Then there is writing…

I enjoyed writing one of my last posts on writing. I have another thought about writing so I am writing about writing again. Whew…that was a lot of “writing’s.”

I tend to be more of a protagonist but I have this annoyingly overwhelming part of me that is very antagonistic.  In an almost sick kind of way I like being the antagonist. I remember learning about the characters of writing in a Literature of the Bible class in college. It was at the University of Maryland, although I wasn’t in Maryland, I was in Okinawa, Japan. I like the way this writer explains the roles of an antagonist and protagonist. Basically, I am just saying that my personality which is both fighter and peacemaker is what I want to express in my writing and I liken it to the antagonist and protagonist roles in literature.

Side bar: There is something to be said about the richness of University coursework as compared to a community college. Not only am I speaking as a student who attended both but I currently work in an advising capacity at the local community college and appreciate the work we do.  I remember it was the first writing class that I really learned about the elements of literature. Adding this sidebar is one thing I remember learning. And even though its not exactly fitting in this type of writing, I am still doing it anyway; why, because I am a rule breaker and an antagonist.

I don’t like reading all writing, there is a part of me that appreciates all writing because I think I am writer. But in effort to not offend I will refrain from expressing what writing I don’t like.

Let’s just say, I think writing should be real and raw, I think non-fiction writing should stir up and draw out the reader. It should resonate in the soul of the reader. We don’t always have to relate to the experience of the writer but good non-fiction writing should serve as a reminder that all man kind has the same struggles. Most “devotionals” I read don’t do that, they share their struggle superficially and all spiritually (yes that was antagonistic), ask a series of surface level questions in an attempt for you the reader to summarize what you read but not quite reach your heart – their isn’t this soulish exchange through summarizing, it doesn’t address the heart’s cry!

I feel frustrated about the amount of written work on parenting, marriage, friendship, etc., and yet we are still screwed up. We put so much emphasis on obedience and “spirituality” and forget relationship. We  can spend so much time on doctrine and theology that we forget the simplicity of love and the realness of pain. We miss all the barriers, wrong thinking, familiar patterns we learned in our childhood, that we are not free rather we walk around with this heavy yoke around our necks making Christianity look like drudgery!

At first, I spent a lot of time blaming “the church” and I still do because I believe its still the stumbling block to many coming to Christ. But I also see that it has more to do with the weight, or expectation that I put on people since “they have been Christians for blank amount of years” or because they are the “Pastor.” When I remove that expectation from the equation I am left with nothing more than another human just like me with different gifts, strengths and struggles.

Writing is risky especially when you speak of those you care about! As Yancy said of Buechner, at some point its about you writing from your perspective, rather than writing to tell someone else’s story. In this post, I am referencing other areas not exactly related to family secrets as Buechner we referencing but its still the same concept, my Pastor might read this and feel uncomfortable because my perspective involves him indirectly, just like my Mom read my story about her recommending I get an abortion.

My writing brings out or should I say let’s me freely be the protagonist and antagonist in my perspective of life. While the war within is real; I don’t want to offend, I want peace. Part of me wants to be quiet and careful, but I want to write. I do hope to encourage someone out there to be real about what they see, believe or feel – the good, bad and ugly! Writing to me is the place where the writer and reader connect on a soul level and share something common.

Unraveling my writing

I struggle with why I write. I also struggle with communicating what I want to write.

I am torn whether I care what people think or whether I don’t. I am not sure if anyone is listening or if that is even why I write. I do know I express myself  best in writing. But why do I write to an audience, or blog? Why not just journal as has been the case for years.

This is what I have asked myself several times since my last post. I have so much to say but after reading previous posts I just feel like I miss the mark of what I really think. As though I either don’t express completely what I really feel or I am afraid to say exactly what I see and think or both.

I know that my life (as every life is) a reflection of God’s faithfulness and that is a worthy thing to share. I also know that when I am hurting and feel insecure and insignificant hearing stories of others overcoming brings encouragement. But why is this such a struggle?

I am reading Soul Survivor by Phillip Yancey. This book was recommended to me when I expressed a discontent with “the church,” not to be confused with God Himself! The book is comprised of short biographies, if you will, of those who have gone before us in the trenches of life. I am so grateful for the stories of people we don’t hear about, the Christians that genuinely epitomize what I see of God. They give me perspective and extinguish some of my doubts about writing (my trench).

This post is not necessarily about my soul surviving the discontent with the church, although I will take this opportunity to share some of what I have gleaned from Yancey, as it is about sharing my struggle to write about what seems to be my menial life that isn’t impacting a whole lot.

I think I am on to something – my struggle with writing and discontent with church folk completely intersect one another. I am just a bit turned off by how Christianity is portrayed in writing and example and yet remembering and writing about how the Lord saw me through dark nights of the soul keeps me grounded, accountable, real, and committed to God. Yancey talks about his need to separate God from church – legalism, self-righteousness, racism, provincialism and hypocrisy. This resonates with me because I am sick and tired of thinking I can live up to some Christian standard apart from the working of the Spirit of God in my life, the work of sanctification by the power and presence of God. I am breaking free from the boxes that feel like chains the “church” has created. My husband thinks I am a rebel. He is probably right.

I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I want to be free to write, free to worship, free to experience the presence of God, not just be a part of a well organized church but a church where the presence of God is exulted all ways! Just like the Christians I read about in Soul Survivor. The forerunners broke rules, they didn’t do what was common, they didn’t come under the majority. In the same way, I don’t want to be a part of the majority of Christian bloggers that give lip service to the virtues of Jesus. Please don’t mistaken what I am saying, there is a place for expounding on the word of God for purposes of instruction and correction, but that in my opinion should be happening a midst a community of believers experiencing the presence of God daily and communally; and this is the gist of my discontent.

As a result of these desires, it seems God is using writing as one way to show me how to be free to express my emotions, thoughts and experiences without regard to what someone thinks about me or what the other Christian writers are doing.

This new way of thinking scares me though, I will be honest, I am not sure I know what this means. And most likely if I were told the outcome of this path I may resort to safer territory. So maybe it is better this way. Of course, those that are part of my story, I must consider, like my husband. Nonetheless, I look forward to yet another story of Gods faithfulness through even this struggle, albeit, small in comparison to more serious matters like my relationships with people.

More to come on the continuation of reading Soul Survivor and my discontent with the church. I sense that God is bringing revival to his people that have experienced more of God than what they see each Sunday.

May the writing carry on, and as I unravel the pieces of my new approach please bear with me, it might get messy.