Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Cross-Eyed Writer

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3, Polonius bids farewell to his son Laertes, who is bound for Paris. The father says: 
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
canst not be false to any man.
Far from the New Age self-knowledge liberal mindset that this quote would seem to support, Shakespeare had in mind a far more Elizabethan ideal when he penned the words. Polonius actually is warning Laertes against a debauched lifestyle of gambling, money borrowing and lending, carousing with women of loose reputation, and other intemperate pursuits. Such behavior would sully Laertes' reputation, proving him untrue to self.

The writer who is a follower of Jesus the Christ, while being concerned about her own reputation, is far more careful about how she reflects Christ through her writing. Whether she writes for the secular or the Christian market, she remains "Cross-eyed"; that is, she keeps her focus on the crucified and risen Savior.

I did not set out to be a Christian writer, per se. When I was in high school, I went through a phase of reading many of the Grace Livingston Hill romances. They were old even then, being set in the early twentieth century, but if one wanted to read fiction that was "wholesome," especially romances, Hill was about the only choice. Even then, however, I disliked the predictability and "preachy-ness" of her books. Nonetheless, I respect her for being one of the pioneers of Christian fiction. Janette Oke can claim credit for bringing the genre of Christian romance into its own for today's readers. Christian and non-Christian readers alike enjoy Oke's novels.

In recent years, the works of writers such as Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Jerry Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, Max Lucado, Liz Curtis Higgs, and others have joined the ranks of C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien to write fiction that appeals to both Christian and secular markets. Some of the stories are overtly Christian, while others convey the saving message of Christ as a subtext or an allegory. These days, Christians write in nearly every genre and for all age groups. While their styles may be diverse, they have one thing in common, if they are true to their calling: they are Cross-eyed. They filter everything they write through the Lord's lens.

Are you a Cross-eyed writer? How does that affect what you write? Has the Holy Spirit ever called you into check for something you've written or were about to write? What steps do you take to make sure you remain a Cross-eyed writer? Please leave a comment telling about your experience. Thank you.

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