Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Story of a Mother

Today's story has a message. If you try that in modern writing and aren't a Big Name, they'll probably say it's "preachy" or "heavyhanded," synonyms that appear to mean, "Hey! How come you got a spine and I don't?" Worse yet, it's a message that contradicts modern soundbite piety.

Andersen's still right.

In other news, I said I'd explain why you should have a message (and a calling, too) or shut up. It's simple: writers today are effectively either teachers or prophets, and if you aren't called as either one, shut up. There's enough nattering already.

You can be in a subgroup (encouraging and exhorting are essentially types of prophecy, as I understand it), but unless God gives you something to say, you shouldn't say it anyway.

Now, I've encountered people who want it both ways. If you point out a theological or scriptural problem, they'll say, "Well, it's fiction. It's for Entertainment Purposes Only." (Just like a phone-in psychic! How cool is that?)

"Well, if it's just fiction, what's the harm in correcting it a bit?"

"I can't do that! GOD gave me this story!"

He gave you an unchangeable story For Entertainment Purposes Only? Cosmic!

Now, if the story is God-given, you are a teacher at least, more likely a prophet. And presumably God doesn't contradict what he says in the Bible. This is why it's astonishing how few Christian writers bother to read the Bible or otherwise check their facts. (Remember what used to happen to false prophets...)

The truth is more important than Your Story. Even if you think you're writing For Entertainment Purposes Only, you aren't. Just like sports and entertainment celebrities are role models even if they say they aren't, you're teaching your reader whether you like it or not. Shape up or shut up.

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