Please welcome this weeks guest Terri Main for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
When I was 18, and recently published, I knelt at the altar one night after church. My knees still worked back then. Now, when I kneel, it’s a matter of faith that I’ll be able to stand up again. I laid my new pen, the one given to my by my parents as a graduation gift, on the altar and pledged myself to write for God.
That was 43 years ago, and I have tried to keep that promise. However, everything I write isn’t “Christian,” per se. In fact, over the last four decades I’d say less than a quarter of my published works are what most people would place in that vague and ill-defined category. Most of my articles have been published by secular publishers, as are my books. I have a wide crossover audience for my novels with some fans thinking they are too “religious” and others thinking they are not “religious” enough.
This brings up an interesting question that I have had to struggle with, not so much internally, but in conversations with other writers: “Are you a Christian Writer?”
It’s such a strange question to begin with. You don’t ask a mechanic, “Are you a Christian Mechanic?” as if all he should do is work on church vans and pastor’s cars. We don’t expect an attorney to end his summation to the jury with an altar call. And a Christian surgeon approaching a patient about to go under would be ill-advised to ask if they are ready to meet God.
Yet, in the arts, there is a tacit assumption that the content of our art must be based directly on Christian doctrine. A Christian singer who sings a secular song, for instance, has to deal with questions of whether or not she or he has backslidden. You don’t ask that about a plumber fixing the plumbing in a factory instead of a church.
Yet, I remember a great quote by C.S. Lewis that goes: ³What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects–with their Christianity latent.²
What I think Lewis means is that too often as Christians we hide our lights under a big ecclesiastical bushel. We let our light shine in the church, in Christian bookstores, conferences and websites, but the rest of the world never sees it within the context of daily life.
So, what has this meant for my writing life? Well, when writing radio commercials in my younger days, I refused assignments to write for bars. I also determined that I would present my clients in the best light, but not be deceptive, even when I could get away with it. In my detective novels, my Christian detectives don’t lie to suspects or hack into their computers without a warrant with an ends justify the means mentality. When someone does do that, it is not treated as clever, but as unethical. In fact, that concept is a sub-theme in the novel I’ll be releasing in October.
So, am I a Christian Writer? Yes. I am a Christian who writes. I just don’t always do that writing for other Christians. In that, I think I have fulfilled that promise I made 43 years ago.
Her Brief Bio:
Terri Main is a retired college professor who lives in Central California with her five cats. She writes Bible studies, self-help books, mysteries and science fiction. Recently, she has been exploring the world of ebook indie publishing. She also teaches writing classes online and mentors young writers just starting out.