To Write: A Christian Writer's Guide.
Adeney, an accomplished writer and editor-at-large for Christianity Today, is an
activist in promoting Christian writing. Her
book aims to develop leaders who will write to communicate the tenets of the
Christian Faith, to strengthen Christians, and to educate non-Christians to gain
knowledge of the Christian worldview using the tool of writing.
Churches tend not to regard the tool of writing as an essential component
in their leaders' training manual. Perhaps,
the book may help to remove a common unhealthy attitude toward writing,
"Why bother with Christian writing? Why
not just preach, teach, and do personal evangelism?" (p. 5).
the first chapter, the author presents a strong defense that writing is a
biblical tradition that must not be neglected.
She cites the example of Daniel who wrote a poem to interact with God in
the midst of a crisis, and other biblical writers in the New Testament epistles
who addressed problems in the church. She
observes that these writers wrote to "respond to God, to record what God
was doing or to meet needs among Christians or non-Christians" (p. 7).
Likewise, Christians should follow their examples by reflecting on these
God doing something that you should respond to or record?
there a need that you should speak to? (p. 7).
positive response to the questions may generate uncertainties and questions to
I qualify to be a writer?
will be my readers?
to get my work published?
art and craft of writing can be learned and the structure of the book
accommodates to the questions frequently asked about writing.
book offers more than academic information about writing. Miriam skillfully
integrates with Scripture to substantiate her principles of writing. In
discussing about the principle of readership, she has this to say, "Just as
the apostles knew their audiences, and varied their communication
accordingly" (p. 15), the writer must know how to communicate to a selected
audience as target for their intended publications. She notes that in teaching
the Jews, the apostles' framework was the law of Moses and the prophets, but
when preaching to the pagans, they captivated their thinking with the attributes
of God who could provide and satisfy their spiritual needs. Audience varied and
chapter 3 contains questions to assist in assessing where the readers are and to
write to meet their felt needs.
also clarifies that "Christian writing is not necessarily writing about
religious subject matter, but it is writing from the perspective of a Christian
philosophy of life" (p. 22), that is, a perspective that recognizes Christ
is the Lord over such diverse practical
issues as money, sexuality, computer gaming, gambling, health and others
confronting Christians to live out the Christian faith.
Believers who are affected must understand these issues from a Christian
point of view. Christian writers who can "creatively analyze" each of
these issues in such a skilful manner will ignite the "light" and
provide the needed "direction" to struggling Christian pilgrims.
Christian writing, therefore, requires writers who know the Scripture, the
"whole counsel of God" and the "know-how" skills to search
the Scripture lest the seekers are led astray!
The stiff requirement may drive away potential writers away but "you
cannot depend forever on foreign books. Who
is ready to interpret and apply God's truth to daily life in your country?"
(p. 23). Truly, Christian writers
who write with experience and personal observation add credibility to addressing
existential issues relevant to their audience and context.
you are wondering what to write, a list of suggested topics one could begin to
think about writing can be found in chapter 4 and guidelines are provided for
selecting a topic. In chapter 5, more helpful tips are given on the process of
writing an article or a story. The chapter on "Where to Write"
(chapter 6) highlights the differences between writing news and feature
articles. The chapter also includes a directory of publishers in Asia. Though
not exhaustive, the information is helpful for writers to explore the
possibility of publishing their works in Asia.
clear up a misconception, the author is emphatic that writing is not considered
Christian only when the works are printed by Christian publications. Writing
that is Christian should include secular publications to reach out to the
non-Christian readers with the "truth" of Christianity:
publications in the mass public realm- newspapers and magazines that reach many
millions of people every day, or every week, or every month- are to an
overwhelming degree filled with evil things; new excesses in fashion, new
excesses in morals, new extremes in occultism and false mysticism, and of
course, much of the current vogue in disruption, violence, and revolution"
"the mass media which have daily access to the public consciousness are not
something wisely to be left entirely in the hands of unbelievers!" (p. 44).
who view the author's challenge to communicate the Christian truth to the
secular audience as an impossible task, should consider her challenge seriously
(pp. 43-44). For example, a non-Christian event such as Valentine's Day is an
opportunity to communicate beliefs about love and marriage from Christian
perspective. Or how about a
publication on how Christians view death in conjunction with the "hungry
ghost" festival observed by many Chinese during the seventh month in the
to write demands diligence and time commitment, but it can be enjoyable. Writing
is not confined to writing news and feature articles but it can include writing
songs, scripts for skits, comics and other creative means.
The writing exercises in chapter 7 will be a good start to practice writing. Perhaps, begin with this exercise, "Draw a picture of your dreams for yourself ten years from now" (p. 52). If one of the dreams were to be a writer, it would be a delight to Miriam who has a heart and calling to work with Christian writers in Southeast Asia.
Miriam Adeney was our chapel speaker on 3 August. The topic was "God's
world in the context of God's Word." Her message invites followers of
Jesus to reflect on our role in the world of the 21st century that
is struggling with terrorism, poverty, global warming, nuclear threats,
natural disasters, clashes of civilizations and other forms of
"darkness." She used the stories of Nehemiah, Esther and Daniel from
the Old Testament to encourage that in the "middle of this
blackness" in the world, there is "light" and the source is
God. In response, followers of Jesus are called to be world Christians. A
"world Christian is someone who is so gripped by the glory of God and the
glory of his global purpose that he chooses to align himself with God's
mission to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory as the waters cover
the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
speaker on 24 August will be Pastor Carrie Teh from Amazing Grace Presbyterian
Dr Adeney's sermon is on audio CD and available for sale at BGST library.
|A Blessed Birthday to ...|
Joseph Heng 22/8
Francis Lim 23/8
Peggy Yeo 25/8
Roland Ho 25/8
Tan Yeow Khuan 25/8
Sim Cher Khee 25/8
Christina Swee 26/8
Derrick Tan 27/8
James Chua 28/8