My mentor wrote to me after my last blog post and commented that it sounded from my recent writings like I was discovering writing as a spiritual practice. I think that is an accurate assessment of how things are changing in me.
My initial philosophy of writing was, “writing is a vehicle by which you communicate to others what you think.”
When I started blogging I realized that was a fairly self-centered way of writing. Blogging taught me about the nature of writing and reading in the midst of a community, and how important it was not just to say what I thought, but to listen to the voices of others as I mixed my voice into the community. This second philosophy of writing was, “writing is a vehicle by which you participate in community.”
That second stage philosophy has turned out just to be an oasis to stop at in a much longer journey. I have come to the place where writing is a method by which I begin to wonder what God is doing in the deeper space between the words. It is becoming an exercise by which I am trying to contextualize motives and mysteries…the heart of the world, my own heart and in the deepest iteration of the work ,the very heart of God. “Writing is a spiritual practice in which you discover God.”
Our church has recently developed a manifesto. We have published it on place cards for every member of the church to have at home, and we have created giant pieces of art to hang on our walls so that people can read our purpose as they walk around the church. I call it “The writing on the wall.”
I have come to understand that “The writing on the wall” is God’s specific marching orders for us as a church. As I am part of the church these marching orders apply to me. It is necessary that I discover what my position in the church is so that I may understand what part I will have in carrying out these marching orders. Writing this novel now is contextualizing what my role will be in the future as a member of this church, as a soldier in God’s army and as a citizen of that heavenly domain to which we all hope to attain. It is so much bigger than the novel, and it is the novel all at the same time.
Sounds like a spiritual practice to me and man it is more than I bargained for.