be. Thank you!! And thanks to all I’ve met along the way. Again—I’ll never forget about Nehemiah.