Monday, November 17, 2014

Whose Image?

He mixes his tints
with age-learned patience,
blending the hues with tenderness
that nature might envy.
His brushes,
extensions of himself,
caress the canvas;
his measured strokes
cover the white
with the colors of his soul;
and shape on it
the image, not of what he paints,
but of himself.

I wrote this poem, titled “The Artist,” when I was 24 - more than half a lifetime ago. When I was thinking about what to share in this article, it occurred to me that what I wrote then is also true of us as writers. No matter what genre we write in, our work will inevitably reveal something of ourselves. Of course, our voice will be different if we are writing a serious work of non-fiction compared with a lighthearted romance, but it will still be our voice.

In fact, finding our voice and developing it as a true expression of our self is a very important aspect of our growth as writers. Our readers are not just interested in words on a page. They want to make a connection, to feel that somehow they know the author. The whole reason why we “love” some authors and “can't stand” others in not just their skill or otherwise with the use of the English language, but also that part of themselves that is painted on the canvas of their pages, and the extent to which that resonates with our own concepts and standards.

For us, however, there is something more to consider. We are not simply writers, we are Christian writers. Whether we are writing a tome on theology, a romance, a poem, or a story for children, the image we paint with our words should never be just our own. We were created in God's image, (Gen. 1:27) and we are being restored into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29.) Our purpose in all things is to manifest Him to the world. As with the rest of our lives, our writing should always bear the stamp of His image, even if it is not aimed at a specifically Christian market.

Perhaps the best test of this is to ask ourselves, if Jesus were to stand and read this piece before the whole host of heaven, would it receive applause, or just embarrassed silence?

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for that Lynn. I really love that poem. It's amazing to think God created us in His image and gave us those creative gifts as a reflection of His nature. What a privilege to share that with others. I love your test at the end too. Much to contemplate. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I love the poem too, Lynn--and all the other thoughts you've expressed here as well. In my memoir I've just completed, I try to explore at least part of what it means to allow that image of God in us to shine through, reflecting something of who God is to the world. David Benner, in his book 'The Gift of Being Yourself', talks about how each of us has a unique 'face of God' to show to the world--how blessed we are as authors to be able to do this through words in our own unique way!

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  3. Thanks Lynn - I love the idea of the stamp of His image in our writing. Or as a popular chorus puts it 'life of Jesus shining through.' That is my passionate hope for my scribblings :)

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  4. Loved your poem Lynn. And totally agree on all you have expressed. Yes, all we do as Christian writers should point to Him should it not? I was reading today that we bring glory to God when we use our God given skills. Loved the idea too of our writing being read in heaven and what kind of response it would bring. That's a very good way to assess all our writing. Thank you.

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  5. Hi Lynn, I really like the idea of your last sentence and have copied it to hang next to my PC as a reminder. Reflecting Jesus in everything we do is our true calling and very much on my mind since my husband recently preached a message on being God's light in this dark world. Your poem made me feel like a painter (which I am not, but will try to transfer the emotions to painting with words). Thank you!

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  6. Thankyou Lyn I love your poem and your article ..it has been encouraging and inspiring.

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  7. Lovely post, although unlike everyone else I had no idea who wrote it. I obviously missed something.

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  8. Ah I see it was written in tiny letters down the bottom. I need to open my eyes.

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