Have you heard some of the crazy stuff people believe these days? I mean its nuts. For one, there are those thousands of people that believe that that God wants them to take over the world for him, murdering, robbing and raping anyone who gets in the way. There’s also people that think that God just created the whole universe in 6 days. Yeah, just erase hundreds of years of scientific research for the sake of a “Holy Book” that was written thousands of years ago. If that’s not wild enough, there are people who actually look out on the universe and see nothing but a biological machine completely void of any intrinsic meaning or purpose. Many of these people really believe that love and beauty are not real at all – they are mere evolutionary mirages who’s sole function is to keep us moving. Talk about crazy!
There is an ancient teaching called Gnosticism which has, throughout the centuries, constantly sought to wriggle itself into the life of the church. At its essence, the idea is that there is a fundamental division between the spiritual and the physical. The Gnostic believes that he is saved by the possession of special knowledge. The physical world however, along with the body, is fallen and beyond saving or repair.
Many variations of this idea have surfaced and resurfaced in the history of christianity, with each following version tending to be more and more subtle and sneaky. And our day is indeed no exception¹. But how can this be so?? Don’t we live in a day of peak theological growth? Before a false teaching even appears, we already have a good book published on the issue! We have hundreds of sermons, articles, websites and magazines being put out every week defending and defining the Gospel of Jesus!
I think that people who don’t do much journaling or writing often look at those who do and think, “Gosh, lucky for them it comes so easily. They just have a way with words.” Recently I was trying to encourage a close brother in arms in his labors. He seemed to be communicating the point that because it is hard, then he wasn’t built for it.
In the course of our conversation I myself began to realize that, the fact that writing is hard work is actually the whole point. The process of writing is a quest for clarity on something that we think we already understand. Its a fight to own that which we think we understand. It is quite inevitable that this path will be a challenge. It will require the twisting and turning of our perspective. It will require us to see things from new angles.
This weekend I had the mighty privilege of visiting New St. Andrews College, located in the heart of the very progressive university town of Moscow, Idaho. Here, Doug Wilson and his band of classical christian thinkers wage a worldview war of sorts, raising the next generation of faithful christians that seek to live out all of Christ in all of life. The annual Wordsmithy Workshop is designed to do this precise thing in the context of thinking christians who want to write more and write better. It was quite the intellectual and spiritual feast and it set my thoughts and inspirations ablaze in a number of new directions.
The theme of the conference was the writing life of C. S. Lewis. We had the great privilege of having Micheal Ward (perhaps the foremost Lewis scholar on the planet) lead us in a deeper peek into the mind and work of this great and historic thinker. The following is my attempt at sharing some of the gold nuggets I take away from my time at NSA.
One of the greatest convictions that has gripped me over the past couple of years is the power and priority of writing, not just for “writers” but for all of us regular folk. Historically speaking there are a thousand reasons to put your thoughts and convictions to pen and paper. I have mentioned these before. As I have given this issue more indepth thought in the past few weeks from a distinctly christian perspective its significance shines all the brighter.
We live in a digital age. What that means in a large sense is that we live in an age of mass information. Our ability to produce, communicate and store information grows exponentially, as does our exposure to it. We live in a world that is teaming with voices, words and ideas.