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Johne Raised an Interesting Question...


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He said:

 

"I think we have a far larger problem: How do we get new readers, period. But I admit that's a tangent for another thread."

 

So how do we get more readers, when all the tried and true tropes for getting new ones are exhausted, the question still remains unanswered.  So how do we?  

 

I'd like you opinion.  Especially, but not limited to, the unsaved.  How do we draw them into conversation?

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My immediate instinct is paralleling. 
 

For example, C.S Lewis in the Narnia series. He paralleled the Bible in a way that didn’t shove it in your face, but still taught you lessons, whether or not you realized it. 
J.K Tolkien did the same thing in both of his most popular series, The Hobbit, and The Lord of The Rings. He made parallels back to Jesus and a divine Creator, and most don’t even notice it. 
in all three of these series, you see powerful stories that subtly display the authors morals and beliefs, with secret messages and lessons wove into the pages. So subtle that non-believers and believers adore them. This opens doors for non-believers, making Christian ideals feel normal to them, and it encourages the cementing faith of believers. 
Overall it’s a brilliant technique that more Christian authors need to start picking up. The times we’re living in are very ... unstable. Christians are a target, (we have been since Jesus’s time) which means we have to be clever in spreading the Good News without landing ourselves in the fire. We can be out spoken in a way thats loud but still subtle. 
 

Those are my thoughts at least 😅 I hope that made sense. 

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1 hour ago, suspensewriter said:

How do we draw them into conversation?

 

Maybe we need to do some reverse engineering? Let's start by reviewing what I've come to find as a common Christian trope:

 

1. Create Christian protagonists (or characters in general) with very few (if any) flaws, and make them fluent in Christianize. 

2. The antagonist is always a non-Christian religious bigot, who smokes, drinks, and curses without actually using bad words.

3. The settings are usually a collection of typical Christian enclaves. Churches, Bible studies, etc.

4. The plot is usually Christians being persecuted in some way by the antagonist.

5.  At the point of "all is lost for the Christians," the preverbal 800-pound come-to-Jesus anvil is abruptly dropped on the antagonist. He/she has a miraculous conversion and all is well in the world.

6. The Christian reader closes the book with great satisfaction, while the non-Christian likely closed the book after the first chapter while wondering: "What did I just read?"

 

Am I close?

      

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55 minutes ago, Asia Johnson said:

Overall it’s a brilliant technique that more Christian authors need to start picking up. The times we’re living in are very ... unstable. Christians are a target, (we have been since Jesus’s time) which means we have to be clever in spreading the Good News without landing ourselves in the fire. We can be out spoken in a way thats loud but still subtle. 

 

Yes, I couldn't agree more, @Asia Johnson.

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2 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

I'd like you opinion.  Especially, but not limited to, the unsaved.  How do we draw them into conversation?

Remember that series I recommended a month ago? The Chosen?

 

That's what they think they're doing -- using 95% fantasy about Christ's ministry on earth to "draw them into conversation." Also, the reason I stopped watching it.

 

First, showing something, (whether video, illustration, or writing), isn't conversing. Talking is conversing.

 

Second, that conversing is God-centered, not artistic-license/christian-culture centered. I'm going to rely on the Bible, not on artists, for that one.

 

I wasted 20+ years being drawn in by christian-culture pretending to be about God. I now have to wash it out of my mind while refocusing on the true God. The two most famous modern-day Christian fiction creators think their creations are of great service to God. (Jerry B. Jenkins and his son Dallas Jenkins.) And that is what happens when we think we can retell God's story. Everyone has to wash the nonsense out of our brains.

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5 hours ago, Asia Johnson said:

For example, C.S Lewis in the Narnia series. He paralleled the Bible in a way that didn’t shove it in your face, but still taught you lessons, whether or not you realized it. 
J.K Tolkien did the same thing in both of his most popular series, The Hobbit, and The Lord of The Rings. He made parallels back to Jesus and a divine Creator, and most don’t even notice it. 


Curiously, while C.S. Lewis was deliberate in his intention to write Biblical allegory, JRRT was deliberate in trying to avoid it. And yet, his faith is like an overflowing cup which informed everything he wrote.

I like that.

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2 hours ago, Johne said:


Curiously, while C.S. Lewis was deliberate in his intention to write Biblical allegory, JRRT was deliberate in trying to avoid it. And yet, his faith is like an overflowing cup which informed everything he wrote.

I like that.

Yeah, I think if you’re a strong Christian, it’s impossible to keep your faith out of anything you do. 

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10 hours ago, Asia Johnson said:

So subtle that non-believers and believers adore them

 

My problem is when it's TOO subtle. I'll say first, I believe different things work for different people. A subtle gospel message can work in fiction that can later be used for a believer to share with the person, but here are some of my own observations regarding parallels. 

 

1) Chronicles of Narnia. As a believer, it was super clear to me that it's a Biblical parallel. I found it interesting that non-believers love it. But... if they love it and yet hate God, if they can read this but still miss the message completely, how much help is it really doing? (This is a question, I don't have the answer, but I also haven't personally seen it do any evangelizing.)

2) Lord of the Rings. I was shocked when someone said it has Biblical parallels. And I still don't see it. Then again... I fell asleep the two times I tried to watch the first movie. It was so incredibly boring to me. I read the Hobbit, but haven't gotten around to reading the rest. I get some of the concepts, but maybe it's because I'm not really into fantasy, I am confused when you tell me it's Biblical. I don't think it's enough to just have Biblical VALUES and call it a great Christian-themed story. Non-Believers have values too, their books reflect Godly values without knowing it because it's kind of well-known that people should be kind to each other. I feel like some parallels come out as just a fun experience, and not a great witnessing strategy. Unless, again, you outright talk to them about it. So it can be a tool, but I really wonder how many people will care about God just because they enjoyed LoTR.

 

(I don't mean to say it's wrong, just these are my thoughts, so feel free to share if you've seen any evidence to the contrary!)

Edited by JosiAtara
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1 hour ago, JosiAtara said:

maybe it's because I'm not really into fantasy, I am confused when you tell me it's Biblical.


If you're not into Fantasy, and you haven't finished watching any of the movies, much less the entire extended versions of the three movies in the trilogy, I can understand your confusion.

As a lifelong Fantasy lover, and life-long Christian, the parallels jumped off the screen. The parallels couldn't have been clearer to me if you'd drawn a map.

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29 minutes ago, Johne said:

and life-long Christian,

I feel like this is kind of the kicker, and why you can see it, as I can clearly see Narnia's parallels.

But what do non-believers think of it?

Have you had any experience with others being open to hearing about Godly matters after discussing LoTR or any other movies? (You seem to have an enthusiasm for it, perhaps you can do something like a blog that casually mentions it to help get non-believers interested!)

 

But Also, put yourself in their shoes, if someone said a movie explains Muslim faith ideals, would you be open to hearing more, or just enjoy the entertainment and ignore their arguments--or even avoid it because of that? (This is to pose questions for the sake of seeing how we can reach people, I hope it doesn't come across as arguing and offensive!)

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12 minutes ago, JosiAtara said:

But what do non-believers think of it?


Many have come to Christ as a result of reading Tolkien's work. Many more are asking questions which I trust the Holy Spirit is there to engage with.
 

13 minutes ago, JosiAtara said:

Have you had any experience with others being open to hearing about Godly matters after discussing LoTR or any other movies?


All the time, but that's kind of my MO. I find something I'm passionate about, and sooner or later the conversation always comes back to God. I mean, I'm the guy who found Unconditional Love at the heart of this summer's hardest R film that so many Christians are warning their friends not to watch. 😉

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2 hours ago, JosiAtara said:

 

My problem is when it's TOO subtle. I'll say first, I believe different things work for different people. A subtle gospel message can work in fiction that can later be used for a believer to share with the person, but here are some of my own observations regarding parallels. 

 

1) Chronicles of Narnia. As a believer, it was super clear to me that it's a Biblical parallel. I found it interesting that non-believers love it. But... if they love it and yet hate God, if they can read this but still miss the message completely, how much help is it really doing? (This is a question, I don't have the answer, but I also haven't personally seen it do any evangelizing.)

2) Lord of the Rings. I was shocked when someone said it has Biblical parallels. And I still don't see it. Then again... I fell asleep the two times I tried to watch the first movie. It was so incredibly boring to me. I read the Hobbit, but haven't gotten around to reading the rest. I get some of the concepts, but maybe it's because I'm not really into fantasy, I am confused when you tell me it's Biblical. I don't think it's enough to just have Biblical VALUES and call it a great Christian-themed story. Non-Believers have values too, their books reflect Godly values without knowing it because it's kind of well-known that people should be kind to each other. I feel like some parallels come out as just a fun experience, and not a great witnessing strategy. Unless, again, you outright talk to them about it. So it can be a tool, but I really wonder how many people will care about God just because they enjoyed LoTR.

 

(I don't mean to say it's wrong, just these are my thoughts, so feel free to share if you've seen any evidence to the contrary!)

Okay, so I guess earlier I was talking more from my point of view. I grew up watching the Narnia series, and so when I first jumped into learning the Bible, because of Narnia, it all clicked in place for me. Regarding LOTR, the parallels taught me some new perspectives on Jesus, and the Hobbit showed the significance of things like coincidences and how they’re often God’s hand at work. So, parallels work well for me. But nothing works well for everyone. In regards to non-believers and parallels, I wasn’t suggesting that parallels could covert someone to Christianity, but our society is drifting further and further from Christian values, which is why parallels could be extremely influential, especially on younger crowds. It also shows without saying, how beautiful Christianity is. Kind of introduces them to our values in a way that isn’t preachy.

Edited by Asia Johnson
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51 minutes ago, Johne said:

Many have come to Christ as a result of reading Tolkien's work

 

I had no idea! That's awesome. So I guess it can work.

 

28 minutes ago, Asia Johnson said:

Kind of introduces them to our values in a way that isn’t preachy

 

I get that, I was just not understanding how simply sharing our ideals can do much good--but the more I think about it, the more it can open doors and plant seeds.

 

There are different ways to reach people, and different things they need to be reached with (ideals, or the full gospel message, or whatever), so parallels are a good suggestion. I just was curious how effective they really were, and, apparently they are more effective than I realized!

 

(Oh, and @Johne, I DID finally watch the LoTR trilogy complete with extended versions. My friends were HUGE into it and made me start where I kept falling asleep so I could finally finish the first one, and it was just the first movie that was super boring to me. I DO remember some funny scenes from the trilogy, but beyond that, I don't think I fully grasped the details. Just the main plot points. 🤷‍♀️ So I'd say I just happen to be an example of someone who won't get something out of it, not proof that it doesn't do good 🙂. I am not qualified to critique fantasy, just to ask questions!)

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1 hour ago, JosiAtara said:

get that, I was just not understanding how simply sharing our ideals can do much good--but the more I think about it, the more it can open doors and plant seeds.

 

There are different ways to reach people, and different things they need to be reached with (ideals, or the full gospel message, or whatever), so parallels are a good suggestion. I just was curious how effective they really were, and, apparently they are more effective than I realized!

Absolutely! Parallels aren’t the only way to influence non-believers in writing. I’m curious to see other ideas. 

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11 hours ago, Johne said:


If you're not into Fantasy, and you haven't finished watching any of the movies, much less the entire extended versions of the three movies in the trilogy, I can understand your confusion.

As a lifelong Fantasy lover, and life-long Christian, the parallels jumped off the screen. The parallels couldn't have been clearer to me if you'd drawn a map.

Hubby and I were talking about this last night. We've both been born-again believers since the beginning of the 70s. We both love fantasies enough that each year we watch The Hobbit (trilogy), LotR, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. We both get some of the allegory in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And we disagree on The Chosen. (I don't want to watch it again. He loves it.) But, nope. We really don't get how LotR, or even The Hobbit has anything to do with the gospel. What's the ring? Where is Jesus? How did there become three factions?

 

But more importantly, how does that go from jumping off the page for you to having nonbelievers come to know the Lord?

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1 hour ago, Spaulding said:

But more importantly, how does that go from jumping off the page for you to having nonbelievers come to know the Lord?


I have a rule when I go to the movies–I never carry in preconceived notions. (The last time I utterly, passionately hated a film was watching Darren Aronofsky's NOAH, because I know the Genesis account and he used extra-biblical sources to embellish his story.) And so when I watched LOTR, the scriptural principles leapt off the screen to me: Samwise's steadfastness and grace, how evern Frodo's goodness and determination failed in the face of the power and temptation of The One Ring (signifying our need for a savior), Boromir's temptation and redemption, Gandalf's sacrifice and resurrection, I could go on and on.

But instead of taking my word for it, I give you an article picked at random from the internet of the account of an atheist who's life was changed by the overflowing cup of Tolkien's faith even though he determined not to make LOTR a Christian allegory. (I note this doesn't make him a Christian, but he's no longer an Atheist, and it appears to me he is in a place where the Holy Spirit can lead him to salvation. Which is really all I'm saying, write stories of realistic struggle between good and evil and display the great wonder inherent in a Created universe, and let the Holy Spirit work from there.)
https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/i-was-an-atheist-until-i-read-the-lord-of-the-rings/5351/
 

Quote

 

What broke the ice? What made me consider God’s existence a real possibility? The Lord of the Rings. I was a young teenager when I first read the Tolkien tomes, and they immediately captivated me. The fantasy world of Middle-earth oozes life and profundity. The cultures of the various peoples are organic, rooted in tradition while maintaining a fresh, living energy. Mountains and forests have personalities, and the relationship between people and earth is marked by stewardship and intimacy. Creation knowing creation. Tolkien describes these things with beautiful prose that reads like it’s half poetry and half medieval history. Everything seems “deep” in The Lord of the Rings. The combination of character archetypes and assertive “lifeness” in the novel touches on an element of fundamental humanity. Every Lord of the Rings fan knows exactly what I’m talking about.

tIn my narrow confines of scientism, I had no way of processing what made Tolkien’s masterpiece so profound. How could a made-up fantasy world reveal anything about the “truth”? But I knew it did, and this changed my way of thinking. Are good and evil merely social constructions, or are they real on a deeper level? Why am I relating to ridiculous things like talking trees and corrupted wraiths? Why was I so captivated by this story that made fighting evil against all odds so profound? Why did it instill in me a longing for an adventure of the arduous good? And how does the story make sacrifice so appealing? The Lord of the Rings showed me a world where things seemed more “real” than the world I lived in. Not in a literal way, obviously; in a metaphorical, beyond-the-surface way. The beautiful struggle and self-sacrificial glory permeating The Lord of the Rings struck a chord in my soul and filled me with longing that I couldn’t easily dismiss.

 

 

Quote

 

At some point the tension was too much: either morality is a farce, everything is random with no meaning, and the human mind is mired in inescapable confusion, or atheism is false. I chose the latter. That was the logical side. On the emotional side, so many joys in this world have nothing to do with self-preservation or successful reproduction: art, music, a beautiful sunset, etc. I think deep down we all recognize that those kinds of aesthetic experiences may be the most joyful in this life, and these joys serve no productive purpose. The richness of life, which is on full poetic display in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, made me recognize that supposedly rational atheism did not reveal the truth of things; instead, it removed their intrinsic wonder and worth.

Having abandoned atheism, I still faced several objections to organized religion that are beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that my critique of atheism gave me a natural monotheistic theology, while The Lord of the Rings predisposed me to a sacramental spirituality. For now, however, let us remember the evangelistic power of beauty and narrative. Much like The Lord of the Rings, they are effective precisely because God is hidden and able to fly below the atheist radar that balks at anything overtly religious. In Middle-earth, the effects of a God-created universe are everywhere, but the source, God himself, is hidden. No, it’s not that we believers understand The Lord of the Rings on some special level that the atheist does not. Just the opposite. The atheist who truly understands The Lord of the Rings is more of a believer than he thinks. 

 

 

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I know this about myself–my temperament is such that I frequently see things that not everybody else sees, and miss other things which is obvious to everyone else. I've long made my peace with this. It's how I can watch what would appear to be a middling Noir but thoroughly enjoy it because I enjoy the genre so much and understand it on a deep level. I don't have to convince anyone of what I detect in LOTR to know what is there. It would be one thing if I was the only one seeing these things, but I've talked and read literally hundreds of people who have a similar perspective on Tolkien's work. I don't need there to be an overt savior figure to see the wonder of God, the hand of God, and our need for a savior.

And that's part of my struggle I see when Christians write purportedly to unbelievers–we flatly declaring truths  they can't see from inside the veil and write about issues dear to us that they have no interest in. That's a problem.

But I know people respond to redemption stories. I think those are included in Lewis' 'watchful dragons' category, stories about wicked people who change, and whose moral change inspires the desire for change in us as well. I've mentioned my favorite redemption stories many times. When people see that we are all wicked and in need of help, the Holy Spirit has an extra toe hold to get in there and work. I love situations that anyone can see. In this summer's THE SUICIDE SQUAD, why does Ratcatcher 2 take pity on King Shark, who moments before tried to eat her? How can she see good in Bloodsport (who shot Superman with a Kryptonite bullet and put him in the ICU) and have such faith in Bloodsport that he does the right thing even when it goes against his most basic survival instinct? It's love of a sort the world desires but can't understand, but we all know it when we see it. And we can write about that love without using the name of Jesus, much as Jesus did when he spoke about the Prodigal. We can all see the truth in a simple, moral story, and that frees us as authors to get creative about the stories we tell.

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2 hours ago, Spaulding said:

We really don't get how LotR, or even The Hobbit has anything to do with the gospel. What's the ring? Where is Jesus? How did there become three factions?

 

I'm one of the few here who have a hard time relating Lord of the Rings to Christian literature.  Yeah, Tolkien was a devout Catholic, but I think that's where the resemblance ends.

 

The RIng, however, is a catalyst.  Sauron needs it (it is a part of him).  It is a way for him to cheat death and judgement.  It is everything bad about the world - the very world that both God and Jesus tell us to avoid.  The Ring is power unbridled and all other forms of power (the nine rings of Men, and seven rings for the Dwarf lords, the three Elven rings) are tied to it's existence.  All who pursue the Ring are corrupted by it.  The Ring seeks out the darker intentions of those who desire it and uses that to gain dominance.

 

Isildur first took the ring.  His desire to contain and control Sauron prevented him from destroying it.  Isildur is Numenorean (sp:?), and being sort of an uber-Man, he possesses a stronger will.  Hence, when he is ambushed, the Ring abandons him at the worst possible moment, leading to his death.  Given that Aragorn was Isildur's heir, he too could have possessed and dominated the Ring, but wisdom and experience led him to do otherwise.

 

Denethor claims he wants the Ring to fight Sauron, but Denethor no longer recognizes the line of Isildur, and seeks the throne for he and his sons.  This is why, after the death of Boromir, as Faramir lay dying and even as Mordor is pounding on the gates of Minis Tirith, Denethor goes mad, his dreams shattered.  He burns himself on a pyre (if I remember correctly) as a way to burn down the line of Stewards, or figuratively burning down the former glory of Men along with him.

 

Saruman the White also seeks the ring.  To the end that he makes his own.  His lust for the power of Sauron essentially shatters his spirit.  In the Hobbit, Saruman is wise, and he is The White.  By the time he reveals his true intentions to Gandalf, he is now Saruman of the Many Colors, his "purity" and his motives now openly fractured.  By the time he is slain by Wormtongue after the Scourging of the Shire, he is nothing but a pitiful old hack, absent his former glory, still bitterly craving power but having none.

 

Galadriel, when presented the Ring, showed what the Ring might have done to her.  She is, perhaps, more powerful than Aragorn or Isildur, however, her temptation revealed that even she would have succumbed to the temptations of the Ring after a time.  She would have been beautiful, mighty, and cruel.

 

Smeagol lusted after the ring because in his heart he was an avaricious, pathetic individual.  It was this that turned him into Gollum.  Jealous and envious of others, this is why he finds a hole under a mountain, where he can live forever with his "birthday present."  The very thing he killed someone to possess.

 

Bilbo and Frodo are resistant to the ring because they are happy with their lives, and humble to an extent.  They are content to live in peace, or in Bilbo's case, travel the world and see the sights.  Both are fairly well-off, and live in a society where gross austerity is sort of frowned upon.  They are free people who really just want to live life and be left alone by the greater world.  So, with them, they are resistant to the Ring's pull.  This is the primary reason why the Ring makes them invisible, but little else.

 

The last lesson Lord of the Rings reveals is not only the folly of power, but the blessings of wisdom.

 

Of those in the presence of the Ring, those who were historically in the Ring's orbit, those that lived and grew mighty in power were those who rejected it in the first place.  Aragon never once attempts to take the ring - he becomes king.  Sam only takes the Ring out of need, thinking Frodo dead.  When Frodo is alive, he relinquishes the Ring, carrying Frodo on his back rather than taking it back a second time.  He marries Rosie and lives a long and blessed life.

 

Faramir has one of the best lines in the book, stating that even if the Ring were laying by the side of the road, he would not bother to bend down and pick it up.  He becomes the new Steward.  Gandalf is elevated to Gandalf the White, replacing Saruman.  Galadriel, who has long known power, finally returns home as she once was.  Perhaps something she longed for all of this time she ruled in Middle Earth.

 

And everyone who desired the ring?  Everyone who sought the Ring?  All dead.

 

Power is that which God grants.  It cannot be taken.  Those that pursue it, those who lust to take it from those whom God appointed reap the benefits thereof.  A short time of glory, wealth and dominion, usually followed by a violent death.  THAT is the way of the world.  It is a lesson that so few people heed or acknowledge.

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3 hours ago, Spaulding said:

We really don't get how LotR, or even The Hobbit has anything to do with the gospel. What's the ring? Where is Jesus? How did there become three factions?

I'll give you a quick summary so you don't have to read any long articles. 

In LOTR, Jesus is represented by three different characters. Each character shows a different aspect to Him. The most obvious character is Sam. Sam is sacrificial, is there with Frodo from the start, even when didn't see it, and stands strong against the temptation of the ring. My favorite quote from him that reminds me so much of Jesus is, "I can't carry your burden, but I can carry you." (he says this right before carrying Frodo up the mountain.)

Then there's Gandalf. You'll notice throughout the series that Gandalf just always has everything under control. (there are a few moments when he doesn't, but you don't want perfect characters in any story) His timing is always perfect, and he teaches both hobbits and dwarves alike valuable lessons. 

Then Aaron. Humans are viewed as naturally evil in TLOR and Hobbit series, but he's the exception. Overall his personality reminds me of Jesus. Calm, gentle, respectful, noble, sacrificial, just, forgiving, and he doesn't leave people behind. He's also the bloodline of a king, which reminds me a little of how Jesus came from the line of David. 

 

None of these characters represent Jesus perfectly of course. They were written to display different attributes of Jesus. 

(I hope that made sense)

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Just another thought on this.

 

I think a lot of Christian writers are influenced by an outdated evangelistic paradigm, which leads to a notion that our writing must bring people to Jesus. It's like our writing needs to be like an old Billy Graham crusade, resulting in scores of people turning their lives over to Jesus in the immediate aftermath.

 

I think those days are long gone. These days (and for a while now) the evangelistic process takes a lot longer, and often involves several people/influences along the way. Yet many Christian authors struggle to understand why their one book didn't have the same profound impact of a BG crusade.

 

I live in New England, which is arguably one of the toughest places on Earth to evangelize. Typical New Englanders are fiercely independent and highly distrustful of organized religion. It should be no surprise that the American revolution ignited here. Hey, I even lived in Lexington, where it all started! I understand the mindset. 

 

Needless to say, expecting anyone around here to respond positively to a single Christian encounter is laughably unrealistic. In fact, if they don't outright ignore it, they'll probably respond with an abundance of cynicism. So it takes a lot of genuine effort just to move the needle a little bit, and then it's usually up to the next person to move it a little more, and so on.

 

It's said that once you have friended a New Englander, you have a friend for life. I think it's the same for when they finally come to faith in Jesus - they are fierce Christians for life.

 

So that's the reality I write in. I don't expect to hit a grand-slam homerun every time I come up to the preverbal batter's box of writing. I'll likely strike out a couple of times before I get on base, and that's doing well. But remember, it takes the entire team to win a baseball game.  

        

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2 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

think a lot of Christian writers are influenced by an outdated evangelistic paradigm, which leads to a notion that our writing must bring people to Jesus. It's like our writing needs to be like an old Billy Graham crusade, resulting in scores of people turning their lives over to Jesus in the immediate aftermath.

 

I think those days are long gone. These days (and for a while now) the evangelistic process takes a lot longer, and often involves several people/influences along the way. Yet many Christian authors struggle to understand why their one book didn't have the same profound impact of a BG crusade.

 

Totally agree. It's the job of the Holy Spirit to save. I see my job as writing about normal people coming face-to-face with moral choices and watching what they do and the consequences which follow.

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25 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

Just another thought on this.

 

I think a lot of Christian writers are influenced by an outdated evangelistic paradigm, which leads to a notion that our writing must bring people to Jesus. It's like our writing needs to be like an old Billy Graham crusade, resulting in scores of people turning their lives over to Jesus in the immediate aftermath.

 

I think those days are long gone. These days (and for a while now) the evangelistic process takes a lot longer, and often involves several people/influences along the way. Yet many Christian authors struggle to understand why their one book didn't have the same profound impact of a BG crusade.

 

I live in New England, which is arguably one of the toughest places on Earth to evangelize. Typical New Englanders are fiercely independent and highly distrustful of organized religion. It should be no surprise that the American revolution ignited here. Hey, I even lived in Lexington, where it all started! I understand the mindset. 

 

Needless to say, expecting anyone around here to respond positively to a single Christian encounter is laughably unrealistic. In fact, if they don't outright ignore it, they'll probably respond with an abundance of cynicism. So it takes a lot of genuine effort just to move the needle a little bit, and then it's usually up to the next person to move it a little more, and so on.

 

It's said that once you have friended a New Englander, you have a friend for life. I think it's the same for when they finally come to faith in Jesus - they are fierce Christians for life.

 

So that's the reality I write in. I don't expect to hit a grand-slam homerun every time I come up to the preverbal batter's box of writing. I'll likely strike out a couple of times before I get on base, and that's doing well. But remember, it takes the entire team to win a baseball game.  

        

100% agree with this. Someone might plant the seeds, another might weed the garden, someone else may water the ground, but odds are, none of us will see the flowers. 

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