As an ardent citizen of the United States of America I enjoy politics and debate, but the current climate is so very noxious that no true discourse seems possible. We’re all at our keyboards in our little offices, caves, couches, and rumpus rooms tweeting, FaceBooking, and commenting, and it’s all filled with…Hate. The four-letter word that poisons our happiness, destroys relationships, and ultimately builds a thick wall between us and anything good, not to mention between us and God.
If you’ve read my About page you know that I am a Bible-reading, hymn-singing, Jesus-loving, evangelical Christian, and either you’re cool with that or you’re about to run screaming for the hills. Don’t run. I don’t bite. Really. I’m not going to shout scripture at your or hit you with my Bible. I believe firmly in being in the world, but not of it. The world can do its thing. I believe the Church (being the true people of God) should stand apart, a contrast, a place of refuge from the world, not forcing it’s way into culture and setting up shop.
I don’t care whether the dominant culture of the place where I live reflects my faith or not. People worry about the de-Christianification of the country. They worry that our Judeo-Christian foundations are crumbling, our Christian-ish roof is aflame. I say let it burn. That’s right. Let it burn. It’s fake; an artifice; a facade. I’m calling BS on all of it. If you find this shocking then I suggest reading this: Spurgeon on Christians who Rail Against the Times. Worth the read, and does a better job of explaining this view than I probably just did.
There’s ‘Christian culture’, and then there’s the actual ‘Christian faith’. They are not the same. There are thousands and possibly even millions of incomplete Christians in this world. These are folks who buy into the culture, but reject the actual faith. That’s why I welcome the end of the culture. It’s the cheerful little light on the path at night leading off to our destruction and away from the true light, who gives light to everyone.
You may be wondering, why on earth is she on a tear about Christianity and culture? Well, my next book, BITTERSWEET, is firmly Christian fiction, and I wanted to share a bit more about my worldview so nobody freaks out when they read it. Everyone (seriously, everyone) has on a set of glasses through which they see the world. My faith shapes every aspect of my life and how I view the world. Contrary to what you might assume, I’m not a traditional conservative. I’m what I like to think of as ‘Teddy Roosevelt Progressive’ – I’m for a small, efficient government that does it’s job in ensuring national security, keeps corporations from pillaging, provides a social safety net, and stays out of any other social issues whenever possible. I’m a firm believer in the separation of church and state. Again – in the world, but not of it. I’m not sure Christians have a place in politics at all. A voice, yes, but should we hold public office? I’m really not sure.
One of my concerns about publishing in the Christian market is that I don’t tick a lot of the boxes on the ‘Traditional Christian Wife and Mother’ checklist. For starters, all of the above. A member of our church once said to my husband, Steve, “Christa’s really… political.” I think he meant ‘opinionated’. I’m cool with that. For another, I work full-time and I’m the primary breadwinner. I don’t do all the school stuff – Steve does (and he’s so much better at it). He arranges the playdates, he handles the sports stuff, he drives them to scouts, YMCA outings, sledding and the rest. And that’s by design, not by accident. A few years ago he took his ambitions and shelved them, choosing a rather humble, part-time job that allowed him to be Super Dad so that I could fully pursue an opportunity that sort of landed in my lap. Even now that I’m working on a second career as an author, he’s making sacrifices yet again so I can give it a real shot. This is definitely counter to the traditional model, and we’ve both had to deal with how that has made it harder to participate in a Christian community that is often geared towards traditional households.
At times those within the Christian Church can be fearful of strong women. This annoys me because the experiences I have had in my life – the ones that have given me a softer heart, made me a better mom, a better wife – have also made me strong. I can’t undo any of it. My husband and I have said all along that if we felt God leading us to make changes to our household, we’d do it. That leading has never come. In fact, we’ve felt the Refiner’s fire over the years but never a nudge in a different direction. At times I’d love to quit my day job because for various factors – it’s more difficult than it was a few years ago – but I still feel that thrill sitting down (or sometimes standing – I’ve got a convertible desk. They rock.) at my desk and facing a day of what looks like impossible challenges and thinking, ‘bring it’. When that thrill is gone, it’ll be time to go.
What I try to avoid in my writing and in my life is the trap of thinking that my faith makes me a better person than anyone else. I am a sinner, and it is by grace that I am justified. Sanctification is a work in progress, and my sin is no better or worse than the sin of any human on this planet. All have sinned, all have fallen short, and God does not measure our sins. White liars are no different from liars. Sin is sin. I’d love to digress here into a few hot topics, but I’ll leave that for another post.
It is truly important for those of us who are possessed of an opinion and the platform to express it that we do so carefully and as honestly as possible. I strive to do that with absolutely everything I write.
So, there you go. Not my statement of faith, but my statement of worldview. I’d welcome any comments or opinions you have. I love hearing from you.