“I have become all things to all people
so that by all possible means I might save some.”
—St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:21-22
What can I say—when God handed out “passion,” I got a boatload. Not just passion for God, my family and romance, although those things obviously top the charts for me, but passion in everything I do. As a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), I talk fast, walk fast, eat fast and brush my teeth fast, scouring with a vengeance. Good heavens, is it any wonder I have receding gums???
I cry just about every time I worship God at church or with worship music on my treadmill, over commercials or when I simply think about God’s goodness to me. The truth is I am a weepy, emotional, passionate woman who is also passionate about the truth. Not a good combination if you’re looking to impress the world or want to be considered “the norm,” which I will be the first to admit, I’m not. Not in my personality nor in my writing. I feel deeply, I believe deeply and I live deeply.
Which is why what you read from me is what you get. Whether writing novels or blogs or letters or e-mails, I literally open a vein and bleed onto the keyboard because it’s who I am, who God made me to be. Some people like it, some don’t. But I have to be honest—the ones who don’t have a way of making you feel less, like you are not all God expects you to be, like you are a disobedient stepchild who needs to be disciplined. And I gotta tell you—if God had treated me like some of these people do, I wouldn’t be writing this to you today, nor would you be reading my books because there flat-out wouldn’t be any.
What is it with some people, that they cannot see the forest for the trees? Cannot see that Jesus commands us to love others, not judge them? Goodness, Jesus would turn their world upside down today with His penchant for having dinner with sinners or defending prostitutes! And don’t even get me started on what they would think of St. Paul, who chose “to be all things to all people for the sake of Christ.”
For me, being a passionate CDQ is a good thing most of the time, but the flip side for a person who feels this much is that when someone cuts you with words, it hurts like the devil. Mmm … appropriate phraseology, I’d say, because that’s his M.O.—condemning rather than convicting, hurting rather than healing. And unfortunately, all too often it’s other Christians he uses to do it.
Like the letter I just got from a disgruntled reader yesterday who called my books “indecent,” saying “there is no place in Christian fiction for this depth of detail,” and that “there is enough of this stuff in the world” without it being in the Christian market as well. And you know what? She’s right. There IS “enough of this stuff in the world,” which is all the more reason the Christian community needs to rise up and fight fire with fire and be “all things to all people for the sake of Christ.” This disgruntled reader would be shocked to learn that most of my friends, Christian and non, read secular romance, which, of course, generally promotes the world’s amoral lifestyle rather than God’s. What’s wrong with this picture? I mean if the world can take something that God created and use it to sell its amoral agenda, then why can’t Christians utilize this God-given passion to promote Him and His precepts?
Look at the world today—it’s obsessed with illicit passion. Hollywood promotes adultery and unmarried couples sleeping together as sexy, and I can count on one hand how many young, unmarried women I know who are still virgins today, Christian or no. Why? Because passion is important! Not just to romance readers, but to everyone on the planet. We were created that way by a passionate God who analogizes His own depth of love for each of us in a very passionate love letter called “Song of Solomon.” And what happens? The world uses this beautiful, God-given gift to shove sin down peoples’ throats, and I, for one, am really sick of it. I want to use passion the way it was intended—to teach people God’s precepts and therein, His love. It’s the cry of my heart, and I hope and pray that for my readers, my stories of romantic passion translate into passion for God.
But those who disagree with me do give me pause to think … and to pray … that I stay the course with God’s plan and not my own. I thank them for their passion for purity, which I assure them, is as fervent as mine and which inspires me to be even more vigilant and careful in future stories I write. And, yes, I do understand the concern and “passion” of those who feel Christian romance must remain chaste and pure. But on the other side of the spectrum, there are Christians like me, who worry that “chaste and pure” will not reach the majority of Nora Roberts or Hannah Montana or the MTV crowd anymore than old-time Gospel music will reach those who listen to Christian rock such as Pillar or Underoath. The Body of Christ is just that—a body of human beings at varying levels of faith. It’s not one size fits all in reaching people for Christ, but it’s the cry of St. Paul who said “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Salt … in an unsavory world.
And so, I will do what I always do when I receive letters or reviews like this—I will pray for God’s abundant blessings on this person and then for anointing to respond properly and lovingly. Because as much as I hate stubbing my own toe, the last thing I want to do is stub or inflict pain on any part of my body—“the Body of Christ.”
Thank you SO much for allowing me to vent today, and I cannot adequately express my heartfelt appreciation to those of you who support me with your friendship and love. YOU are an extension of God’s love in my life and I pray that I can be the same to you.
BE INSPIRED!! CHECK OUT PEPPER BASHAM’S GREAT SERIES, “SPRINGS OF INSPIRATION,” featuring excerpts from authors such as Jamie Carie, Mary Connealy, Melanie Dickerson, Ruth Logan Herne, Myra Johnson, Siri Mitchell, Missy Tippens and MOI (with one of my FAVORITE spiritual excerpts from my books)!! Head on over to the link below and scroll down to catch the whole series, then check out my excerpt on Friday, March 30! Hope to see you there. Here’s the link:
APRIL 3-9, 2012:
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Thanks for the shoulder to cry on and Happy Weekend!