Friday, April 27, 2012

It only needs to be a small flame

We all know people who aren’t Christians who, at times when their lives are in danger or pain, or when they fear for the health of a loved one, or when they’ve reached the gutter of life, will pray to the God they’ve once heard of or once even known.

It makes me wonder… a person who doesn’t have a personal relationship with God must need more faith to pray that a born-again Christian who walks with God every day. These people pray with no assurance, just blind amazing faith.

It got me thinking that it would be amazing if every Christian writer could write one book for this market; a book that could stand alone on a bookshelf in a regular bookshop; a book that could tell a secular story that is so clever and so attractive to those without faith that it would light a very small candle at the base of the cross and lead the reader to gaze in awe at the rough texture of the wood that’s visible behind the candle then peer up into the charcoal sky to search for the outline of the body of the man who was flesh but was also the Son of God. And if our book could tweak a subconscious desire in them to open a Bible, even if the reader has to go to a library to find one, if our book can cause our reader to seek out our God, what a miracle we have been a part of!

But how to write a book that sparks this interest without preaching at the reader, whether adult or child?

Perhaps you’ve read a regular book that got you fascinated in something new: a novel about a country you’ve never been to that sparked the thought in you ‘I have to go and see that’, or a sci-fi novel that suddenly makes you want to Google how many moons Jupiter actually has.

It only needs to be a paragraph, a sentence or a word that lights the taper. But when it’s lit, and if the writing is done well, the curiosity in the person’s mind and heart won’t be quenched. They will seek God.

Here’s an example of what I’d like to achieve. JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. I know many Christians are against these stories, but I hope you’ll understand where I’m going with this. Go for a walk along the shop or library shelves near the Harry Potter books. Alongside are copycat, fantasy novels about wizards. But there are books and gimmick packs about wizardry. And this is the point – Rowling wrote a story about an orphaned boy and the story is about the unfair things that happen to him and his fight for survival, with a backdrop of wizardry… and, today, kids everywhere are curious about wizardry. They dress like Harry or one of the other characters, buy the toys and read the spell-books.

We have the power of our creator. We are made in His image and He has given each of us a gift to be used for His glory. We use this gift to edify and entertain the people of God, and, wisely like we are treading on eggshells, we can use it to reach out to the lost. Our writing can lead people to buy into our God, to read His word and to seek truth. Our readers may seek out other books by the author they just read, or they may seek a church or a Christian friend. But we have the gift to light the taper that will lead our readers to begin their search.

www.jackierandall.com

11 comments:

  1. Thanks Jackie,
    I agree God can use our books to stir people to seek Him, lets continue to pray that will happen

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  2. Such an inspiring post Jackie all a book needs is one character who knows Jesus. I asked a non Christian to read my book. She loved it and assured me that every book she reads has a theme or belief base and this story is set in aChristian setting. She has ordered two copies of a book she has already read. Let's get religion out of our books and write raw real Christianity. Thanks.

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  3. Absolutely true, Jackie. I can't think of anything to add except let's all say, "Challenge accepted!"

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  4. I agree, Jackie. I also believe that we can write for the mainstream market. I'm with Paula - Challenge accepted. Let's get to it.

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  5. 'But we have the gift to light the taper that will lead our readers to begin their search.'

    Every writer's prayer. Thanks Jackie. :)

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  6. Thanks Jackie. My prayer is that each book will contain the salt to create a real thirst to know more about Him.

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  7. I agree wholeheartedly, Jackie. I always work hard to write in a way that will attract non-Christian writers so that they might be challenged by the characters or the few words here and there that might shine a light for them to follow to God. We know other Christians will support us and appreciate our writing, but it's the wider world, the lost, we need to send our message to.

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  8. Agree, agree, agree, Jackie. That is the aim. I have had a number of non-Christians read Streets on a Map and their favourite character is Laila who lives her life for God. I pray readers will see beyond her and the novel to our great God and Saviour- that it will be the spark to set their hearts aflame.

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  9. "that it would light a very small candle at the base of the cross and lead the reader to gaze in awe at the rough texture of the wood that’s visible behind the candle then peer up into the charcoal sky to search for the outline of the body of the man who was flesh but was also the Son of God." This is beautiful.
    Thank you for the reminder to be a light in the world, the whole world. Even to those who would never dream of entering a church building, let alone a Christian book store. The bar has just been raised.

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  10. Inspiring thoughts. I wonder, is there room for "crossover" books in Australia, which are joint published by a Christian publisher and a secular publisher? It happens in the music industry with a lot of Christian bands in America.

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  11. I agree too. I am not a writer,I am a reader and a Christian. I was going to be a writer and that's the sort of book I would have loved to have written. I am going to search to see if there are any books like that out there. I think Elizabeth Goudge wrote something along those lines, but it was a long time ago. "Get religion of our books and write raw Christianity" I think that is the key. And I think you write like that, Jo. Keep it going. Liz Shelton, Editor "Off the Shelf" Australian Church Library Association.

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