Why Do You Write?
To make manifest the kingdom of God. My goal is change, to change me, those who read my pieces, and the world. My desire is that I, and those who read my pieces would become more like Jesus. And that the pieces themselves would show us who He is.
Writing changes me, as it is at my keyboard that I do my best thinking about what matters most to me. Pieces are usually birthed while I am doing something else, taking a walk, buying groceries. But those nascent thoughts mature, become seasoned at moments just like this. Writing both listens to and speaks from that part of me that is most obscured to others and myself. I become both teacher and student.
My hope too is that the pieces I write change others. Though I know we don’t often embrace change, I know in turn that we need it. If one of my pieces leaves you where it found you, I’ve wasted your time and mine. That change sometimes involves shifting views on an issue. I want people to come to understand that we have peace with God by trusting in the finished atoning work of Christ on our behalf. I want people to grasp that God made governments to punish evil-doers, not to do evil. I want people to grasp the horror of abortion. I want people to understand that we yet struggle against sin, and that we still, as we did before we were reborn, don’t like facing our sin.
This particular goal sometimes elicits the most angry responses. It also, however, elicits some of the most encouraging. “Ouch” people say. “Reading you is like taking a 2x4 to the forehead” others insist. And I smile. You see that’s how I feel when I read writers I love. I don’t ever want to smack people upside the head for the fun of it. I do want to never shy away from doing so for the change it can engender. Is it possible that in reading, pain is weakness leaving the mind?
Change, however, is not limited to moving from denying X to affirming X. Too often we struggle with what I gently refer to as “intellectual constipation. ” We, especially we Reformed, make the mistake of thinking that thinking something is the same as believing something. We rightly aspire to have our head screwed on right, but wrongly assume that this, by itself, will take care of our hearts. What we know too often gets stuck in our heads, but doesn’t make it down to our beings. My hope is that through a right mixture of careful reasoning and unexpected beauty we might better believe what we affirm, that our convictions will not only reach our hearts, but come out our hands.
It is my heart’s desire as well that that marriage of careful reasoning and unexpected beauty would manifest the glory of God. I want to write in such a way that truth becomes not just the glorious reality that two hydrogens and an oxygen make water, but that snowflakes are liquid manna, a prodigal display of the play, and the pleroma of God. Though my gift is rather short of Olympic, I share the conviction of Eric Liddell. God made me for a purpose. But He also made me a writer. And when I write, I feel His pleasure. That’s why I write.