January 17, 2009


Irony defines me, and therefore the way I write. Yeah, I’m a walking paradox, and if you’re a Christian, you probably are too. Come on, wipe that look off your face. And that oh-so-slight eyeball roll doesn’t get past me—I’ve lived with teenagers.

Writers want to communicate universal truths to which a good majority of readers can relate via The Story, article, blog, journal entry, sermon, whatever. And Christian writers may aim to communicate biblical truths as well. Either way, what we write often reflects the pile of life’s lessons we’ve learned (via the Hard Way for some of us). So we want to write truth, and we want to write real.

Really? But what if our own truth stinks? How truthful do you get as a communicator? I think that being transparent is important if you want to be relevant, credible. But how wide do we crack the door to our soul, how much of the gunk at the bottom of the barrel do we let out as we pour ourselves onto the page? How transparent should you get as a Christian before you cross the line?

Is there a line?

If you’re a Christian, hopefully you’re walking the road to change, becoming more Christ-like, allowing God’s word to shape your thinking, becoming a biblical thinker with the mind of Christ, growing in grace, perfecting your faith. But we humans will always stink of flesh to some degree. Yes, some of us more than others, depending on whose nose you use, but to God I believe the stink is pretty much the same, sort of like the way every landfill smells the same no matter what or how much it holds.

True Christians strive for speech, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that are pleasing to God. But we make mistakes. Yes, you do. Admit it. If you tell me you never make mistakes, you’re making one now. And sadly, the world sees this apparent duplicity as hypocritical. Which is an unfair judgment call . . . on those who are truly angelic. But as for me, I have to agree. I often feel like a hypocrite, acting nicer than I actually am.

I was scrubbing a frying pan in the sink the other day (yes, some of us still use this deadly cooking technique). I was focused, as usual. My husband came by and said he was going outside to work on something and I thought, Take your mind off the scrubbing for a second, Camille, and smile—he’s taking care of stuff. So I switched off the scrubber-woman face, turned and smiled at him before he went out the door. He laughed and said, What’s the fake smile for? Yikes! Was it that bad? I guess it was sort of fake because it didn’t come naturally, but it really was well-meant.

If the world thinks Christians are hypocritical, does that mean we should think and behave and speak only as we are naturally inclined? The Bible says to take our thoughts (and subsequently our words and deeds) captive, meaning check them before they run amok, filter them through the Holy Spirit, test them for being God-honoring, then dispense accordingly. Meaning either let them out with any adjustments needed, or cuff ‘em, march them before the throne of Christ and ask him to book ‘em, take them captive, make them his prisoner. (By his power, not mine . . . a lesson I’m still learning.)

We aren’t trying to fool anyone by filtering out the bad behavior and putting on our best. That would be like offering a guest a taste of everything in the fridge, from the moldy to the fresh, afraid that by not offering them the bad stuff too we are lying and saying ALL our food is good. They don’t care what else is in there as long as what you feed them is good.

God created each of us uniquely different from one another for a unique purpose and for his good pleasure. He desires the best for you, wants to see you grow in the mind and likeness of Christ with his help. But you can still be yourself. I mean, you know, keep working at cleaning out the moldy left-overs and please don't offer those to company, but otherwise, keep it real. God likes who you are because he made you. Just be you.


Mariah said...

This post rocks.

Anonymous said...

Love this article! Maybe I should cross post it on my blog entitled, "Let's Get Real," eh? ;-)

Hugs, writing buddy!! Nice word!

Jessica Nelson said...

I loved your post! And totally agree. People want to write real, which is great, but everything we write should glorify God and at the same time expose darkness.
It's definitely a fine line.

Dal Jeanis said...

Also, there is a big difference between acknowledging that there is a toilet in the bathroom and giving a five page reeking description of what is going into it. One is truth, the other is pornography. (There are readers for that... shudder...)

Consciously or not, every writer chooses the meaning of his/her work. And whether the story is comedy or tragedy, degrading or uplifting, confusing or enlightening, depends in large part upon what you focus on, and where you start and end the story.



I've published five novels and 2 novellas (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have six (going on seven) grandkiddos. Decent trade, really.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.