Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Holy Synchronicities

One point I've been trying to drive home with people for nearly twenty years now is that God doesn't care what your opinions about him or the bible are. That's not what's meant when Christ talks about believing in him or having faith. Belief and opinion simply do not equate. He didn't say that if you believe he exists you can gain entrance to Heaven. When he uses terms like belief and faith, what he's always talking about is something along the lines of putting your hope and trust in him.

Well either someone's been listening to me, or what is more likely the case, God plants seeds in several people simultaneously for the sowing. I've always thought the latter to be true. That is, God plants certain notions and inclinations in people here and there the world over when he wants to make a point or bring about a change rather than relying on just one person to do it alone. Besides, if only one person was given the message it might swell his head and make him think he's special or better than others. God's too good a parent to set someone up for moral failure (except for on certain occasions when he's trying to teach us our shortcomings).

I'm finishing up on Orson Scott Card's Ender Quartet. Now there are some things I have a great aversion to in Card's writing style. He's a stream of consciousness writer, and that generally means (and certainly means in Card's case) an author constantly telling you exactly what his characters are thinking instead of allowing you the satisfaction of figuring it out yourself. But regardless of writing style, Card does make some potent points now and then, and in the final book of the series, Children Of The Mind, he writes the following:

"I certainly do too believe in God," said Ender, annoyed.

"Oh, you're willing to concede God's existence, but that's not what I meant. I mean believe in him the way a mother means it when she says to her son, I believe in you. She's not saying she believes that he exists—what is that worth?—she's saying she believes in his future, she trusts that he'll do all the good that is in him to do. She puts the future in his hands, that's how she believes in him. You don't believe in Christ that way Andrew, [Ender]. ... You aren't leaving anything up to God. You don't believe in him."

Card says it better than I ever did. This in fact is exactly why I've taken to writing fiction and is also the reason Christ taught short stories known as parables to his followers. You can set up situations between characters to express a moral truth in such a way as to make the reader see it more clearly, make it seep in more deeply. It's what writing's all about, expressing the things God places within you to others, and doing it with the best clarity and simplicity you can muster. Simplicity has been the key to what God's been trying to bring out of me as of late. Oddly, writers tend to think that filling pages with indecipherable terms and six syllable words will gain them respectability in their profession, but it seldom works out that way. We have a whole genre of literature called Literary Fiction which is devoted to exactly that, and the amount of memorable works that have come from that field are infinitesimal. It's all just lofty words with no heart in them more often than not. If you're expressing something from God, you should want as many people as possible to understand and learn from it, and that means clarity and simplicity. God will bless that.

And pay attention to those holy synchronicities when they crop up in your life. It usually means you're on the right track.

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