Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Words Matter

A weekend ago I attended the 6th Antelope Valley Christian Writers' Conference. It was my third time attending, and I continue to be challenged and encouraged in my writing endeavors. A theme this time that seemed to be consistent to many of the invited faculty was the priority of Jesus in our lives. Writing as a calling is a challenge, especially if you have another occupation, have family to care for, and/or are otherwise easily distractable. Where do you find time for Jesus in the midst of overcoming writer's block, doing research, and submitting queries and proposals?

The keynote the first night called our attention to the "writer's chapter" in Matthew. Matthew 23 to be exact. You are most likely familiar with this passage as the "woe to you!" rebuke from Jesus. But look closely to whom Jesus is rebuking: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees..." (verses 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29 in the New King James, emphasis added) The charge against these scribes, aka the writers of their day, was hypocrisy- writing one thing but living another. As a blogger and writer-to-be I have to take this seriously. Do the words I type on the screen match the life I'm actually living?

The guard against this, of course, is Jesus. So he continues in verse 34, "Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city..." Ok, maybe the last part isn't encouraging. But what is encouraging is that Jesus sends prophets, wise men (and women!) and writers into the world to spread His message. And in order for writers to be sent from Jesus, they need to start with Jesus.

So I ask myself, "how often do I pray about the blog I have yet to write? How often do I seek spiritual counsel about the topics I'm discussing? Am I writing this for my own vainglory or the Glory of God? Am I trying to become famous, credible, have a large following? Do I spend more time 'social networking' than in personal Bible study?" and on and on. Naturally, I don't like the answer to many of these questions.

My words matter. So I need to be firmly rooted in Jesus and His Word. I need to be about Him, not me. I need to take seriously the truth that the words I type have spiritual consequences. I need to take seriously the warning from James: "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (v 3:1) And as an author I have to recognize the ultimate Author in "Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:2)


Dan McMonagle said...

Agree 100%. I want to do my best to make sure that I speak the truth in love, and that I'm properly representing Jesus when I write.

One area where the writing is liberating for me: I'm horribly non-confrontational in person and do a lousy job of sharing the truth and/or "witnessing" to non-Christians, but when writing, I can express the truth without the angst I get when speaking face to face. I definitely have to be careful with what I say, but at least I don't clam up like I tend to in person.

Fatha Frank said...

Dan, I'm much the same way. But I find myself to be more like hiding behind the computer screen than speaking the truth in love through a different media. Yet, as I've continued on in this blog, I've found myself to be more bold in person. I'm still a conflict avoider, but since I write what I'm passionate about, it's easier for me to express that passion to others. If I'm at a loss for words, I just say what I'm writing about.

Fatha Frank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fatha Frank said...

Oops, double post.

And thanks, Dan, for your comment!