Christian Writer:

What Do You Think?

by Carol Baldwin

 Last week there were two more horrific shootings. One in a California synagogue, the second in a university in Charlotte, NC. This is not a blog about gun control or even an attempt to answer the question that plagues many of us, “What is our world coming to?” But it is a blog about what should we, as Christian writers, do to respond to events like this. Because the first shooter was a church goer and targeted another religious group, I’m going to focus on that event.

John Earnest, the man who allegedly killed one woman and injured three others at Congregation Chabad, attended an Orthodox Presbyterian Church–the denomination which I attend. It is a conservative, Bible-believing church; the pastor wrote this public statement condemning John Earnest’s actions.

In his article, “Why White Nationalism Tempts White Christians” Jemar Tisby, president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, and co-host of the podcast Pass The Mic and author of The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, asks some sobering questions.  I encourage you to read the entire article and think about his summary: “If any lessons can come from a murderous hate crime, then perhaps it is this one: Sin in the form of white nationalism crouches at the door of every congregation.”

We are warned in Genesis 4:7 to consider, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Sin lies at our door. What does that mean to you and me?

Another article was published in the Washington Post, presumably by someone who does not confess Christ. But the author’s words should make every Christian stop and think.

Last week I had lunch with Vermelle Ely, an 86-year-old African American woman who has tirelessly shared her life experiences with me to make my novel, Half-Truths, authentic. We were talking about the two shootings  and I asked for her thoughts were about what was going on in today’s world.

Vermelle Ely and Carol Baldwin                Charlotte, NC, 2017

Without a moment’s hesitation she said, “Things are going backwards.”

I’d expected her to respond about the current shootings, but she turned the conversation to white nationalism and the shooting in Charlottesville, Va. two years ago. It is very clear in her mind that our country is going back to the prejudice and discrimination that she experienced growing up in the South.

I’m still mulling over this conversation and wondering what we, Christian writers for children and young adults,  should do about this situation. I’m glad to see a beginning trend toward more racial diversity in illustrations, picture books, early readers, middle grade, and young adult novels. Marley Dias is a young person who’s tackled the issue head on.  I’m trying (I hope!) to address issues of racial injustice in my novel.

Our readers are the next generation of adults. We have the opportunity–through quality literature–to create stories that can address issues such as injustice, inequality, and true equality in the Lord.

“There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3: 11

Christian writer: What do you think?

Leave me a comment and let’s begin a dialogue.

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11 thoughts on “Christian Writer:

  1. I think your question begs us, as Christian authors, to make our words count when we write them. I mean by this, we should offer the love, hope, grace, and mercy God has offered us (as believers) to others when we create, record, edit, illustrate or whatever creative means we are gifted with. I think God’s love is the only answer. Deuteronomy states it best and so did Jesus in The Gospels of the New Testament; “the first and greatest commandment is this, ‘to Love the Lord your God …. and to love your neighbor as yourself.”

  2. Thanks Carol for naming the sin of white nationalism. I love that you are so passionate about racial equality.

    I keep pondering how I can speak up on these issues in a way that will be received. I often don’t say anything at all but I do believe I should at least post some message of sorrow on my social media sites!

    I also write about racial themes in my middle grade novels. This gives me opportunity to express concerns at school visits and other speaking events. I’m sure there is more that I can do and I would love to hear what your readers have to say about this. I especially would like to hear what our African American friends would like white readers/writers to be doing. And I’d like to know what kind of response our Jewish friends would welcome from us.

    • Thanks Jean and Joyce, for leaving comments. School visits seem like a great opportunity to speak about these issues. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’ll tuck that into the back of my mind. I’ll ask my brother and sister how we could voice our concerns and let you know.

  3. I’m so glad to see an intelligent, brave and honest discussion of this issue, Carol. Thank you for calling us into dialogue, and for including the wisdom of experience shared by your friend Vermille. I’m in a constant state of shock and discouragement at what some people are saying and doing right now (and whom they are defending), in the name of Christ.

    On a similar, and maybe heartening note, I read this article a few days ago: https://rewire.news/religion-dispatches/2019/05/03/after-synagogue-attack-some-evangelicals-finally-owning-their-part-in-white-christian-nationalism/

    May we always lead by example, in words and deeds (and novels).

    • Thanks, Melodye. Glad to hear your voice here. I’ll definitely look up that link! Agreed- we need to “show” not “tell” through our actions. That’s a very effective way of preaching!

  4. I know you are stepping out of your comfort zone to dialogue about these issues, and I commend you for that, Carol. Reminds me of the prayer of Jabez, who asked God to “enlarge my border.” Maybe if we all prayed that prayer there would be more dialogue. fewer tragedies. And maybe we authors can be more mindful of the dialogues that need to happen as we craft our stories.

  5. Colossians 3:11 needs to be memorized and shared often! As a white adoptive mom of 2 black young adults, and knowing other multi-racial Christian families as I raised my children, I had high hopes for the future. It distresses me to witness the level of animosity against other races. Things do seem to be going backwards. We writers have to step up to the challenge!