If you’ve got high standards and use moral writing in your fiction, you’re in good company. Or at least strange company.
I’m a total snob when it comes to certain things. Rooibos tea, British or Irish tea, novels (though I have my indulgences, too), movies, television, art… And that’s not a bad thing – unless that applies to your relationships with or views of people. But I digress.
One of the biggest things I’ve had to work on as a writer and as a Christian is having the proper perspectives and “standards” regarding morality in my writing.
As a young novelist, I literally heard God’s audible voice tell me that my writing was “good and for [His] purposes.” Unfortunately, I wrongfully assumed that everything I ever wrote had to directly share the Gospel. I believed that to fulfill God’s directive for my writing, I had to plant myself behind the pulpit to “preach” through my writings.
I also assumed that every production I wrote and directed also had to present the Gospel clearly. I thought I had to leave no questions unanswered on who Jesus is and what it means to serve Him.
And, while I was growing and learning, those were okay assumptions accurate for my writing and performing arts endeavors. For whatever reason, that was my calling at the time.
As the years have progressed, I’ve met more and more people who are turned off by so-called Christians who shout “Jesus this, Jesus that” at them. Even more, they are turned off by those evangelicals who hate the people around them who don’t believe in the same twisted version of Jesus that they do.
I’ve paused and asked a heap of questions on the reality of faith, what it means to follow Jesus, and what it means to use my art as a means of sharing valuable stories.
I still have the same passion for using everything I create as an opportunity to share positive messages or make stands against injustice and evil. But I have come to see the value in being a bit less – okay, a lot less – “Jesus this, Jesus that” about most things that I write.
I’ve learned it’s necessary to step out from behind that pulpit and engage in real stories with real people living real lives. I’m not God’s gift to humanity any more than that guy who screams his message from the street corner as you’re out shopping.
Don’t get me wrong – I still share important stories through most of my novels. But I’ve been learning more and more how not to do so in a “Churchianity” way.
The first step in this was one of NaNoWriMo novels in which I led my narrator to meet Christ but left her questioning God’s existence, her examination of faith and life, and asking herself if there’s something to this Jesus.
And this year, as I continue my NaNoWriMo journey, I’m asking myself as I write, “Why is my story important? Who wants to hear it? How do I keep myself from being a preachy jerkwad when I tell it?”
Whatever your faith, your moral stance, or your driving passion is, preaching at your audience (yes, at) is never going to have the impact you’re looking for.
Adapted from the author’s original post on the Juanita Millhouse blog.
Editor-in-Chief of The MockingOwl Roost, Rita Mock-Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane solo around the world. Rita has found inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.