Friday, February 22, 2008

Caring for the helpless

I just heard a television report about the 'baby farming' that used to happen in the past. People used to make a living by taking in the children of single mothers, or other children whose parents either could not care for them or did not want them. The site of one of these baby farms is being excavated, and all these infant skeletons have been found buried in the grounds. I can't think of anything much more hideous and cruel than these helpless abandoned children dying because they were not properly fed or cared for! I can see why the Bible records that "Jesus wept." God must be appalled at the sheer cruelty that He sees going on in the world He made - and despite all the things He said to people about how to treat others! It is not a wonder that at one time He decided to destroy all life on the planet except for the family of Noah and the sample of animals He directed to be taken into the Ark! Human history is awash with the most evil cruelty. But I won't go the way of blaming God. I prefer to think that humanity needs to take responsibility and seek to do the right thing done. And if it's hard, so much the more reason to cry out to God for help with it. I wrote the novel, "Outcasts of Skagaray" because it was so appalling to think of helpless abandoned children crying out for help and none coming. We have to be there for each other, we humans, and not by staging loud ostentatious demonstrations or 'revolutionay acts of violence', but just by caring!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Father's reflections

I haven't posted for over twelve days, because I had to go away from home for a time and when I got back the computer had malfunctioned. I called the computer some names I won't repeat here, and now I'm using a borrowed one. I still can't access my e-mail. I'll get to that as soon as possible. For now, I'm interested to see more comments and reviews on Christian fiction. I must confess to a certain jealousy here. If only mine could get the attention some others are! But God must have his reasons for "Outcasts of Skagaray" not being a widely known item at the moment. Perhaps it will have its time later. I know it was written for a reason. As any author knows, including Christian authors, writing is a hard way to go. You have to battle away to get the book written, then find a publisher, or self-publish if you can't find one but believe in what you have written. Then you have to try and draw attention to the bookm - do your own marketing unless you have a slick publicity machine to help you. It can get frustrating and depressing, but I tell myself the best and most important things in life are never easy. If this is part of my mission in life, my way of glorifying God and contributing to the world, the evil one is going to put any obstacle possible in the way. I won't give the "evil one" capital letters as a way of showing that I will not show it the respect that I show to my Saviour Jesus. And to all those Christian authors out there struggling on, I wish you well and know that if God called you to do what you are doing, He will bless it. That is what I need to remember about myself also. In fact perhaps writing that, and keeping it in mind myself, is one of the benefits of writing a blog. I can think of one other group I belong to, as well: fathers of temperamental daughters! I longed to have a daughter as well as sons, and we have one. I would not send her back, either, but it takes it out of me seeing the travails she goes through trying to find her path in life and seek her own pilgrimage in the Lord. I pray sometimes for the children of other Christians, and it's a huge comfort to know that we have the Holy Spirit to call out to to guide us and our children. But there are some tough times and situations to work through, all the same. Still, the experience of these things and the way they develop us comes out in our writing.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Christian fiction - a new take on the parable?

Reading about Christian fiction, browsing blog sites, I'm come across a range of views. Some people who like to read for entertainment enjoy reading fiction that is written from a Christian perspective, and fair enough too. If the Christian teachings are real to you, then you want them reflected in everything, including your chosen recreation. Apart from that , though, if fiction can have a didactic purpose, which many people agree that it can, then that too applies to Christian fiction. The parables that Jesus told were stories intended to make point; and a Christian story can do that. It looks at what could happen, or the sort of thing that has happened, and looks at the Christian observations to be drawn from it. If people think fiction is a waste of time, could I suggest that you rethink that; because fiction may be about something that easily could happen even if it has not - as far as we know. And there may be lessons to be learnt. When I write, I have to feel strongly about what is happening to the characters I create, and since I'm Christian myself it is impossible to make up a story that does not recognize the fact. It would be like trying to make up a story in which humans did not speak. The whole concept of telling the story, about humans, would be so limited that it would hardly be worth while. Christian fiction has a place. The fables of Aesop became classics of literature because of the didactic genius they show. Any story which is didactic without being cheesy can show the reader something. A comment I once heard, which sounds good to me, is that fiction can enable the reader to experience something in their imagination which they could not in life; and to learn from it the way the might if they lived it. It is a shame that 'fiction' as a word has been a bit discredited because it can be a demeaning word for a lie or silly belief. Fiction is actually one of the things that mark out humans from other less cerebral life forms. We make up stories, poems, songs, and they show something about us. So far as I know, there is no other life form which does this.

Sorry to hear about your travails.

If any browsers in the U.S. read this, I'd just like to say I'm sorry to hear about the wild weather and the damage it's done in parts of your country. I've been blessed in the way I've never been caught in a really deadly natural disaster - not that I'd want to tempt Providence by speaking too soon. I can remember when we had severe bushfires near my childhood home in northern N.S.W. and I was helping fight them; and several times I've been in an area that flooded. But I've never been injured or had my home trashed by it. It was a tale of wonder that the 11 month old baby survived, but sad that the mother did not make it. This is not an original thought, but one worth repeating. God can preserve us through the deadliest danger if He chooses to do so. I just hope that the people caught in it feel the hand of God uplifting them. I'll be glad if it never happens to our family, any of my friends, but you never know what can happen. What amazes me is the way some individuals can talk about their plans for this, their intentions to do the other thing, and there is no guarantee that we'll even be here tomorrow. For whatever it's worth, I was sorry to see some of the misery and mess that we saw in our news bulletins in Australia.