I was in a middle of the road church. They still had principals, and even encouraged if not ‘enforced’ them, but when it came to the faith, it was middle of the road. I realized though that the faith is not middle of the road. Jesus preached turning away from lifestyles of sin and putting one’s faith in him. The gospel of Jesus is a radical thing. One is told to follow him. So, a church is middle of the road to attract more people, but it does not explain the gospel, the basis of the faith. So, middle of the road is an annoying problem as it’s not the gospel.
I have enough devotions for the equivalent of a book’s worth of devotions, one month’s worth, but with the second book, another month’s worth, there is still some editing and additional writing to be done. I am writing and editing at this stage. I am thinking of publishing though.
The new sins are condemned everywhere these days, the old sins are accepted increasingly, but God offers mercy for them all.
I have been reflecting on the Gospel of John. The read has been enjoyable and compelling. This week, I have been reading the chapter on Lazarus and I learnt why Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. I now share my findings from the gospel itself.
Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha, who lived in the village of Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem, in the first century. Jesus at the time was staying on the far side of the Jordan and was told that Lazarus was unwell.
Two days later, Jesus said to his disciples that Lazarus was physically dead. Jesus explained to his disciples, who were with him, that he meant that Lazarus was resting–meaning his disembodied spirit was resting in Hades, the waiting place for judgment of the dead (as David Pawson explains in “The Road to Hell”). Lazarus was not in heaven or hell. He was resting, in a waiting place for the spirits of the dead.
Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters and was going to wake Lazarus up, so his spirit would come back to his body. Lazarus would come back to life. Jesus went to Bethany and met up with Mary and Martha. Lazarus had been in a tomb four days and Jesus prayed and Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive.
Why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? Love. Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. They would have been grateful they got their brother back and Jesus delivered on this for them.
I discovered that Jesus’ love in raising Lazarus has a much wider application as well.
I’ve been thinking…and there should be more writing and literature on this blog, in the future, than general writing and life talk although I will probably still include that. I would like to see more poetry and reflections and reviews of books, movies and music.
I’ve been working on a book of reflections based on my readings of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel is from the Bible and I am aware of being accurate to the text and not saying something myself in my writings that was not intended by the writer of the gospel. But I am writing reflections and this genre is not explaining or expounding a text academically as one would when deeply examining what the author was saying. Reflections are simply hopefully effectively relaying my thoughts about what I read…meaning it is not a thesis on the text or a critique but a reflection on the text itself. I reflect from a devotional basis so it is not a reflective critique which has a soft edge.
I don’t know if one can do reflections from any kind of text, but I think copyright issues are the barrier to a writer taking any printed text and writing a book of reflections on it, although I don’t know. I know that there is a whole genre of devotional writing that uses the Bible but does not copy it. I know I am not doing anything wrong in using the Bible as a basis for a book of reflections, unless everyone who was writing devotions from the Bible has got it wrong. It is only wrong if copying the Bible exactly as it is for a profit, without permission; and copying it even without wanting to make a profit or commercial gain.
Copying 1000 Bible verses as they are written is okay with some Bible publishers, without seeking permission. It just depends on each Bible publication policy which is at the front of each Bible. Always check copyright notices at the front of each book you may want to copy in some way. There it will explain what one can legally do or not do with that particular book. And get a grasp of copyright law. Books are legally well protected from people trying to illegally copy them, but the copyright notice at the front of the book will inform of any leniencies, if any, and what you can do if you want to use a portion of the book in some capacity.
So far, my reflections have taken up one small exercise book, which I completed this week. For the rest of the week in terms of reflective writing, I just felt to blob, as if I have done enough for a little while in that genre or until I get my reflective writing mojo back.
Writing while doing other things in life as you would normally do can be hectic. Keeping up to date with the stuff a writer does–that is, the writing–sometimes near impossible. If one is going well and the good days outnumber the bad ones, then keeping up to date is a reality. Getting through the writing agenda is not impossible. It is simply writing the ideas up that get turned into short meditations or devotions or what’s also knows as reflections. Short and sweet.
Motivation can be an issue for a writer if not on assignment. It’s possible for a writer not on assignment to be extremely motivated, but it’s also possible that a writer not on assignment is unmotivated to produce their own material. But the writer with a strong level of entitlement is a storm force.
Little things I pick up along the way…as I was reading a book, I stumbled onto a nugget of wisdom. The book appraised films for this or that reason and a reason a critic gave was personally illuminating. The critic said a certain director wasn’t prepared to go the places a subject or premise would naturally go. It clicked. If I am to write stories, write stories I am prepared to deliver on. Go to the places the subject demands. If I can’t go there, don’t write it.
While on the road of writing, if it’s full-time, part-time, casual, or as one can write in-between the necessities of life, sometimes there’s the urge to reach beyond the boundaries of one’s normal genres of writing. I’ve desired it and tried it, but tended to fall back on the predictable or the road well-traveled.
Takes time. Two projects in effect, taking time on them both. Rejections, had a couple, but their mist dissipates soon after. Successes, too, lifts one up. It’s not everything. Frank Sinatra sings. The sun still shines. Life can be fine.
This week writing has been writing a devotion based on old notes of my bible reading, a humor piece that I completed and submitted, and a significant revise of a poetry. Patience and time is a key to working on pieces, though I may be tempted to get the work done fast, so I can move on to the next thing. No, don’t do that. A calm spirit is better. Patience and time gets things done better.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing a children’s short story, originally intended for a picture book. The inspiration was in my garden. I may approach publishers, but on speculation that they may or may not publish it. Of course there are the usual doubts that it won’t work for children, it’s too Watership-downish, although Watership Down was a goldmine in the end.
Was looking to submit a story, but on second thoughts, it’s more poetry in motion than fiction. Have two weeks before the deadline.