Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Great I AM

So, how do I appreciate my Creator more? I'm sure you've been wondering that these last few days since my previous post. It's probably kept you up at night, so I abjectly apologize for not having returned to this blog for four days. I'll have to get better at that, put a reminder on my Outlook or something.
In writing, I have developed a greater appreciation for the way God doesn't always tell us what we want to know. It's really one of those no-brainer things that I knew but I didn't know, if you know what I mean.
In writing good fiction, character development is the most critical aspect of writing. You can have beautiful scenes with gorgeous costuming, but if your characters aren't developing in a reasonable, somewhat logical manner (though some characters are illogical), your story will fall flat. I know some things that are going to happen to some of my characters in later books. It's necessary for them to do things, go through things in the earlier books so that they have the strength of character to deal with what's coming. The characters don't know what's going to happen later, but I, their creator, do. They sometimes whine at me, but I usually just ignore their whining because I know best!
Hopefully you see how that relates to understanding God. Romans 5 tells us about suffering leading to perseverance which gives us character that develops hope. Whatever God does in our lives is for a greater good that we cannot understand now (and may never understand. In real life things aren't often as obvious as in a novel) but God does know what he's doing. He wants our character to develop. He wants us to be strong, full of hope and faith. Not the wimpy kind of everything-is-so-wonderful-so-let's-praise-God faith, but a faith that says "I'm confused, hurt, lost, really ticked off, but you know what, you're still God and that fact alone gets me through this."
We too often want to praise God for what he's done, which isn't a bad thing, but the problem is that we forget that even before he created anything at all, he was already worthy of praise. His worthiness of praise isn't dependent upon what he's done, it rests first in who he is. We tend to identify him by what he's done - Creator, Redeemer, Provider, etc. But when he introduced himself to the Israelites in Exodus, he said "Worship me because I AM!"
Can you worship him simply because HE IS?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In the Beginning

I have to admit that this is much harder to do than I expected, this blogging. It shouldn't be hard because I'm a writer. I've been writing for - well, since I was in grade school. I've written poetry, short stories, articles, essays, books, songs, and destroyed entire rain forests for all the academic papers I've written. But I've never done a blog. I don't even know what "blog" means. I know what it is, of course, it's what you're reading, but what does it mean? Blathering Loudly Obscurely Gratuitously? Bafflingly Ludicrous Outrageous Gossip?
But do I really need to understand the origin of "blog" to effectively use one? Of course not! It's not like my favorite book, the bible which is only properly understood when you get to the original meaning.
It's easy to get to the bible from any starting point, but especially so right now for me. Not only am I writing Christian fiction, but I'm working on a message about the Creator that I'm going to give on March 8 (at NHL in Waipahu). Both John and Genesis talk about the Creator and start with "In the beginning" and this is the beginning of my blog, so why shouldn't I talk about the Creator since when I write I am exercising my Imago Deo? (Writers do have convoluted logic. It's part of our charm.)
When I took Old Testament Survey in bible college, I learned about understanding the bible from the perspective of the original writer/readers. I was intrigued to discover that the Creation story isn't about science at all, so it can't be used to address evolutionary theory because that's like trying to tell someone they shouldn't like asparagus (gross!) because fried chicken is so delicious. Both may be facts, but they aren't closely enough related to have a bearing on each other.
The purpose of Genesis was to tell an emerging nation, God's chosen people, that they were no accidental byproduct of the wars of the gods or created for the amusement of said gods. Instead they were very deliberately and carefully made to be in fellowship with their Creator. Everything was crafted for God's pleasure and purpose, and his pleasure was to have an intimate, loving relationship with the pinnacle of his creation, mankind.
Genesis tells us that we were created in the image of God. Part of that image is a creativity that echoes our Creator. I've always known that I had a lot of creativity, not just in writing, but in cooking, sewing, crafts, etc. (I'm a regular Renaissance Woman!) Now I firmly believe that we don't fully live until we discover the one thing where our creativity shines through the strongest. In finally giving myself over to the creative talent of writing and crafting not just one book, but going on, and on and on .... (Five books and counting and I only started nine months ago!) In giving myself to my creative talent, I have a deeper love and appreciation for God.
One of the things I understand better is that it isn't always wise to give too much information to your "audience" too soon, for a number of reasons. One reason is that they may not be able to handle it yet. Another could be that they'll try to get ahead of you. Then there's always the keep-them-coming-back-because-that's-how-we-build-a-relationship reason. That said ...
I guess you'll just have to tune in to my next post!