King Lear – by Frederick Buechner

There would be a strong argument for saying that much of the most powerful preaching of our time is the preaching of the poets, playwrights, novelists because it is often they better than the rest of us who speak with awful honesty about the absence of God in the world and about the storm of his absence, both without and within, which, because it is unendurable, unlivable, drives us to look to the eye of the storm. I think of King Lear especially with its tragic vision of a world in which the good and the bad alike go down to dusty and, it would seem, equally meaningless death with no God to intervene on their behalf, and yet with its vision of a world in which the naked and helpless ones, the victims and fools, become at least truly alive before they die and thus touch however briefly on something that lies beyond the power of death. It is the worldly ones, the ones wise as the world understands wisdom and strong in the way the world understands strength, who are utterly doomed. This is so much the central paradox of Lear that the whole play can be read as a gloss if not a homily on that passage in First Corinthians where Paul expresses the same paradox in almost the same terms by writing, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28), thus pointing as Shakespeare points to the apparent emptiness of the world where God belongs and to how the emptiness starts to echo like an empty shell after a while until you can hear in it the still, small voice of the sea, hear strength in weakness, victory in defeat, presence in absence.

 

I think of Dostoevski in The Brothers Karamazov when the body of Alyosha’s beloved Father Zossima begins to stink in death instead of giving off fragrance as the dead body of a saint is supposed to, and at the very moment where Alyosha sees the world most abandoned by God, he suddenly finds the world so aflame with God that he rushes out of the chapel where the body lies and kisses the earth as the shaggy face of the world where God, in spite of and in the midst of everything, is.

 

– Originally published in Telling The Truth

The Writer’s Journey

– by Charlotte Chinn

 

When words collide onto my paper and I step back in awe as I look at the sentences that quickly form paragraphs it is then that I realize this is divine.  There is only one source where such jumbled thoughts can become coherent words that form devotionals or essays or even novels.  These sentences that eventually form paragraphs that leads to writing capable of healing, uplifting and changing lives.  That’s the kind of writing I aspire to produce.

Words don’t always come easy though. You’d think they would. Moving them from the thoughts to paper is a process that involves vulnerability. You have to be willing to open yourself up to the scrutiny of those who might provide what you might perceive as a critical evaluation of your writing.  You have to be open to the fact that your story, whether good or bad is bound to seep onto the pages at some point and someone is going to know the details of which you may have tried to keep hidden.  Who knows what words will form together to make sentences, to make paragraphs, and eventually become essays, novels, and other works that others will read. This is a scary place to find oneself.  

 

I’m never confident about sharing my writing, even in those spaces that encourage it. I always feel like it could be better; there’s always going to be someone whose writing is better, someone who can say it more plainly; express it more clearly than what I can ever do. I long for the day when I’m confident enough to stand in front of an audience and say the words that I know I’ve been divinely given, with confidence knowing that there is at least one person who needs to hear them.

I have come to the realization that no matter how I feel about my wriitng or what others may think of it, it is not about me.  It is more important to be obedient to God who I believe has clalled me to write for Him. I have found inspiration in Proverbs 31:8 (CEB) that admonishes us to Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.”  I will allow the words God gives me to speak for those without a voice.and to ensure those who are vulnerable receive justice.    


Writing is my passion.  I also believe it is my calling.  I want to follow the path I believe God has for me and share my words.  At some point I have to trust that if He has given me the mandate to share His words He will make room for that to take place.  In order to do that I must step out of the way and trust His process.  

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