In the coming months, I’ll be doing an ongoing series entitled, Writing as Worship, the first article of which will go up two weeks from now, on January 23. These articles will continue every two weeks thereafter (hopefully) until I wrap the series around fall.
The idea of Writing as Worship is simple, or at least it was until I actually tried writing this introduction. After four drafts, the same question persists: where do I begin? My answers have been wanting. I started with an anecdote from Chariots of Fire, quoting Eric Liddell’s famous, “when I run, I feel [God’s] pleasure” line. The analogy held true, but the telling fell to pieces. So I moved to something more clinical, as if I were opening a lecture series. “My intent is to explore two facets of the Christian writer’s life–his work and his worship–and how they intersect”–I know, I got bored just reading that. I figured the third time would be a charm if I turned in the opposite direction and went completely personal, explaining how I wrote once upon a time versus how I do now. All these were fine shots at an opening, but none hit the mark.
I now see the best way to introduce the idea is to speak plainly (well, as plainly as I do). Here is the heart of it: I used to write for me, but now I write for Christ, not just about Him or because of Him but for Him and to Him. At this point in my walk, my life, and my career (if I can call it that), writing has become worship, and I love it.
That’s why I continue despite my lack of success. That’s why I seek to encourage despite limited reach. That’s why I keep typing when I’d rather be resting. I want to worship, and writing is my way. When I do it, I commune with the Almighty.
Now, I won’t lie. I still carry delusions of grandeur. I still want to write the next great novel and support my family through the printed word. My interests, while leaning Christward, still have a tinge of that old vainglory. I don’t know how to get rid of it; and even if I could, I’m not sure I’d be able this side of existence.
I offer this confession so that you can be comforted. I’m no exemplar of sainthood or some great theologian. On the contrary, I find myself so lukewarm it’s shameful. In spite of this, however, I am some sort of saint and a kind of theologian. I study God because I am in relationship with him, and I am saintly because he sees me as such (through Christ, of course). So, this series is little more than the musings of a fallible layperson—but one who longs for kingdom good in our current world.
Over the course of this journey, you may find me a bit odd, perhaps far less theologically astute than one would like given the topic; but in truth, I hope to encourage you. Awe and wonder inform my theology far more than scholarship, and I have found that these attitudes can be lost amidst systems of reaching toward the divine. Regardless of where you think me heretical, be assured, my central foundation will be unwavering and likely align with you own. The Triune, Deity revealed as God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and The Holy Spirit stands as my highest love and deepest hope; he is immeasurably wonderful, awesomely mysterious, and perfectly good. Therefore, I trust him completely—in regards to my own fate, the course of reality, and the fulfillment of all things–for I know that he will do no wrong. I love God not because of what he has done for me but because of all he is doing everywhere by virtue of whom he is. He is telling a beautiful story, and he is telling it in the best way possible, headed toward the appropriate ending. Christ said the way is narrow to enter into the kingdom, and he surely is right—but that is an elusive narrowness in a very wide universe of endless possibilities. Should I misstep in the coming posts, I know full well that He has all of it beneath his quill, as his beautiful story rolls ever toward eternal glory. This is both daunting and assuring.
With that at the forefront of my mind, I live. When I live well, I write. When I write well, I worship. My belief in the Triune Deity not only informs my writing but also transforms it into an act of affection, adoration, and devotion. I write to please that God. I write to glorify that Spirit. I write to worship that Jesus. I hope to never stop—not in this age nor the one to come.
I hope that you will feel the same as a result of this series.
Please return to 3LC in two weeks for the next post, “On Writing as a Creationist”!