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Not a writer, but I write


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Why I am considering writing.

Society in America has reached an impasse concerning social values. Two sides predominately divide into liberal and conservative philosophies. Ironically, the Church finds itself caught between the two. This should not be the case, yet it seems to be.

My reason for writing, if I decide to proceed, will be to define the problem and the solution.

The Church should be the shining example of solutions for all social problems. Unfortunately, the Church can itself become entwined in the conflict, and for reasons of self-preservation, become more of an emulsifier than a clarifier.

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Guest Spaulding

Clarity of terms:

You write, therefore you are a writer.

 

Your goal is to be heard? Or, more precisely to be read? Correct?

 

In which case, you want to be an author. (Someone who writes and is published. Although I tend to include "and makes money," but I think that's personal, not a primary definition.)

 

Sooo, all that to say, "Congratulations. You are a writer. Now comes the hard part, to write to be understood, have it be published, and marketed in such a way as to have an audience."

 

I write fiction. (Nothing published yet, but I'm a writer all right.) But I have read in the area you want to procedure, so go for it. There are some on here who write for the same reasons you write, and the rest of us, (I'm pretty sure), have been/are the audience, so this is a good place to begin the purpose.

 

(But you already are a writer. I can tell that from what you wrote.)

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Guest LauraJo

Are you considering fiction or nonfiction?  Who would be your audience? Where would you present your ideas? What type of response do you want? Do you want a dialogue or just present your ideas?

 

I write Christian fantasy because it is a way to isolate questions and present problems without the entanglement of  changing social norms and expectations. I like the non-threatening dialogue that I can have about book themes. There are many ways to approach social reform.

 

Writing is a wonderful way to clarify your thoughts. Consider the many ways you can approach your desire to write. Pray about your response and where you can be effective.

 

This site is a wonderful community of Christians that support each other. I look forward to having you post about what type of writing you consider pursuing,

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5 hours ago, Richard Abelseth said:

My reason for writing, if I decide to proceed, will be to define the problem and the solution.

 

The problem is two-fold: one, identifying the problem, and two, presenting the solution to the populace in a way they are willing (or even eager) to accept. (I believe this is why Christ used parables in addition to His sermons to share Godly wisdom with the people.)

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had similar concerns about their culture, and used fiction to get their points across. Lewis, in particular, was well aware that some of his non-fiction arguments weren't being ingested by the very people he most wanted to reach, and he found another way to paint the problem and his suggested solutions.

Quote

C.S. Lewis wrote about stealing past “watchful dragons” to describe the ability of literature to reach the hearts and minds of a reader with ideas they might not otherwise consider.[2] He proposed that such stories could work upon the imagination to bring the heart to Christ. Indeed, his own experience was something of that sort. He credits the work of George MacDonald with “baptizing his imagination” long before he committed his life to Christ, or even acknowledged that there is a God.

 

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On 1/5/2022 at 10:58 AM, Richard Abelseth said:

Why I am considering writing.

Society in America has reached an impasse concerning social values. Two sides predominately divide into liberal and conservative philosophies. Ironically, the Church finds itself caught between the two. This should not be the case, yet it seems to be.

My reason for writing, if I decide to proceed, will be to define the problem and the solution.

The Church should be the shining example of solutions for all social problems. Unfortunately, the Church can itself become entwined in the conflict, and for reasons of self-preservation, become more of an emulsifier than a clarifier.

 

 

Don't take this wrong - if you are writing fiction, and this is your approach, you'll fail.

 

People don't like being preached at.  They are thinking individuals that make decisions for themselves.  If you want to reach them, tell them a story, not a lesson plan.

 

Secondly, you have to love writing and storytelling for all of this to work.  It has to come first.  If the agenda comes first, then you get the schlock that gets pumped out by the popular culture.

 

So - again - don't take it wrong.  But you should really keep these things in mind.

 

 

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On 1/6/2022 at 9:55 AM, Jeff Potts said:

 

 

Don't take this wrong - if you are writing fiction, and this is your approach, you'll fail.

 

People don't like being preached at.  They are thinking individuals that make decisions for themselves.  If you want to reach them, tell them a story, not a lesson plan.

 

Secondly, you have to love writing and storytelling for all of this to work.  It has to come first.  If the agenda comes first, then you get the schlock that gets pumped out by the popular culture.

 

So - again - don't take it wrong.  But you should really keep these things in mind.

 

 

I appreciate your input. I would never consider writing fiction. My intention is to initiate dialogue and debate. If something I write is published, I suppose a Christian Journal would be applicable. However, as you stated above, do Christians really want to be preached at? I think you are correct: they do not! I have contemplated these things that you mention. That's why I am completely indecisive about the reason for my writing. It's very possible that the only person that should read what I am writing is me. I am not a writer!

Years ago, when going through an extremely hard time, I started to write. I would sit down and just pound out my heart on paper. In reading what I had written, I started to understand what I truly believed and how I really felt. It was not until I put it down on paper that I could understand my own heart and mind. I have no need whatsoever to be published, nor am I seeking such. To that point, I have not submitted any writing to this site for review. I am undecided as to even doing that.

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Let me go a step further and say what is on my mind and behind my writing. Writing for the sake of writing, from my perspective, is not important. The topic is the only thing of importance to me. I have no need to become a writer, for the sake of being a writer. The communication infrastructure in this world is literally saturated with writing. I do not consider writing, for the love of writing, as important at all. What I consider important is the topic. The United States is in the midst of a Social War. This is a Civil War that is not being fought with guns but with executive orders, legislation, and litigation. We can either engage or ignore. Whatever I write is for engagement.

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5 minutes ago, Richard Abelseth said:

I am not a writer!


I wouldn't overthink this. A writer is a thinker who puts words down to share with others. (As opposed to an author, which I personally define as a writer who has sold some of their writing.) What you wrote in your initial post is writing which conveyed and idea which we have been engaging with in this thread. Congratulations! You are already a writer!

When I got started writing fiction, I prayed a lot about what God could do with my writing. I have written non-fiction (forum posts, FB posts, think pieces, technical writing, memoir pieces, all that stuff) and fiction (short stories and longer - my current WIP is over 171k words). Some things I write explicitly for Christians (to encourage, entertain, educate), but most of what I write if for 'normal people'–scripture says the fields are white and the workers are few. I write from a Christian worldview for the larger audience, and therefore my writing carries my belief system but isn't thinly-veiled preaching. I'm telling stories where people make decisions and their actions have consequences. We frequently look at Tolkien and Lewis and the effect their stories had on the larger world of readers, both Christians and non-Christians. 

I think I'd ask God to help you to know how to use your writing. It entirely acceptable to write just so you know what you think about things. However, it's possible He has a use for your writing to a larger audience. I read a story the other day about a man who worked in a small bank in Ohio with lax security in the 80s. He told him a story that he could get away with walking out of the bank with a large sum of money, and nobody refuted his story. So one day he did just that, and walked away with sum equal to $1.6 million. It is said 'rationalization is the second strongest human drive,' and I believe that. I've talked myself into so much trouble. I bet you have, too. This is why storytelling is so important–people make decisions based on what they think is the truth, and the 'truth' he told himself was 'I bet I could walk away with a lot of money,' and he did.

But while he never got caught, he didn't get away with it. He ran and started a new life and lived a lie for 50 years, but was haunted by guilt for his entire life, and he finally came clean on his death bed. The stories we tell ourselves inform our choices, and those choices have consequences. The world is telling people lies, and those lies cause carnage, sometimes leading to death, and sometimes far worse.

We have the ability–and I think the responsibility–to use our words to tell the truth in a way people can accept or appreciate. Sometimes, that's through a sermon or an essay, and sometimes it's through fiction: 'Once upon a time, a man found himself at the very brink of death, and cried out for help.' Stories resonate with people. What we write matters, and we're here to learn to write better so our stories (both fiction and non-fiction) can reach people who need to hear them. 

To sum up, yes, you're a writer, and you're in good company here. 😉 

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10 minutes ago, Richard Abelseth said:

The United States is in the midst of a Social War. This is a Civil War that is not being fought with guns but with executive orders, legislation, and litigation. We can either engage or ignore. Whatever I write is for engagement.


I see what you see, however, I've seen mere engagement tear families apart, and is at risk of tearing the country apart. In one sense, people are engaging as never before, and not always in the best ways.

Ironically, just being impassioned isn't enough. The problem as I see it is taking a message we think is clear and framing it in a way that an audience (which may not be our own people) can understand and possibly even agree with.

After thinking and praying about this for a long time, for myself, I decided to use my writing to persuade in a light-handed, entertaining way, showing people engaging poorly and then showing another way.

 

I've written before that I love redemption stories because they're so universally understood. Instead of writing an essay about the unfairness of life and how government can keep us down and that we need to do something about it, we read THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and see how Edmund Dontes wrestles with those things and initially refuses the idea of grace and is only motivated by a deep desire for revenge before ultimately returning to the faith of his former life and our need for both justice AND grace. 

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Guest Spaulding
4 hours ago, Richard Abelseth said:

I appreciate your input. I would never consider writing fiction. My intention is to initiate dialogue and debate. If something I write is published, I suppose a Christian Journal would be applicable. However, as you stated above, do Christians really want to be preached at? I think you are correct: they do not!

If given a choice between cleaning my toilet with a toothbrush or listening to rap, I'll even go to the store for the toothbrush first.

 

However, there is this rapper guy named Shai Linne, who is very big in the rap world. (He's in fourth place for all time for selling his music, so, apparently, he's very big.) He's also a Christian. (His lyrics are gospel loaded.) 

 

He writes books too. I read one. I don't agree with him all the way, but I did read it. I read it because I do need to make heads-and-tails out of this whole unity thing, especially since I live in Philly, (his hometown.) So, take a gander on how he wrote without preaching. The New Reformation: Finding Hope in the Fight for Ethnic Unity

 

There are other choices for nonfiction that don't fall under "preaching."

 

And, frankly, if I trust you, I'm fine with preaching too, as long as it is nonfiction.

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8 hours ago, Johne said:


I see what you see, however, I've seen mere engagement tear families apart, and is at risk of tearing the country apart. In one sense, people are engaging as never before, and not always in the best ways.
 

Thank you for your input. I appreciate your advice.

Friendships and families are at risk of being torn apart and the country is deeply divided. I heard today that a popular psychologist, in analyzing the current situation, said that even a war would not unit the people. This time the divide is too deep. Christ refers to our dilemma, I think, in Matthew 10:34-39. I see the social media debates and most of that conversation is not constructive, as you indicated. As for me, I can walk away right now and forget the whole thing. I don’t need any drama and conflict in my life. I have a great church and family. I have a wonderful Christian wife that continually points me to the Lord in all situations. However, if I do this – walk away – I have one potential problem, which would be that gnawing feeling in my stomach that I have in fact capitulated. Things must change in America, and unity is not the solution according to the Bible. Furthermore, the only audience that is applicable for the case I wish to present is the Christian community. I simply want to present the case, as I see it, and then have my audience either disprove it or acknowledge it. Then we can proceed forward because there is work to do.

 

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11 minutes ago, Richard Abelseth said:

Things must change in America


I would prefer that things change, but I don't actually think that's our primary concern. God is sovereign, and it's entirely possible He is allowing the consequences of a fallen and apostate nation to manifest and run their due course. It's unsettling and deeply concerning, but I don't believe you or I are ultimately responsible for saving America–only Jesus can do that.

I've had a lot of time to think about this. For my part, I believe our marching orders as Christians remains today the same as it was before Christ ascended: love God, love our neighbor as ourselves, and train disciples of Jesus Christ. In my opinion, everything else is secondary to those three greater commandments.

And this is where our role as storytellers comes into play. Perhaps holding those great commandments in mind and writing stories for normal people which reflect our Christian worldview, we can actually participate in the great harvest and reach people on a level where simply proclaiming their error and need for a savior won't reach them. If you say "(Your side) is wrong and you're taking us all down with you," it may be true, but it won't likely win the kind of mindshare you're hoping for. However, people tend to sit up and pay attention when you say "Once there was a son who asked his father for his share of the inheritance, and he left home. He squandered his wealth on wine and women, and soon found himself feeding scraps to pigs..." There's no telling the kind of traction you can find by writing stories which depict the very reality people can't seem to see on their own.

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On 1/6/2022 at 11:55 AM, Jeff Potts said:

Secondly, you have to love writing and storytelling for all of this to work.  It has to come first.  If the agenda comes first, then you get the schlock that gets pumped out by the popular culture.

 

You know, I don't love writing or publishing since my stroke three years ago, and I don't love martial arts, which I did for 35 years.  Now for two years I've written 5 novels and study tai chi, shorin ryu, and yue chia 5 days a week.  I read the Bible 7 days a week. 

 

I just feel compelled to write.  I don't love it, as I said, but my overwhelming urge is to write, and I do it as a sideline to my publishing career, not my main focus, but I just can't give it up as God saved me first, my wife second, and my having to learn to write again saved me in the aftermath of my stroke.

 

In the beginning, I could only write 3 frustrating words per hour, and they were nonsense words and that was okay because I could only type 3 words per hour anyway and besides, I only knew 3 words: special, dog, and yes.  I kept at it, though, because in the back of my mind, at a subconscious level, I just had to write again, like I did before the stroke.

 

So that's what keeps me writing: the drive to get better and to serve God.  I don't love it, its just what I do.

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Guest Spaulding
10 hours ago, Richard Abelseth said:

I simply want to present the case, as I see it, and then have my audience either disprove it or acknowledge it. Then we can proceed forward because there is work to do.

Is there a Christian journal that does peer reviews? 

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Guest Spaulding
10 hours ago, Johne said:

writing stories for normal people

Who are normal people?  I don't know if I've ever met one. Or, if I did, I noticed. 🤭

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1 hour ago, Spaulding said:

Who are normal people? 


I was at a Christian men's conference years ago where the speaker said 'There are two kinds of people, Christians and...' 

And we completed the sentence, 'Non Christians.' 

 

And he finished by saying 'Normal people,' which made us laugh, and then made us think.

It's easy–and common–to see non-Christians as the Other, when they are us before we found Jesus. I like that mindset. "All we like sheep have gone astray..." So instead of writing about non-believers or non-Christians, I write about Christians and normal people. There are way more normal people than Christians, but we've seen revivals before, and I'm praying for revival now.

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13 hours ago, Johne said:


I've had a lot of time to think about this. For my part, I believe our marching orders as Christians remains today the same as it was before Christ ascended: love God, love our neighbor as ourselves, and train disciples of Jesus Christ. In my opinion, everything else is secondary to those three greater commandments.
 

Yes, I am absolutely sure that you are correct. You have provided me with much sage advice, and I appreciate that. I think you are also giving me the authority to rest. There is hunting and fishing and guitar picking to be done and my sons probably want me to focus on those. God Bless. 

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25 minutes ago, Richard Abelseth said:

There is hunting and fishing and guitar picking to be done

Fun! And you never know who you may meet while out hunting and fishing and pickin'. I've found that when I'm available, 'normal people' come into my life, and I can be my authentic self as a Christian and engage them where they are in their lives. 

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On 1/8/2022 at 7:29 PM, Johne said:

Again, I didn’t go looking for this, but it popped up in my feed…
image.thumb.png.2932f7430e7657e2740000077cba4c02.png

 

I think that defines the reason why I want to enter this discussion, not only with my church administrators but all church administrators. What I have discovered is that relationships can become the ultimate goal, not for the reason of evangelism and discipleship, but for monetary reasons. When this happens, the church becomes a business when something is being purchased and something is being sold. Therefore, the natural propensity, as a church leader, is to back away from controversial moral issues and take a neutral stance, much as a secular business would. The goal here is to maintain unity, peace, and congregational stability. I will confess that I have been for most of my saved life, naive and unaware of this. It is only recently that I have become enlightened. Bible characters that were called and used by God to communicate his message of repentance, redemption, and salvation, were never allowed to compromise for the sake of personal gain. The few that tried that, quickly wished that they had not.  

There is no reason for me to explain the situation that concerns me in a few words. In just a couple of days, I wrote a fifteen-thousand-word article that spells out what I am seeing. If someone has a dispute with anything in the article, I am fine with that. If I wrote it, I will defend it, until someone “proves” me wrong.  

I did submit one chapter in my article to my church administrators. Their response has been deafening silence. They should have responded to each point. I am reminded of what happened to the prophet Jeremiah when he delivered a message from God to the priests. They said: “let’s kill him.” Pretty the same with Christ, and a host of others. Are we here to satisfy man or God?

If my church has any dispute with the points in my article and felt that I was misrepresenting God, they must confront me and let the truth come forth. Also, if I’m not correctly representing God, they should remove me from leading worship at the church. That is their obligation. I have no monetary gain to be realized. I am not writing anything to gain a single cent in this world. What I wrote is for the benefit of the church.

What’s interesting is that I have submitted not a single word of the article to this site, yet the responses to the topic alone have people on this site in a literal uproar.  

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8 minutes ago, Richard Abelseth said:

I did submit one chapter in my article to my church administrators. Their response has been deafening silence.

This is the risk any writer takes. It goes back to a primary question–do we write for ourselves or for others? (You touch on this this later in your comments.)

I very much want for others to like what I write, but they're not my audience, not really. I write first and foremost for me, for my own pleasure as a writer and as a reader. As far as I know, there was no audience for golem detective stories until I began writing them, and I'm building one up now, post by post, paragraph by paragraph, snippet by snippet.

I hear you, but if you'll accept a gentle observation: I'd go a little easy on your church leaders. Their struggle to keep the church viable and effective has never been harder in my lifetime, and I suspect it's only going to get worse. Pray for them, and pray for peace.

 

11 minutes ago, Richard Abelseth said:

What’s interesting is that I have submitted not a single word of the article to this site, yet the responses to the topic alone have people on this site in a literal uproar.  


Regardless of what it says in the dictionary, 'figurative' still does not mean 'literal.'  😉 People on writing forums love to debate writing. That's part and parcel to the forums experience. If people here respond to your posts with 'lively discussion,' well, I think we're doing a little better at giving you the kind of dialogue you may have been looking for. 😉

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On 1/7/2022 at 11:10 AM, Richard Abelseth said:

I would sit down and just pound out my heart on paper. In reading what I had written, I started to understand what I truly believed and how I really felt. It was not until I put it down on paper that I could understand my own heart and mind.

Glory be! Don't you love when that happens? We do that all the time around here.

I think you are responding to the message God gave you. When He sets out to bless He splatters and flings it far and wide, not just for one person.

I'm glad you are getting feedback here. Honing your argument, your sword, and building relationships in a congenial atmosphere. 

Remember that the initial message is not "one and done." God will keep speaking. Keep listening! Keep pounding it out on paper! The rest will follow in His time, in His way.

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