During 2013, dozens of talented writers are joining me to cheer you on in your storytelling. These guest-writers will share a few helpful words with you right here every Tuesday night, to encourage you as you #TellHisStory. (Come back after midnight Wednesday to link up your God Story by clicking here. From now through Easter, we’re considering “The Lenten Journey,” though you are free to share ANY story that God lays on your heart.)
And now, I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend, the very talented Seth Haines.
I love a good story, something moving and authentic, something that feels real.
But as a Christ-following story-teller, I confess that writing authentically is sometimes difficult. After all, shouldn’t our stories reflect the character of Christ? And if this is so, how do we deal with doubt, pain, seedy characters, or precarious (if not embarrassing) predicaments? Are we allowed to write in a way that renders the world as it is, or should we soften it, make it more palatable for our parents, priests, and fellow parishioners?
It’s tempting to paint the world in Christian language, isn’t it? But the starkness of the Gospels, the authenticity with which Christ’s story is told should inform our art. In the synoptics, we find the life of Christ recorded in gritty detail — the pregnant unwed mother, the murder-minded religious leaders, the whore who abandoned her demons for a Christ with no interest in her wares. There was the naked stalker in Gethsemane (Mark 15:51, 52), the scalawag betrayer whose entrails exploded from the tree of his hanging (Acts 1:18), and the doubting man who stuck his hands in the scabs of Christ (John 20:27).
As it was, it was told. Truthfully. Authentically. It’s this kind of authentic narrative that fuels the holy tension of the Gospels, that maintains the dichotomy of sinners and Savior.
So when you write, do it honestly and with integrity. Tell the story as it is, without the whitewash to which we are so prone.
Write the truth. Write it real.
I am a working stiff who enjoys good sentences, good music, good food, and fishing the running rivers of Arkansas.
I am blessed to be the husband of Amber Haines and the father of four boys. I have been trying to shake the haunting of Rich Mullins’ lyric “nobody tells you when you get born here how much you’ll come to love it but how you’ll never belong.” (To no avail, mind you.) It’s a privilege to scratch out words when the opportunity arises. Thanks for reading.
(Seth blogs over here. His wife, Amber, blogs over here.)
QUESTION FOR YOU: Seth says that as a Christ-following story-teller, writing authentically is sometimes difficult. Would you agree? Do you have tips to share, or a question for Seth?