Friday, December 12, 2014
Don't Recycle Trash Theology
Sometimes, old ideas about God persist in hanging about. I'm sure I got rid of them, tossed them in the trash bin and put them by the curb, but then I discover I actually just recycled them. And recycling is great for physical waste, but harmful theology should never be recycled. That junk needs to be incinerated.
One of those harmful ideas is that I can’t have my dreams. If I hope for it or want it in any way, it must be bad and selfish. If I gain something I wish for, God will ask me to sacrifice it to prove I love him.
No one told me this in that black and white kind of way. It's a belief I picked up over time. Again and again, respected Christians praised those who turned away from what THEY wanted and instead pursued what God wanted for them. And that is not a bad thing. The problem is no one ever told me that what I want and what God want might be the same… that when God plants a dream in my heart, it could well be because THAT is the dream He wants for me.
In other words, dreaming dreams isn’t selfish.
Even typing this, I cringe, like someone is going to shove me down and tell me I’m wrong. Instead of waiting for them to do it, I mostly shove myself down and then sit in the mud, wallowing in self-pity.
I have dreamed, since a little girl, of being an author. Traditionally published, signing books, traveling for research, dreaming up characters and stories… And lately, that dream has been inching toward coming true little by little. But the evil voice whispers, “Selfish!”
There’s one voice in my head that insists I won’t ever achieve my dreams because I don’t write Christian fiction. This is the most ridiculous voice ever, because I don’t even like to read Christian fiction. Maybe if the voice stuck to calling me selfish, it would get somewhere, but it insists on throwing this whole Christian fiction barb at me.
Let me tell you who reads Christian fiction… Christians. I don’t believe following Christ is about serving other believers only. Jesus told stories to anyone who would listen. And I don’t believe telling stories is all about evangelism. If that is your calling, please answer it. *
My calling is different. My calling is stories… to make people think… to put a person inside another person’s life. Nothing in my life has built empathy in me more than reading fiction.
So there is my calling. Tell stories. Share ideas. Love people with word and action.
And toss that trash theology to the curb where it belongs.
This is not the blog I sat down to write today. But I suppose it needed saying. Turns out, until my fingers hit the keys, I am never entirely sure what I think… what I believe. Sometimes, God speaks to me through my own words.
Does that ever happen to you?
* Disclaimer: I'm serious. There are some great writers writing Christian fiction, and they are feeding a group of people who need feeding. Just because it isn't the group of people I feel called to feed or the method of feeding people I feel called to use or the art form I am most gifted at creating does not make those writers or those books bad. Like any category of books, they ran the gamut from formulaic and shallow and blah to deep and beautiful and amazing. Writing GOOD Christian fiction is not easy and I salute those of you who do it and do it well.