Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Do I Write?

It has been nearly four weeks since I've posted anything at Out of My Hat.

I can't say that it's been because I've been too busy, although it has been a full month. Neither can I say that it's been because I haven't had anything to write about; there are always things to write about. I would use convenience as a part of my excuse as I generally carry a tablet with me now instead of my laptop and while I like the tablet for its size and convenience, I really don't care to write on it.

In the end, I guess it comes down to just not being committed to writing.

Last weekend was our monthly meeting of the Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers (OCACW). I took notes during the workshop portion and also while our guest was making her presentation. Not only did I get some ideas for future posts, but I was encouraged to look at why I write.

Although I have never written a book (and have only modest desires to do so), nor have I had any great experiences that the world must read about, I do have the occasional urge just to write. In a small way, writing is for me. I write as a way of ranting without getting into too much trouble. As my readership has grown, I'm less able to go on those unchecked rants and have to consider the effects of those rants on my readers and deal with the personal consequences as well.

However, I also write because I occasionally have something to say. I'm not certain that anybody wants to hear it, but there are many people that need to hear, none the less.

So what's the simple answer to the question -- Why do I write?
The answer I came up with at the meeting is -- Because my voice is too small.

Even with voice amplification (and many would say that's not necessary), the sound of my voice can only reach so many. Through blogging, writing books or brochures, or posting on other forums many people from around the globe can read both the meaningful and meaningless rants of a simple man in the Midwest of the US of A.

Perhaps it is time to be more purposeful about writing. I know that I've said that before, but I need the occasional kick in the shorts.

Here is one of the things that I need to address in blogging:
Writing from the Heart vs. Writing for the Market
Our guest speaker, author Tracey Bateman, spoke on this topic.

Okay, so maybe I'm not dealing with a "market" and I don't have anything to sell. But I do know that I have already cost myself opportunities to preach at churches because of some of the things that I believe and have written. Do I write from the heart and accept the consequences or do I bridle the pen (so to speak) and not risk offending the pastors and decision makers of both past and future speaking/preaching/performing opportunities?

I think it's rather funny (funny in the weird, sad sort of way not the ha ha sort of way) that I can always preach salvation in Jesus and Jesus alone and be unwelcome because we disagree in other areas of life. I suppose that a pastor is well within his authority to not invite me because he is a misguided Royals' fan and I am a Cardinal fan, but most people would view that as petty and question how that might affect my preached message. You could argue that politics may have a greater influence over one's biblical views and not invite a member of the "other" party to come to your church. But if they never preach politics and stick to the bible, does it matter?

Sometimes I wonder if our "religious" leaders ever realize how many people they disqualify from the kingdom because of their legalistic views. I suppose that many of you already know that you don't have to be an alcoholic to be looked down on (or even condemned) in most Southern Baptist churches; you just have to have an occasional alcoholic beverage. Being a Democrat is even worse. It's almost as if an eleventh commandment was inserted without my knowledge -- Thou shalt not vote for a  Democrat!

There are plenty of controversial social issues and world views that can be covered in a blog or a sermon and I suppose that it is fair that we are judged for our personal opinions.

So if you are in a judgmental mood, here are just a few of my personal opinions (beliefs):

When Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," I believe that He meant exactly that.

I believe that you can have a beer and still be a follower of Jesus.

I believe that you can be a Democrat and still be a follower of Jesus.

I believe that you can be an "American Christian" and not be a follower of Jesus.

I believe that there are as many Republican liars as there are Democratic liars.

I believe that a part of not having the religious beliefs of others imposed on me is that I can't impose my religious beliefs on them.

I believe that you cannot hate others in the name of Jesus.

I believe that we have all sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (Rom 3:23)

I believe that even though we are sinners, God loves us. (Rom 5:8)

I believe that the price we pay for our sin is eternal separation from God--spiritual death.
I believe that God has given us a great gift in allowing His Son, Jesus to pay our sin debt. (Rom 6:23)

I believe that we can know that we have salvation in Jesus. (Rom 10:9-10)

Any questions?
John <><


eViL pOp TaRt said...

With any writer, irrespective of the type, there is the dark night of the soul that sometimes comes. I'm glad to see you in print again, John.


Mike said...

"I believe that you cannot hate others in the name of Jesus."

I believe a lot of people don't get this one.

Amanda said...

Ah! The both of us started blogging again on the same day after a long break. The difference is that you had a much more insightful post. I enjoyed reading it.