Secular thinkers tell me they find that many Christian writers come across as poor thinkers. When they read us, they stumble over the political or social baggage so many writers add to basic Christian truth. If we haven’t checked what we write for accuracy, they see the flaws in our thinking.
We may be convinced we’re applying the Christian faith to life. But they reject the extras we tack onto the Gospel — then miss the redemptive message.
When I critique manuscripts, I can usually identify the propaganda that comes from popular television pundits. The writers quote what they hear because they believe it. But when I check the facts, I often find yet another urban legend.
Skeptical secular readers who check the assertions come away shaking their heads. As one critic said, “When I read the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament and then read the writings of some evangelical Christians, I see a great disconnect.”
Nutritious Food for Thought?
When I read something with depth, I stop to muse over it. That author has gone deep or turned over an idea in a fresh way, and I gain insights for my own writing.
Sometimes when I read, I am amused but gain little that’s helpful. Other times what I read is silly, not worth musing about.
What About My Writing?
If I do that with others’ writing, how do others respond to what I write?
Do I prompt readers to examine something? Do I keep their attention only by entertaining them? Do I make a joke of myself with faulty logic?
I want to offer my readers takeaway value. I need to pore over my work to make sure it doesn’t cause readers to dismiss my thoughts.
A Christian writer whose thinking is sloppy will produce sloppy writing. The secular reader notices.
Roger Palms, a longtime Guild mentor, is the former editor of Decision magazine and the author of 15 books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.
For more than forty years, the Christian Writers Guild has trained people to sell their writing.
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