James Marry shares a reflective letter he sent to a troubled fellow writer/reader of Our Father Who Art. A laymans attempt at connecting the Son of God and the Son of Man for one individual.
Before I share this letter, let me say that I am only sharing the part I wrote and not the consecutive follow-up since I would be taking some unabridged priveleges from my reader. Gayle is one of the nicest people I correspond with on the internet and her problem was a common one for writers who live in faith. "How can I justify with my faith the secular or mainstream style of writing that I have commited myself to?" I paraphrase, but the meaning is simple here. She asks me this question because Our Father Who Art clearly is a letter of ministry. My popular readers will note that Shut Up, Go Figure and so many of my other writings- articles and short stories at least- are riddled with sinners as heroes and as villains. Read the short piece if this philosophy has troubled you too, or if my saintly attempts just rattle your own sense of Christian esteem. The letter begins:
I can only tell you that from my own experience Christianity is about Christ.
Now, I hope that you have some time to read this because I don't think I can explain such a GLIB statement so briefly to do my meaning justice. When I speak with Christians who are having problems gripping with their pasts, their sense of the REAL world, and their problems with sin- I take them to the source. I hope. I tell them how I chose to get closer to Christ when I felt as though I needed to. I did it alone- I did it with the Bible- and I did it with prayer.
This period in my life lasted for a strong and powerful year. I was a monk in my very own monastery. I felt the presence of God every day. Jesus was in my soul at the beginning and He spoke to me once my transcendence from a Born Again Christian with Sin to Growing Daily Christian was complete. Jesus said to me, "Friend, you are on the right path!"
He has told me that same thing again and again since that rebirth to Born Again experience. And I think that path began with my stronger understanding and reptitive reading of the Gospel. Don't get confused- I mean 4 books that I read constantly- Matthew, Mark, John and Luke. The books that tell us the most important message of Christianity- Jesus' life.
In these wonderful tomes, Jesus constantly shows me through his miracles for Jews and Non- Jews, his reason for coming to earth. He came to show us the way to heaven is to believe in His salvation. He didn't show us that to reach heaven we needed to reach perfection. In fact, I think that Jesus showed us that we will clearly need to deal with the Devil at every turn. He rebukes Satan clearly in this light during the days in the desert. But every Christian should know this thing first. We are not Jesus. We are born in sin and we learn with sin. Our lives can not be uncorrupted by the disobedience to the Ten Commandments or more clearly to Jesus' own commandment- Love Thy Neighbor.
We were not born as adults, dear Gayle. We were born as children. Paul tellls us that we must be Born Again to reach Christ. Once we are- are we not again children. And what must children do? They must learn to be adults in Christ.
I know it sounds as though a circle is being drawn and I hope that you see the round will return to answer your question. It will, but it will only show you my heart on your issue. I only prayer that God inspires the writing to reach your heart in the true st fashion that God can allow my words to travel.
Remember when you were in school? I mean as a child. Try to recall when the teacher came to you and exposed a talent that you didn't know you had. Maybe you played dodgeball and found you could throw really well. Maybe you found that you could add and subtract better than anyone else. Maybe you could paint with the best choice of color in your class. Well, I like to think that God as your teacher exposes your hidden talents as well. And I like to think that He does this in His own way, at His own time, with every person He touches.
God has touched me with an extraordinary ability and desire to communicate, I think. He has also placed a degree of limitation on this ability and He is very aware of this restraint or even possibly handicap to some Christian eyes. God made me live my life before my talent (that He gave me) was developed to the point that people would pay attention to it. That life or experience has molded my talent and my imagination to lend itself to a clear path of writing that comes from my soul. In my Cleansing Streams ministry exposure, I learned that there are three levels of my consciousness- Body, Soul, and Spirit. The Body is the on earth representative of my union and would animalize a fig without a thought. The Soul is comprised of mind, emotion and will. Spirit is God's voice within us. In our struggle with the sin of being human, and don't forget that humans ALL sin, the size and strength of the Spirit varies according to how well we are aligned to God's voice. This, in simple terms, means that we must tame the hairless biped of Body, and suckle the mind, emotion and will of Soul (where our talent and experience lie), to build our path to a stronger ability to communicate to and for God with His gift- our Spirit.
I think as writers and Christians, many of us will learn to illustrate that path in our characters via the means that opened this path to us. Jesus wants me to do that, and I think it is possible that He might want you to do that too, Gayle. Why?
Because you are not alone.
There are millions flailing by the roadside and looking for a way to stand upon Christs cobblestones. They hear everyday the Way that the devout are upon that path. But they can't stand up to follow that route to God. One whisper of encouragement from the least Christian source may teach that soul to put one fot on the ground flat. And because you are a Christian and write stories that are "of the world", your tiny message in the folds of six sentences on Page 33 alone might just move this cripple's toe towards Jesus life example.
So, in essence, and certainly in the voice of a layman unto God's kingdom, I say stay on the path and Love Your Neighbor. God has only given you the voice you have to offer Jesus to the world. Maybe with time, He will offer developement of this talent for your nourishment and you will grow and blossom like you never imagined you could. Maybe not. But stay the path.
love and prayers and hope (that I didn't make your confusion worse)