Writing has been my passion since I was a kid. And I’ve always been one to combine all of my favorite things into what I write. I’ll never forget the day I used my favorite set of dinosaur stamps to illustrate a 3-part story where my cousins dressed up like dinosaurs to trick my family while we were out on a hike. Additionally, other early examples of combining my favorite things in my writing are the multiple volumes about my brother and me adventuring in the Star Wars universe. The Adventures of Joshua and Zachary Wingerd Skywalker in Star Wars Land. We’ve since changed our name to Starkiller, but that was done even before Rise of Skywalker, so there were no political maneuverings or statement-makings in that change. (In fact, I “released” the latest volume in the series before even The Last Jedi came out–June 2017).
I say all that to point out that nothing has changed, even though the vast majority of my writing over the past decade has been focused on less fictional projects. Religion, and specifically Christianity, have been the overwhelming focus of this blog. Sermons are exclusively non-fiction in their focus. And even before moving my blog to WordPress, the focus from February 2012 until October 2017 was almost exclusively Christian-promoting (here’s the first blog I ever published), and the original versions of every chapter of my Galatians commentary–excluding the larger appendix–was originally posted on my old blog.
However, just like the majority of my writing over the past decade has been theological in its focus, my reading has followed the same trajectory. I tend to write what I read. The more theology I read, the more theological the writing that results. That changed in 2018.
In 2018, I realized that my life–for all the theological reading I was doing–was lacking the joy that comes from enjoying a good story. I’d starved myself of fiction over the prior eight years, and I needed more of it in my life. It’s no surprise that since November 2018 I’ve written the first drafts of two whole novels.
However, with that said, I think it was important to get the eight-year theological foundation down. The fact is: I am a Christian through and through. You’ll never be able to separate Christianity from who I am. There’s a lot of talk about “Christian rappers” vs. “rappers who are Christians,” and the fact of the matter is I am a writer who is a Christian. However, that doesn’t mean I can write apart from Christ. He said it Himself, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
If this is an issue for you, I’d beg you to read one of my forthcoming novels before making your final decision–especially Switched, which will hopefully be self-published by early 2023.
But the issue with a lot of Christians today is that they haven’t fully internalized their thought. They haven’t truly made it their own. As such, they must preach it and tell it, rather than show it. If anything even might undermine their position, they have to fight it and declare it evil. This is why a lot of Christians (at least in circles I’ve run in in the past) want to ban Harry Potter, even though Harry Potter is full of Christian themes.
My novels contain characters who cuss. My novels contain characters who are not Christians, and who act as such. My novels contain Christian characters who struggle with the same things as everyone else. My novels do not brush over the ugly parts of life. My novels depict real life.
Because Christians are a part of real life, the characters who are living their real lives might cross paths with Christians, and the Christians they cross paths with will be real people too, with their own struggles, their own pain, and their own solutions to their struggles and pain.
All that to say that my Christian worldview is critical for my writing. And the incredible amount of time I’ve spent studying my worldview (including at least the next 18 months of schooling for my Master of Theological Studies degree) has been invaluable to this process.
You can’t separate my Christianity from my fiction writing. But I truly hope that they are blended together so seamlessly that you can’t tell where one stops and the other starts.
This is my goal. You’ll have to check out my forthcoming novels to tell me if I accomplished it. (I fully accept that Stranded and the two sequels in the Awakening series are obviously Christian, but they help explain who I am and how I’ve come to be who I am today; Stronger than Sin [also forthcoming] is also blatantly Christian, but hopefully, the characters are still surprising to the average reader.)
Next week, we’ll look at my favorite genres to both read and write.
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.