I dedicate this post to my pot plant: Friend, Rock, "Green Dog" Plant.
"I will not say: do not weep. For not all tears are an evil." Gandalf.
We've all been there, sitting in front of a blank screen, awed by the potential of unstarted creation and scared by the awesome weight of responsibility that falls on an author's shoulders. Writing a book is hard. Sentence construction is a pain. And the less said about spelling and grammar the better.
This book come from my journey, my quest, my adventure to fill up such a space and forge, in the twin fires of writing and experience, the golden ring of an American Christian Book. It comes from my beating heart for the unimaginative and the uninspired and for all the empty, white, unfilled screens lacking in the richness of a black spidery crawl.
But mainly this book comes with a biblical message, a message best summed up in Daniel 5 v 5: "Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote."
Here we find a biblical warrant for writing. A warrant that suggests that a Christian author can expect to be read by the kings of this world. It also stresses the importance of writing near a good light source. I know what you're going to say: "But Ben, we don't use handwriting any more."
And you'd be right.
Last Monday evening I attended a public lecture given by Tom Wright (also known as R.T. Wright), the ex Bishop of Durham and a lecturer at St Andrews University and as you might expect a very clever and able man. His lecture was on “How do we speak about God in a confused world?” which basically translated to the role of the Christian faith in public discourse. His lecture was almost brilliant. But the almost left me feeling troubled.
The brilliance was in his insight into modern culture and it's failings; the divinity of progress now that any conception of god has been removed, the failure of science-ism (hot air, resting on thin air, leaving us in mid air, as he wonderfully said) and the place of Christianity in Western society. His diagnoses was accurate but in describing Christianity as the solution he worried me.
The almost was in what he did not say. This makes it a subtle error but it has been my observation that often the most tricky errors are found in what is not said rather than what is. Before I get to the exact error of omission that was concerning I think it is necessary to say that Tom Wright is hardly the only one doing this. Indeed, he acts a figurehead for a broader church wide movement of not preaching the gospel as well as it should be preached. From my own experience I find it most common in evangelical charismatic circles but it is creeping into conservative circles too.