Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Forgiven By Reason of Good Intention

In this short interview, writer Gloria Sawai talks about writing about concepts of grace and redemption rather than religion. I think this is perhaps where some of us, myself included, fail. In our zeal to communicate the message of the gospel, we try too hard. We give the answers before the reader has time to ask the questions. It is a failing that can be forgiven, if only by reason of good intention, but it makes for weak writing.

This makes me think of Sawai's moving story, A Song for Nettie Johnson, in the book by the same name. The story made me ache for Nettie and her husband, yet there is a thread of grace, of redemption, of even joy in it, that rings so true. Perhaps that's what made me ache.

Perhaps as writers we try too hard to rid our readers of the ache, the longing for wholeness that we all feel. We want to fix them, to draw them into the relationship with Jesus that we know will do that. But we forget that it is the longing, the aching, the painful process that accomplishes what Jesus needs to do in our lives. Perhaps it's not the end we should be trying to depict, but the getting there, the universal epic journey of a soul trying to find its place.

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