Friday, August 26, 2011

Contending for the Faith

I mentioned in my post about VBS that in the Teen’s Sunday school at my grandmother’s church the visiting youth pastor talked about contending for the faith. Before I go off on this, I want to mention again that I did like the guy, he seemed sincere, and ministry of this sort could be God’s calling for his life. He seemed so earnest about it, it probably is. But where does everybody else fit? Can you only be doing God’s will and contending for the faith if you’re knocking on doors to advertise VBS?

Sometimes the arts and obscurer callings get left out of the Christian pep-talks. This pastor talked plenty about knocking on doors and--if you have a heart for children--working in children’s church. He didn’t mention any other ways to fight for God’s kingdom. This mentality used to build up the idea that what I had a passion for--writing--was the easy way out, the way to hide in my room and clack away on a computer. Real work for God would of course involving getting out, street witnessing, door-knocking, that sort of thing.

The things that weren’t me. I knew it was good to get out of my comfort zone and try things that challenged me, but I had the idea that they also had to be the kind of thing used in examples in sermons. Connection to the established church, talking about Christ with unbelievers, bolstering attendance to church gatherings and children’s programs. Those were the hard things, the things that really mattered. Forget the novel on the 12th century girl and her search for truth. That was taking the easy way out.

But wait, hold on, Nai.

Just how much work is it to write a novel?

Characters, plots, themes, plot twists, precise and unexpected details, active voice, adverb elimination, more plots, more characters, more themes, editing, issues, critiques (oh my, critiques!), research, and more research...the list goes on and on.

It’s not really the easy way out. It’s another hard way, fraught with the perils of Discouragement and Unworthiness. And for someone like me, it has stuff almost as scary as knocking on doors: they’re generally known as critique groups.

In fact, I recently took on some hard adventures related to two things I love: critiquing and encouraging writers. One was leading a critique group (though I lead stuff easily online, I’m more of a follower in real life) and the other was talking to a room of 86 other writers and some of their parents on critiquing and my critiquing journey. Both freaked me out immensely (and then weren’t as bad as I thought).

Did I bring anyone to Christ doing those two things? Probably not, considering the workshop I did them at was almost entirely, if not entirely, filled with writers who already know who created this earth. Maybe I encouraged or helped them, though. Maybe someday one of their novels, filled with REAL Truth and Light, will hit it big and change lives--or maybe it’ll just change one life. One precious life.

Jesus himself told stories. What makes them any less of a calling? What makes mathematics, politics, or ventriloquism anything less than missionaries and ministry? God made us each unique. Do you think he made each of us unique to do exactly the same things?

Yes, contend for the faith--but contend for it in the way you were made to. If you do it right, any calling will be hard.


Anonymous said...

Very true, writing is quite an endeavor, and not something to be taken lightly! ;) Your list makes it look especially difficult, LOL.

I hope the critique groups were helpful, even if they freaked you out! :)

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear, Nai! I totally agree with you. God has given each of us unique gifts and talents to use in a myriad of fields...and all for His Glory!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. :)


Hannah said...

Excellent post! I quite agree...we are told to spread the Gospel to the furthest corners of the earth...we weren't ALL told to go knock on doors!

- Hannah/iWrite

p.s. the critique group was AMAZING. <3

Nairam said...

@Taylor: Haha. Critique groups are always helpful, and they always freak me out, so that was no different.

@Pippin: Yay! I like to blog about things that used to (or sometime still do) bother me a lot when I think they shouldn't...that's why I posted this one, anyway.

@Hannah: Yes, yes it was. :)

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