Blogger: Mary Keeley
As promised in last week’s blog post today I’ll give you Michael Boyle’s last four charges on engaging our culture. The gulf between a Christian worldview and the prevalent views on life, culture, and biblical truth seems wider than ever before. As the Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies at Moody Theological Seminary, Michael offered valuable guidance into connecting with people, and he gave me permission to pass them on to you, adding the natural applications for Christian writers. Last week I gave you his first four directions. Today we’ll cover the last four.
The fact that our cultural divide is widening at such a fast rate is proof that we need this guidance from time to time in order to keep our fingers on the pulse of popular thought and to be ready with a palatable response without watering down truth.
Therefore, here are Professor Boyle’s directions 5–8 to discuss and process in terms of your writing.
- It is changed hearts that change people and our culture (from 2 Corinthians 5:17). This hits right at home, doesn’t it? People should see something special in us Christians: the love of Christ. That love will permeate your writing naturally. Be creative. There are as many ways to demonstrate his character as there are characters or topic approaches in your books.
- We are the ambassadors of reconciliation, getting to know the culture in which we live (from 2 Corinthians 5:20). The Apostle Paul goes on to tell us that God intends to make his appeal through us, that is, writers for the purpose of our application. What a privilege. What a responsibility. Since he has gifted you with the ability and passion to write, you don’t have to look further to know what his kingdom purpose is for you.
- We are not to be quarrelsome but correcting with gentleness (from 2 Timothy 2:11, 24–25). Ever since childhood I’ve wanted my opinion to be the winning argument. It’s human nature for most people who have points of view they care about. But Scripture shows us a higher wisdom once again. A quarreling word incites a quarreling response…and closed ears. A gentle, respectful approach in an atmosphere of kindness is God’s approved way. Applying this direction to how writers should engage with our polarizing culture, ask yourself if this describes one of your main characters or a secondary character. That character will reach the heart of readers and hook them to keep turning the pages of your novel. Or ask yourself if that approach describes the tone in your approach to your nonfiction topic.
- It’s the power of God through the gospel to change hearts (from Romans 1:16). The responsibility of Christian writers is simply to reflect Christ’s character in the written word. Whatever the topic, whatever the story. That takes the pressure off writers that they are somehow tasked to convince readers of the truth. I see that the implication for writers is to reflect the love of Christ. What does this verse say to you?
The Christmas season is a perfect time to refresh our efforts to employ Professor Boyle’s advice for engaging our culture. Isn’t it amazing that these biblical directions are still current thousands of years after being written?
Do you have more applications to add for these last four directives? How do one or more of your characters reflect Christ’s love? How well do you think you are communicating your nonfiction message with gentleness and kindness?
Here are four more ways Christian writers can engage with our culture effectively. Click to Tweet.