1 Corinthians 3:19–21
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours,
Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live.
― Dorothy Parker, Enough Rope
The idea of reading a book turns most people off. Because it cries for your attention and time, which spurns a fear of missing out in living if you invest those two things on words. And because it’s brutally boring.
With that, people from all nations and timelines said, “Amen.” and went on with their lives.
A book’s just words on stacked paper, and God knows who bothered to glue them into flaps and bar-code them. This is a cynic’s answer. Paraphrased to fit the masses, ‘a book’s a book lah’. The same people will then turn their eyes to the ceiling, scope the room to find a more interesting person to talk to.
Books let you roam free of reality’s confines. It’s like parole to those who see shaky childhood as a prison sentence. Or grant humanity to the disenchanted who have been denied of it in schools, in workplaces, even the racist bus that brought them there.
Between the pages of horror-fiction, anyone willing to brave the dark admits all evil stem from weakness. A kid gains revelation of why adults want bad books banned: because they cannot accept what they refuse to see, especially works that have pinpointed the human condition so well. Oft times relationships with trends and people don’t satisfy you the way dragons and galactic warfare can in a translated classic. Or simply when none around cared to, it empathized what mattered to you.
The point: it un-bores you, rests a unquiet mind, and with the reader’s consent, offer hope.
And still be a coaster for your tea.
The idea of writing a thing is unheard of; it has scared whole crowds back to their homes before. Texting doesn’t count. Feel free to skip the two scores below.
I used to know a kid people bigger than him would smother, people smarter than him would mock at, people more socially endowed would lynch on a lamppost kas he was a one lame ass. There are jock-heads, logicians, cliche-cliques, narcissists, and persuasive sociopaths in every school setting. Especially the two timeless attractions, the archer and the dartboard, the bully and the bullied. Whom the crowd would jeer and cheer at. Apparently, a decade of school has taught me a lesson I welcome most to forget: introverts aren’t people. Most people copy, most people aren’t people at all.
“Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show.” -Terry Pratchett
Of course small sufferings make a pissant a philosopher. Of course, I couldn’t be right when the one doing the bullying isn’t either. So books became a refuge, I stayed there for some years, wanting to misspent many centuries more. What could go wrong?
Not opposed to facts, fiction merely weaves them to whip out a tale for purposes intended for the reader. Fiction is a warning shot, imagination’s firing pin, an ax to inane media.
Let’s talk of those who wrote them — writers.
1 Timothy 1:4 tells us to shun myths.
A church’s teaching ministry should be based on the Word of God, not on the ideas, philosophies, and imaginations of men. For example, speculation over the color of Samson’s hair is unprofitable; dogmatism on the subject is even worse. However, the Bible has no command against reading or writing fiction.
The tale of how one becomes a writer interests few, those who do would agree it’s how they see things. Maybe having a haggard heart counts too. You know: a scene best left un-replayed, some trauma drama. Best friend got sliced by a train(Stephen King), baseball and solitude puts gears in motion(Hurakami), or “because I had to” (too many to mention, including the first two)
Writers exist to tell stories, their works speak of how fallen we all are. Glib through the oeuvres that have stood the test of time. Satre(satire), Balzac(for his panoramic bulk), Malcolm X(a revolutionary disaster), children quote Shakespeare today because his dwellings relate, even after 400 years.
But a thick darkness wipes away all this yak because poets, scribes alike are troubled in-and-out. Legions of a similar ink live raggedly, their minds in perpetual turmoil, having spent lifetimes in dysthymia to a point mental faculties leave them lifeless and hostile. Demonized. The most memorable ones have wrote to their ruin. God knows. Satan smiled down at their graves with easing pleasure, that’s how the unholy ghost gets ya.
A consistency is that all of them are atheists. Very passionate ones from a young, fragile age. A lot were from church-going families but free will is free will, were they ever saved in the end?
I’m far from qualified to say this but a simple sum-up would be that strayed too far from a path good people would take. And jumped off the edges eventually.
Sylvia Plath. The poet who put her head in an oven to kill herself.
“I talk to God but the sky is empty.”
Jack London. Bipolar genius who had a pioneer’s streak. Died of morphine overdose.
“I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed.”
-when they asked him
Blew out brains with a double barrel.
A biographer wrote:
He did not only not believe in God but regarded organized religion as a menace to human happiness… he seems to have been devoid of the religious spirit… and ceased to practice religion at the earliest possible moment. — can’t remember where
All thinking men are atheists. -his book, A Moveable Feast
Kurt Vonnegut died falling down stairs.
How on earth can religious people believe in so much arbitrary, clearly invented balderdash? … The acceptance of a creed, any creed, entitles the acceptor to membership in the sort of artificial extended family we call a congregation. It is a way to fight lonliness. Any time I see a person fleeing from reason into religion, I think to myself, There goes a person who simply cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore. — his biography
Hunter S. Thompson. Expert journalist on gun-control. Atheist and bipolar. Shot himself.
“I have never seen much point in getting heavy with stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don’t bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I… And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there’s a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots.” — when they asked him
Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Feminist with a litany of achievements to her name.
“chose chloroform over cancer” and she died quickly and quietly.
“what glory there was in an omnipotent being torturing forever a puny little creature who could in no way defend himself? Would it be to the glory of a man to fry ants?”
Dorothy Parker, many suicide attempts. Heart attack had her.
“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”
And on and on.
Guiltily, countless times everyone has those words on a loop in their heads because we allow doubt to surmise enough to breath life into them. Doubt born from fear.
Add that to stubbornness to change, something else molds you into a monster.
“‘Once upon a time,’ Gaiman said, “is code for ‘I’m lying to you.’ We experience stories as lies and truth at the same time. We learn to empathize with real people via made-up people. The most important thing that fiction does is it lets us look out through other eyes, and that teaches us empathy — that behind every pair of eyes is somebody like us.“
Stories have their own form of life, Gaiman concluded. “You can view people as this peculiar byproduct that stories use for breeding and transmission. They are symbiotic with us. They are the thing that we have used since the dawn of humanity to become more than just one person.“
Writers, dead and alive. All whom have sown influenced in how we act and think today, to what we talk about. (Well, not all)
These aren’t random faces. Even if you loathe their work when someone in higher authority forced you to read them, thank those poor souls and thank God for them even if they all disbelieve in the one God whom we love and seek.
A simple fact, save for C.S.Lewis and Tolkien, all the best fiction writers were/are fervent disbelievers.
A writer’s job , most of the time is to tell a story. Each day they will pound on a typewriter, a logbook, or anything flat as they listen to that still, small voice articulating that tale of theirs. For any art-form in a world becoming less impatient every minute, any knowing grown-up tells you to grow up and be realistic when you tell them a writer is what you wanna be.
It can’t pay bills, it’s not a norm, it’s something they are unfamiliar with, alien. And what about your friends? Your sweet, serenading friends who put up with your cuts and crap through every thick and thin, they will coerce, might dissuade you, probably laugh like a graduate student at your face because he has more smarts than you. To plagiarize from someone else, writing is like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub, with no cheering crowds from start to finish, only WW2 sea-mines and sharks that perform dolphin-dives. It’s a lonely road you’re heading.
Let’s write a story. You clamber to a desk, power up the piece of machine and click on Microsoft Word. Behold, your mind implodes, becoming a vacuum, the body sweats, you say four-letter words in your head. A white, blank page becomes an un-speaking master. Indirectly reminding ourselves what we are sometimes: nothing.
Maybe that’s why we consume more than we create. You can’t say create academic writing is creating something. It feels like busywork with the back-to-back phrases, a must with the help of a knowing senior. That’s not work, it’s copy-and-paste. We can lie to ourselves and say it’s okay. “It’s my business and finished means finished(Edit: At least, I do).”
Be it music, kung fu, sports or photography or selfie-taking(sigh).
People do it for the joy of it, each second past is well spent, you go to sleep happily exhausted and wake up wanting more. Those dead people you saw up there and the ones still in action don’t do it for the money. The craft fulfilles them.
How on earth can I know?
I don’t, just like the next guy, because their work speaks for themselves.
But belaboring a poor point here and yes, derailing. Those who take up the craft and listen to feed certain voices too long end up in a bad place.
Alcoholism consumes authors, the reason they became authors because they dwell and past haunts caught up with them. Notice enduring writers ponder on similar themes their whole lives — thus classics. When all reserves of self-help dry up (i.e. Drugs and bars) and coping mechanisms fall apart, it’s usually lead to the head with their finger on the gun up their chins. That my friends, is what depression makes of you — DIP — dead in pieces.
But oh, how commercialism has made these writers to be perceived: as architects who create their own inner worlds, as rebels living in healthier pastures, gunslingers with a way of words. As blurbs put it “Gods”.
Lies. A simple read-and-ohisee online would tell you none of that.
It’s a dark and dangerous alley to walk alone where those photos came from. The alley is cold and are splayed with corpses (their little hopes and dreams of having healed) and many spiked shadows will watch you walk down in silence. A picture in this case has backstory filled with abortions and failed mental health reports — and leaving God for good. Which in too many instances, many above really did. Explicitly.
Maybe they lacked what normal people have. Care instead of indifference.
Some empathy for a change. Maybe a friend. A church that taught the right things in lieu of going along with tradition which ‘religion’ stands for. Christ is love, love many have been cheated out of — unknowingly by themselves.
Books sound like worldly things. Maybe they are.
Orwell’s 1984 made a culture question their governments and suspect everything. Books severe national ties and question pillars formed by billions of adherents. I.e The Satanic Verses et al. And so many others to stay wary of.
All of that aside, the Bible alone remains at the top. Only from the devastating state the prophets in Psalms endured have Dante found inspiration to make his Inferno possible. Only from those impossible missionaries the anointed ones have written of can Tolkien aspire to create his opus. Because art is just imitation, humanity merely copies.
The true book that has stood the test of time, even to become the first one to be printed on paper in human history is none other than His Word. It has all of life’s answers,
it’s sinkholes and crooked paths to stay clear of, along with striking stories to relate to anyone in any timeframe. It’s a book that has changed lives every day, the most powerful in existence. It’s the one book you find who you are.
In fact, the Bible is filled with fiction. By that, we do not mean that the Bible is untrue. We mean that the Bible sometimes uses fiction to relate truth; stated otherwise, the Bible contains examples of storytelling. In 2 Samuel 12:1–4, Nathan the prophet tells David a fictional story of a man whose only lamb was stolen and killed. When the hypothetical crime incites David’s rage, Nathan reveals the story is an allegory for David’s affair with Bathsheba. Other notable fictitious stories in the Bible include Jotham’s fable (Judges 9:7–15) and Ezekiel’s allegory (Ezekiel 17:1–8). The greatest storyteller is Jesus. Every one of His parables is a fictional story. Each one reveals a spiritual truth, but in form they are fiction.
Whether the stories are spiritual allegory, historical fiction, or simple entertainment, Christian authors still need to apply biblical guidelines. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” A few verses later, Paul admonishes, “There must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting” (Ephesians 5:4). Writers need to remember that, even if they intend their fiction as pure entertainment, all stories contain an element of teaching. And teaching is a spiritually serious endeavor (James 3:1), no matter what the medium.
Things come to mind:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
that never should leave.
I hated school because I hated everything, that’s a past worth putting in the rear-view mirror for once.
This has been written with the family from Church of Praise in mind, including ones who never read this far. Missing you, even when you don’t.
Red socks are scary