Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pressing Issues: What's Your Thought?

A couple of questions for you authors and aspiring authors out there:

1. How do you write about the high standard of living a Christian is supposed to have and maintain reality when you see many in the church living as if they have no standards at all, or at least very few? When you hear things like: Its a sign of the times
2. What, to you, is an acceptable way of writing about things like abortion, prayer, revival, spiritual hunger, complacency for the believer in a way that can be edifying and growth-building rather than compromising?
3. How do you write about the end times in your inspirational stories?
4. What is one subject you have not yet seen in any inspirational book you've read?

Send in your comments. I will donate a devotional to the winner.
Congratulations to Di Campbell of New Mexico!


  1. Hi, Shirley! Those are great questions. Most of my books feature main characters that are very sincerely trying to live out their faith. Of course, others in the book are not so sincere sometimes.

    I haven't yet written about the end times, which is a subject that I admit I don't really understand too well. But I have recently written about abortion. The bad guy in my 1880 novel wants the hero, who's a doctor, to perform an abortion on his daughter, but Truett stoutly refuses. Here's a little exerpt.

    Truett’s face burned. “Sheriff Suggs, am I to believe that you wish me to forcibly abort Miss Almira’s baby?”
    The sheriff squinted, looking him in the eye. “Yep. I reckon you are as smart as you look.”
    Truett forced himself to sound calm. “I won’t do it. Even if it wasn’t against the law, I wouldn’t do it.”
    Almira lifted her tear-streaked face, hope in her eyes.
    “You’re trying my patience, Doctor.”
    Truett ignored the sheriff’s tobacco juice spittle that sprayed his face. He forced his clenched fists to stay by his sides.
    “You know how to do it,” the sheriff ground out, “so tell me how it’s done. I’ll do it myself.”
    “You’ll kill her is what you’ll do.”
    “So be it.”
    “You’re black-hearted and your mind is twisted by hate.”
    “I’m a man, not a weak fool like you.”
    “I won’t tell you. No matter what you do to me, it’s nothing compared to what God would do. And I’m more afraid of God than of you.”
    An ugly scowl came over the man’s face. He reared back and plowed his fist into Truett’s eye.

  2. Question 1 answers itself. Write about a church where the Christians are not living the high standard that Christ modeled for us. Although this has been done. I think it was Shelly Bates. Or write any plot and have a subplot where the heroine lives out Christian values but others in her church don't. I'm thinking this isn't really what you were asking, but it is a way to deal with the issue. The reality that being "Christian" these days could mean anything . . . or nothing at all.

    Question 2 is easy for me because all my novels deal with social issues. In the Shade of the Jacaranda deals with struggling with abortion. The heroine is pregnant and tests show the baby will have Down syndrome. Prayer is a huge part of the novel. Prayer is also a huge part of The Fragrance of Roses. Both books won numerous awards so it seems that they are acceptable topics presented in an acceptable way! The first edition of both books sold out. I have taken my rights back and soon they will be available on my website.

    Nikki Arana
    Available now:
    Through the Eyes of Christ:
    How to Lead Muslims into the Kingdom of God

    "Each chapter of this book is infused with practical Biblical teaching
    with the view of leading a person to Christ. I highly recommend this book . . . "
    Roy Oksnevad, Director of Muslim Ministries, Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College

  3. Melanie and Nikki,
    Thank you so much for your comments. I hear all kinds of answers to these questions when I talk with people. I really appreciate your input.
    I hope more will write in their thoughts. It's amazing what goes on in the back of readers and writers' minds when it comes to subject matter.

  4. Hi Shirley,

    1 & 2 After reading the questions and thinking about them the resounding answer that keeps coming back to me is ...let the scriptures be the plum line to follow in evaluating the current culture we live in. Lace it with grace, love and mercy....but most of all.....Truth! The Word of God is sharper than a double edge sword the scriptures tell us. Lace His word in and throughout your story line, paraphrased to fit into the story.

    Careful not to let legalism rule . . . Grace is the healer and revealer of the heart. Apply grace liberally as the Love of Christ is the essence of the faith we have. The law brings us to the point of seeing our requires a decision.

    Perfection of the believer is a lie...only Christ was perfect. Characters should be as imperfect, with the everyday struggles we all experience. Season with submission and repentance. Temptations come and go...the evidence of His grace is revealed in the conviction of the soul, His word protects and directs. When the character in the story fails, Christ raises them back with His everlasting forgiveness...again back to grace.

    3 End times...from the eyes of scripture...always, do not add or take away.

    4 Anger and rage - overcome by the Grace of Lord Jesus, in the believer and non believer. This would include a multitude of issues. I am seeing more and more of this emotion these days. I believe the bases of the anger is fear and lack of control.

    Just some of my thoughts - I hope they help

  5. Hi Shirley - thanks for including me in your request for comments. Dont know how helpful they will be but I will give it a go.

    1. How do you write about the high standard of living a Christian is supposed to have and maintain

    My first gut reaction is that it is a huge lesson to NOT make judgement of any other person, as the Bible teaches us. That in itself is a huge lesson. I guess if I was a writer i would focus on those people who work on that daily and how they respond when you come across others and show how they do not judge.

    I would though, after thinking about it enjoy reading about someones "acknowlegement of Satan and his constant involvement in our lives. The recognition of how much he tries to decieve us and the daily lesson to keep out of our own personal downgrading but acknowlege how many of those thoughts are Satan and not ourselves. It kinda takes the heavy guilt he has imbedded in us and brings us to the point of being able to serve the Lord even more.

    2. What, to you, is an acceptable way of writing about things like abortion, prayer, revival, spiritual ....
    I guess my answer would be the same. I find it more inspiring to read about someone who rises above judgement of others. Having that person who is stronger and how they can be an example to others is my take. I believe living by example is utmost. Second taking that opportunity that the Holy Spirit creates around others who are not following the Bible is that special moment to share with another.

    3. How do you write about the end times in your inspirational stories?

    For "me" what I would want to hear is very specifically share what is in the "Bible" tells us of end times, no "interpretations". What I would want is to not only listen to a great person who aspired to non judgement but how they responded to what the Bible teaches us about the end times, even there struggles learning about it. I guess I would want something to walk away with.

    4. What is one subject you have not yet seen in any inspirational book you've read? To be honest, the one book I am reading these days is the Bible. I dont read a lot of other books. I will be going to Bible School full time and I am sure I will be reading a lot when it starts.

    Well, again. i dont know if my thoughts are of any help. But you are a kind person and you asked so I answered.

    Blessings to you.

  6. Hi Shirley,
    Dropping by to let you know I received your book today....Thank you
    I took a peak inside to see what I will be reading very soon and looking forward to reading them. (I see God in the little things)