Saturday, February 26, 2005

Vertical Calling, Horizontal Purpose

I was in good company – the writers at the table were Christians and our discussion was evidence of the fact. We were trying to decide what a panel of writers would discuss at the end of a one-day workshop. Someone suggested the question, "Are you a Christian Writer or a Christian who writes?" As he made the suggestion, Ron added, "Maybe that one has been done too much. Maybe we should come up with something else."

The discussion that ensued helped us realize this was a topic that would always spark worthwhile comments.
One of the instructors at the table made a statement that I feel encapsulated the core of the discussion. She said she believed her calling was to a relationship with God. Her purpose was to fulfill that calling, by writing.
It’s a vertical calling, a horizontal purpose. We are all to follow Jesus. He is the Prime Mentor, His example one of pure integrity and singleness of purpose. He lived to do His Father’s will. His every breath came from and went to His Father.

As our Prime Mentor, Jesus shows us not only how to live, but how to write. His speech was always full of grace. When He was angry, He did not sin. When He wanted to teach, He took the time and effort necessary. When He told stories, He made them come alive. He knew His audience and used what was familiar to them. Nothing He said was empty. Jesus used no superfluous words. All of them pointed to His Father.

It has taken me many years to sort through the question we tossed out at that workshop. Am I a Christian writer or a Christian who writes? I have concluded that if I am a Christian, in relationship with Jesus, I will write, fulfilling my purpose in this time and place. It is the way and means to be in relationship with Him, personally and corporately. It is the method He has given me to help others to grow in that relationship. Vertical calling. Horizontal Purpose.

5 comments:

Paula said...

Thanks! Good thoughts!

Paula said...

Thanks! Good thoughts!

Paula said...

Thanks! Good thoughts!

Paula said...

Sorry to leave three comments. Something was wrong with blogspot, I think. It said the page couldn't be found when I tried to publish and now . . . well, you've got three of me! Make that four . ..

Eileen said...

Hi Marci,

Great post. I especially like how you use "vertical" and "horizontal" to make your point since that resonates with everyone.

This idea makes moot whether one writes in the CBA or in the general market, whether on writes overtly Christian, or more covertly, since everyone's purpose will be defined for them by the Lord. For instance, I write for people who do not (necessarily) know the Lord, so my writing is geared to that audience.

Great article!

Pat