Tag Archives: christian

Kickstarter reflection (or, part 4)

Did you miss me? I missed me. As I tell my students and writers conference attendees, there’s no real good reason for not writing. And while I don’t really consider this blog my “writing,” it is part of my writing process, something which helps keep my creative juices going.

Well, that…and reading. Reading a lot.

But it seems one thing or another has kept me from writing here. One of those things, I think, was wrapping up the Kickstarter segments. For pure transparency, I was a bit bummed we didn’t make it…and then afterwards, Joe had to move on to other projects, which effectively kills Citizens as is. That said, I DO have good news on other projects fronts, and I hope to be talking about two of them very soon!

But even though I finished the posts, I wanted to actually reflect a little on the campaign.

One of the telling things about running a Kickstarter campaign is that it becomes very clear where the “support” comes from. While you can get anonymous donors (I had a couple), most support and then get on board to help the campaigners get the word out. The supporters of Citizens did just that. There were some who I felt went above and beyond trying to help me and Joe make our goal—I saw multiple posts from them telling people to go check it out. Of course, I’m incredibly thankful for those people!

I think the biggest surprise to me from the entire thing was the overwhelming lack of support from the Christian community. Most of you here know that about me. I don’t blog a lot about my faith…I try to live it more than talk about it—though sometimes I do. Of course, you know too, that I fail a lot on “being” a Christian. I guess that’s just part of my path. But after my “religious conversion,” I tried to immerse myself in the “Christian creative community.” As a new believer, I wanted to be a part of it. I bought books, comics, movies, and music that I didn’t know existed. Most of it really bad, but I wanted to support it so that I could see it improve. Sad to learn it’s a one way street.

Will I do another kickstarter? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I will. In fact, I’m already thinking of them. One KEY factor is that the art is going to have to be mostly done so that the delivery date is closer. That, and I’m going to push harder for earlier pledges. So if you pledged to Citizens, I’ll be coming to you again asking you to support the next one. If the project looks interesting to you, I’ll ask that you pledge early–because it helps generate heat on the KS campaign.

Okay…now back to writing…and grading. Lots of grading.

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Faith is more than just believing

I’m going to wax poetic about faith, Christians and Christianity in this blog…so if those things bother you, just come back next time, maybe I’ll write something to interest you then.

One of the things I’ve come to believe about faith is that it is more than just believing; it is an acting on belief in something many think un-provable. You may wonder what’s happened to cause this thought process. I’m glad you asked.

Having spent most of my life claiming to be a “Christian” only later realizing that I was just talking out of the side of my mouth, it has really started to bother me seeing so many people making the same claim I did for so long. Sounds hypocritical? Well, I’m not condemning those people, I’m just saying I think we’ve got a problem…and it may be that the traditional “what we have here is a failure to communicate” is, in fact, so true.

Before going on, let me demonstrate. I’m a black man. Can’t you tell that by my picture above? “What?” you say? “You’re so white you’re Swedish!” Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m trying to say. People may say they’re a Christian with their mouth, but when you look at them, you can clearly see it is not true! Meaning, there is nothing in their life to demonstrate they are a follower of Christ, which is what the term “Christian” means.

Let me put it like this: I have always “believed” in God, but I haven’t always acted upon that belief. I believed that He existed, but I never really made an effort to learn about what that belief meant. It wasn’t too terribly long ago when I realized the cliché “even Satan believes in God” was an incredibly profound statement. If we accept simple belief in God as the key to being a Christian, then it would be hard to deny that Satan is also a Christian because he obviously “believes” in God, right? I mean, if they are both real—as I believe they are—then that truth means they “believe” in the existence of the other. And since I don’t think anyone reading this is willing to accept that Satan is a “Christian,” it has to be something more than just belief, right?

IF that is the case, then what is it? Well, as Christians, we’re always looking at, pointing to and asking what would Jesus do, and so on and so forth. So I think that’s where we have to look, right? (A lot of this line of thinking, I feel, was brought on by my reading of CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity—wow! Great read!)

So, the main thing Jesus told his disciples was…follow me. I mean there are a lot of things he also said and probably people a lot smarter than me could list them all off in quick succession. But this goes back to my original thought: “faith” is more than just believing. If we claim to have faith, then the world needs to see us act on that faith, else it’s just words.

Words are powerful—I’m the first one to believe that! But action speaks louder than words.

Just sayin’.

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Writing excuses

I wrote the other day that all stories have a point, etc. and that those points generally reflect—intentionally or unintentionally—the views/opinions of the author. One of the things that has constantly given me both frequent chuckles and frequent confusion is when “Christian writers” try not to be Christian.

I’m still learning my way around the Christian fiction market, having only become a believer in 2000 but before I go on, let me be very clear in that I don’t think that every person who claims to be Christian must write Christian material. I think it’s probably a logical step in the progress (I want to see the new Pilgrim’s Progress movie! Anyone seen it?) of a believer, but I don’t think it’s a necessity.

However, I do find it funny to hear Christian writers try to get out from any responsibility as a writer. “It’s not me writing the graphic sex scene or cussing, it’s the characters.” This is just laughable. As the writer/author, the responsibility for all material falls on us. We have it within our power to change the words we do not like.

Writers have a responsibility to their audience not just to give them good reading material, but to be the writer they claim to be. Thus, if a writer claims to be “Christian,” then that writer owes it to his audience to write material that reflects that.

“Oh!” we’ve heard them say, “but that’s the way they really talk on the street.” So. So what?

When Jesus spoke with tax collectors, prostitutes and drunks, he didn’t participate in their activities—he pointed out their errors and told them—quite bluntly—to STOP it!

One of the most recent waves of excuses for overstepping the bounds in “Christian writing” is when the writers claim they don’t write “Christian fiction,” but they are a Christian who writes fiction. I do understand the point they’re attempting to make, but the only person they’re really trying to convince of their “rightness” is themselves…well, and maybe their editor who’s sitting on the same fence.

Or those who want to disguise their message and call it “allegory” and then point to the masters Tolkien and Lewis. The first question I always want to ask them is why they are ashamed of their Christianity. I’m reminded of the song pre-schoolers learn about hiding their lights under bushels. J

One of the things I like about the Bible and its depiction of believers is that there is no middle-ground. You’re either in…or you’re out. Smarter Bible thumpers than me can quickly find the passage which suggests God spits out the luke-warm believer.

And I know that, I, for one, do not want to be Godly spit!

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