What are you plugged into?

How are we as Christians like an mp3 player?

It's purpose is to play music, and it's built with the capacity to play music, but in itself, it has no power or music of it's own. By design, it must charge by plugging into a computer, and the music must be transfered from the computer as well.

We're much like this with God. But too many, myself included, thinking we're expected to do it on our own or whatever, feel ashamed when we have to go crawling to God for our music and our power, when this is not a shame at all, it's the way He designed us!

We're also only as good as what we're putting into us, and only as good as who's pushing our buttons, so to speak.

If you're reading this, you probably feel your purpose is to write. So what's your most valuable tool as a writer? What you're plugging into.

My MP3 player takes it's files in through a usb cable. We take our "music" in through our eyes and our ears (and technically all the senses). Our writing is only as good as what we're putting into us. It's only as good as the power source we're plugging into, what we trust and rely on to get us through the day.

What are you plugging into? What are you putting into you?

If you view writing as a ministry, the obvious answer given almost without thought is God. We know we have to be eating of Him, connected to him via prayer and the Word if we want our work to reflect Him.

Don't we?

As Christian writers of speculative fiction, we often face a unique challenge. We love speculative fiction and we love to read it. The ubiquitous advice is if you want to write a genre well, read all of it that you can get your hands on. Most of us read secular speculative fiction and watch the equivalent at the movies and on TV; most of us are well aware that much of what is put out in the secular counterparts to our genre is spiritual garbage. That's one reason we strive to "redeem" the genre for Christ. The danger is keeping abreast of our genre without having the mp3 player of our heart tainted with tracks downloaded from the world rather than from God.

At the same time, some of us don't write what we normally think of when we hear "Christian fiction" Some of us write what is normally classified as "Secular." The danger here is that since they're not into writing a "sermon in disguise" and/or since their motto is the ever-popular, "if you want to send a message, use Western Union" that they don't need to "plug in" to God when it comes to their writing. This forgets, or fails to realize, that when we serve the Lord Jesus Christ, no work we do is secular. Rather, it's all for His Kingdom and His Glory. No matter how the publishers, bookstores, or any other human judge classifies it. That's the life we're all called to, both in our overtly religious work, and the "secular" day job that so often pays a writer's bills.

We are Christ's ambassadors, representing him wherever we are, whatever we do, whatever we write. To represent Him accurately, we must plug into God--and God alone. In the bible (Hosea comes to mind off the top of my head), God was as blunt as Grace Bridges' last post in stating what he considered doing otherwise as: adultery.

Be aware of what's out there in the world, by all means. In a war, it certainly helps to know what your enemy is up to and what lies he's spreading. Just don't download the stuff into your heart.


Deborah Cullins Smith said...

As I've commented so many times, even when I'm not writing "blatant" Christian fiction, God is THERE between the lines. I've always loved the fiction of Madeleine L'Engle. She tackled some tough issues, and you won't find most of her books in the "Christian" section of Borders,(usually in the mainstream fiction) but God is ALWAYS present in her books. If we draw our lives from the Well of Living Water [JESUS!] it stands to reason that He will seep into all that we set our hands to do.

May this always be true in all of us.

Andrea Graham said...

I think that goes back to, "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" It holds true of our writing, too. Which of course was part of the point of the piece . . .

three swans said...

You'te absolutely right when you say we should not be ashamed of going to God for inspiration and empowerment. We are, as your analogy goes,like a player which is programmed to play songs - it does not create them. We gain power from God, we do not have it of ourselves. When I was much younger I used to apologise for asking God's help, and say "I know I've got to learn to stand on my own two feet', but actually God has designed us to go to Him and reflect and radiate what He is and can make us be. We are made in His image after all. With regard to writing, think of the parables. They are theoretic or imaginary situations which are intended to show a point or teach a lesson. So can it be with Christian writing. As for science fiction, well if there is no reality without God, then you could have a science fiction scenario such as "Star Trek" and write Christian truths into it.

Andrea Graham said...

I used to apologise for asking God's help, and say "I know I've got to learn to stand on my own two feet',

I'm still moving past that mentality myself. I actually didn't think of the MP3 player analogy myself. The Holy Spirit gave it to me (using what I had on hand) at a time when I was struggling (and still have my moments). This one's for me as much as anyone else.

My main point on writing is we need to expand our definition of the sacred. All things should be in the Christian walk.