Everything, nothing, somethings, sometimes, maybe so.

I hate cliche writing. Nothing pisses me off more than verbs and adjectives tumbling from sub par storylines– creaking floors, “perfect” this and that. That’s not writing. That’s spelling and sentences and coherence, but that’s not creative writing.

The busyness (or lack thereof) in my life always seems to vary between the cliche and the outrageous. For months and months — or even years — I’ll meander along, decisions presenting themselves as unavoidable. That’s just the natural next step, yes? Yes. The cliche of decisions — the creaking and the perfects of the world.

And then fortunately, thankfully, I’m sabotaged by a great story. The floor isn’t creaking — it’s groaning under the weight of a century of footsteps carelessly traversing its weathered slats. Nothing is perfect. It’s excellent or terrifying or satisfying or fading or childlike or any other myriad of possibilities in the well from which I can take a sip and digest slowly.

I’ve been living in a sweeping succession of these digestible moments lately. One magnificent mistake sent me spinning, and I’ve yet to recover. I never will. This is my new reality. But in this new reality I am braver, stronger, more willing to try…and more susceptible to the outrageous.

I feel myself being pulled toward the unavoidable, but it’s not cliche this go-around. I’m baffled and astounded and shocked and feeling the tug toward an exciting proposition, a pivot point in my life drawing me to something more.

I don’t care what that damn groundhog says. Spring is here.

NaBloWriMo

“I closed my eyes and just let go.”

It’s one of my favorite lines in my novel, Sixteen Days. A simple statement that reflected emotional nudity. A complex decision that reflected an inability to ever go back. 

As we enter this NaBloWriMo season, my goal is to share tips of this trade, secrets and tricks to improving your writing, as well as explore my own journey as an editor and author.

Care to join? Close your eyes and just let go.

On conversion.

While having dinner with friends a couple of weeks ago, they asked me if I considered myself religious. I thought about it for a moment and said, “well, I am a Christian, so I suppose in some ways I am religious.” 

The conversation drifted into talk about a recent study, which found that over half of Britons say they are non-religious. Though this is significantly lower than the U.S., our Christian numbers are slipping every year. 

Why is that? Why are these once Christian nations now living in post-Christian society?

A lot of it has to do with approach. 

“Religious Christianity” is a parasite ripping its way through good intentions, the Joel Osteens of this world (note the previous link was taken from a conservative-leaning website) promising people they will be “blessed” if they contribute to his lavish lifestyle, while the likes of Joyce Meyers persist in hatefully yelling at you to have joy. Right. 

And here’s the thing: those of us who dare speak out against the so-called prosperity gospel, the TBN televangelists of this world, are suddenly not “Christian enough” for the Cool Kids Religious Club.

The wailing and flailing and associating politics with religion to the point that you’re unwelcome certainly doesn’t make me very interested in stepping foot in a church — and I was practically born on the front pew.

Where does that leave the rest of the world?

Less than motivated. 

While walking through Manchester on Saturday, the soothing sounds of prayers and light music wafted through an area with a large amount of foot traffic. As I came closer to the origination of the sound, I saw it was an Islamic outreach. Two large tables were full of varying types of informational books, and the people in charge were standing some distance away, enabling people to freely wander up, observe, and learn at their own pace. I was surprised by how calm it felt and suddenly understood why this is a religion increasing in number. These lay people made it feel approachable.

Because irony is a thing, I continued meandering down the walkway and into a large square in downtown Manchester. As I made my way along, I started to hear someone yelling — was there a fight? An accident? 

And then…”oh no,” I thought. Dread crept upon me like vines tightly encasing an old brick building.

There he was in all his glory. 

A red-faced, loud mouth with a crackling mic, yelling at people, “know the one, true living God! You are not from chimpanzees. Evolution is not real!”

His small set up included a handcrafted wooden cross, a t-shirt on a mannequin (not sure if they were for sale or what)…and that’s it. A man and his soapbox. 

People were snickering in clusters from a safe distance away, giggling at the “crazy guy” talking about Jesus. 

It’s symptomatic of the larger issue with Christianity: the right-fighters. Notice he didn’t speak about the love of Christ or how He died on a cross. He didn’t even mention the concept of sin and how there is forgiveness. He pushed a political and scientific agenda and attempted to angrily convince passersby that this behavior somehow, some way, meant his religion was superior.

Tell me — if you were among the 53% of non-religious UK residents, which religious approach would have interested you the most? Or at least not closed the door to the positives of said religion? 

Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God” is one of America’s most important and fascinating religious texts. And while I believe in Jesus and the tenets of Christianity — though I stumble, God knows — Edwards died in 1758, and the world is now a very different place.

Maybe it’s time that approach died, too. Maybe it’s time the religious right stepped off their self-righteous pedestal and learned to study the Bible without their Evangelical politics. Maybe it’s time to give people a safe space to feel welcome and explore instead of yelling religious dogma in the streets. 

 

 

(image credit: Pixabay)