I have been wanting (or maybe I mean “wanting”–with quotation marks around it) to write about God’s relationship (or not) to evil and suffering in the world for at least six months. I thought I was going to start today–that’s what I was setting up last week. But I still can’t get my thoughts and my words together and so I just don’t think it’s the right time.
Especially not after yesterday. Yesterday I called literary agents pimps.
Now, you might think I genuinely meant to call them that, and that now I’m backpedaling because I actually hope to work with a literary agent at some point, who wants to help me get my book(s?) published at some point, and that I belatedly realised it might not have behooven (Beethoven? I dunno) me to bandy such incendiary words about.
And . . . you would be right.
But also this:
I’m doing all this reading for my Spiritual Formation class about (or written by) people whose relationships with Jesus were so much closer than mine, that their understanding and their living make mine look like I’ve never even heard of Him before. It’s not really making me feel guilty–it’s just making me question my assumptions, and want to get close to Jesus like that.
I was sitting here reading one of those books last night and thinking about yesterday’s post and about how often it happens that when I’m thinking of something to say, I’m quite proud of myself (“Raw!” “Edgy!” “Tells it like it is!”–yeah, I know–I’m prone to exaggerate), and then after it’s out there for everybody to hear I realise it was just a lot of self-absorbed noise, or, as some other guy with the same name as my husband once said, “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” I call this condition “clanging cymbalitis”–this talking or acting without love. I get it kind of a lot, unfortunately.
I had just finished thinking this (or so I imagined), when I turned the page and was confronted with this:
He who holds his tongue in check controls both mind and body (Jas. 3:2 ff). Thus it must be a decisive rule of every Christian fellowship that each individual is prohibited from saying much that occurs to him. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
I’m not going to debate the truth or falsehood of my pimp comment. That’s less the problem than the fact that it was said out of self-satisfaction/pride and not out of love. I wasn’t doing what Jesus did and taking account of individual people. I was getting kind of a rush out of writing Something Sort Of Almost Controversial On The Internet, and not thinking about literary agents as people. This is the kind of thing I do all too often (in real life, too, and not always on the internet) and frankly, I think our entire society does this kind of thing all the time. It’s easy and maybe it’s even understandable and sometimes it might be right, but it isn’t right.
I mean, okay. Jesus used harsh words, too. “Brood of vipers” comes to mind, which maybe doesn’t have quite the punch now that it had then, but I suspect was pretty insulting back in the day. The thing is, I don’t think Jesus was name calling to make Himself look better. He was trying by any means necessary to get a bunch of religious people to recognise how far from His Father they had stomped. Also? If Jesus was the only perfect human being, which I believe He was, then He’s really the only one who has the right to judge anybody. I, much as I might like to think I do, certainly don’t.
Do I think the publishing world needs a revamp? Yes. Do I think sometimes messed up stuff needs to get called out? Yes. I’m just not sure I’m the person that needs to do that, and if I am, I probably need to get my own head sorted out a little better first.
All of this basically confirmed my idea of the temporary Blog Pause. I’m trying so hard to produce content that sometimes I’m saying things that don’t need to be said or in ways that I don’t need to say them. (I also posted a sermon in somebody’s comments yesterday. You know who you are. Sorry about that.) I think I need to stop and breathe. And listen. And pray. And find out what God wants me to be writing about. I suspect they’ll still be Jenn Stories. I just hope they’ll be a little better ones.
Unless things go entirely not-to-plan (which, I guess, is always a possibility) I’ll be back. My own idea is that I’ll go silent for two weeks, at which point I’ll decide whether or not I need to go silent for longer, or if I can just post stuff I’ve already written (reblog from the old blog, or post papers from years gone by or something) for a couple of months. I don’t imagine there’ll be any truly new content here until sometime mid-summer, but you never know. All that to say, Watch This Space, I guess.
Oh, and literary agents? I totally get if you don’t want to represent my book, but I’m sorry for being rude, and I hope you’ll forgive me anyway.