Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Writing For the Church

This summer I was given the opportunity to write for a particular church. I was given a text (1 Chronicles 29) and a theological theme (Giving), with the instructions to write ten short devotional pieces that would be read by a congregation. This is the most important task I have been given as a writer.

Much of what I've written in the last 3 years is intelligible to those outside of the church. I'm uncertain whether that's good or bad. But my hope with these devotional pieces is that they only begin to make sense to those who are part of a community that names a crucified Jew as the living ruler of the world. As the person who wrote them, you might assume that they make sense to me. That I know what I'm talking about.

I don't. I am guilty of saying more than I know. In writing for the church, I am writing also for myself. In the words of John Ames, I'm "trying to say what is true", which often involves saying more than one can know. But thanks be to God, Christianity is not a life of explanation but manifestation. The truth of Christian life cannot and will not finally be explained, least of all by me. It can only be only shown. And that showing takes a life time as members of Christ's body. 

The mystery of writing for the church is this: The church is not an audience for your writing, as if the church depends on what you write. Rather, you depend first on the church in order to write and in order to demonstrate the truth of your writing.

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