Gifts and Talents

About a month ago, I wrote a post on Tumblr about gifts and talents and how they relate to your religion. Supposedly (or so a lot of people say), writing is one of my talents. My religion (and other religions, too) says that you should share your gifts and talents with others. But, oddly enough, the things I write about aren’t exactly warm, fuzzy, and PG-rated. I write about violence, sex, hatred, and other craziness. I don’t use my “talent” to show my religion in a positive light all the time. So, yes, if I get my stories published, I might be sharing my talent with others, but not necessarily in a way that shows my religion as something to which others would want to be drawn.

It’s difficult to write religious-themed fiction books without making them sound like blatant pamphlets on conversion. It’s hard to write religious characters without making them Mary Sues. I realize that every time I write a religious character, they come off really preachy and unrealistic, or they come off without flaws.

I’ve also wondered if it’s considered a sin to write about things that go against my religion, which I do all the time. OK, I like reading Christian- or religious-themed novels occasionally, but I’ve never wanted to write them. It’s just not what I’m into. I’ve never written stories to try and convert people to my religion (or to any religion or way of thinking, for that matter). If anything, I would like to write a story that makes people think about religion, morals, values, right, wrong, etc., but not to try and convert them. Most attempts at conversion don’t end well. We live in an age when people absolutely hate to be pushed around, and are very suspicious of anyone who tries to push them into a certain way of thinking or believing. I don’t think it was always like that.

Basically, my religion and my writing are two separate things. I like that they’re two separate things. But shouldn’t your religion infiltrate everything you do… and influence it for the better? Hmm… just something that was on my mind.

10 thoughts on “Gifts and Talents

  1. It’s obvious from some of your previous posts that religion is a big part of your life. Although I highly respect those who have religious careers, I don’t think that you have to add religion to your job to prove your faith.I think it already shows in the choices you make in your own life and the way you treat others. 🙂

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  2. I agree that most didactic art can get flat and uninteresting (or can end up preaching to the choir — though that can be a good thing at times, since if they didn’t like some preaching they probably wouldn’t be in the choir in the first place 🙂 ).

    I think a lot of what art can do is pose the question, in some form or another, often not literally. I write mystery stories — often with murders, but I’m not advocating murder, and in some ways I’m not all that interested in murder per se. But murder happens when situations and emotions become extreme, and it’s those situations and emotions that interest me. And, while the murder is in the center, holding the story together, you can show a lot of interesting things around the edges (see Gosford Park for a great example).

    The complexity is necessary, I think, because otherwise it isn’t like life. People don’t come to embrace any important beliefs in their lives easily or through a straight line process.

    Sorry for going on and on. Maybe I should blog about this myself. 🙂

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  3. I do not know your religious preference but I am of the opinion that your beliefs should shape your worldview as well as your actions (i.e. talent sharing and the like). However, it is not your responsibility to convert others, nor do you need to go about convincing anyone of the “steadfastness” of your beliefs.

    Biblical characters were never perfect (save, of course, for the obvious). They were flawed because they were humans and so I encourage you to simply tell honest stories that provoke…

    I found this blog post helpful…I am sure you can apply it to your beliefs in some way:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/self-doubt-and-writing

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