If you call yourself a Christian and a writer, then what distinguishes you from other writers? Any decent writer holds convictions, a Christian writer is simply an artist who holds Christian convictions.
The Christian writer is called to the same activities as all other Christians: to do all to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:13), to enjoy God forever, and to serve her neighbor. Your art should, therefore, fit the context of your relationships and your circumstances. It should also be fitting to the goodness that God charges his people to display.
The Christian writer is a witness, not a propagandist. She is a witness to the mystery and glory, transcendence and immanence, of God. Her life and work–whether poetry, story, or prose–should harmonize with these themes.
The Christian writer incarnates Nehemiah’s charge to “build with a trowel in one hand while the other grasps a sword” (Neh. 4:17). Always building like a craftsman, focusing on structural soundness and beauty, but still tough-minded and ready for a fight.
The Christian writer fosters a deep, penetrating, hope-infused perception of life colored by biblical revelation. Like Johannes Kepler, she practices thinking God’s thoughts after him. Though her work be sprung from the muck of suffering or rot of regret, yet it mysteriously sings a song of praise that reveals the hidden depth of a soul well-anchored in the biblical, the sacramental vision of the world.
The Christian writer is sent, like the Apostle in Acts 26:16-18, to minister to believers and unbelievers alike, to serve and to heal, to be a witness to the things which she has seen and the things which are yet to be revealed to her, to open eyes, to turn her readers from darkness to light so that her life work might lead others to the feet of God where forgiveness of sin and redemption are found.
The Christian writer has the Holy Spirit in her eyes and in her mouth and in her pen so that what she sees and what she says and what she writes correspond with the testimony given in God’s word.
The Christian writer has the Christian story in her blood, a story centered on death and resurrection, framed by creation, fall, and redemption. The Christian writer tells the story over and over again from different angles, driving the story home. That is the expression of faith, a faith that sees and tells what the world refuses or is unable to see, a faith tuned to mystery and the sacred. Janine Langan is right when she says that society longs for the Beloved’s face. Keep this thirst intense by presenting that face in all your work.
[painting by Pehr Hillestrom]