It is my habit to go to a triage on Sundays. I get together with a bunch of other humans who have failed at being perfect and give it another go at getting better, getting closer to the creator. Some people call it church, a term that many people assign a lot of negative stereotypes. I find that after I question critics about it, they usually have never read the Bible or they have been hurt by someone who wasn’t perfect–and went to church. The people I meet at church are pretty similar to the ones that I meet at my writer’s clubs, folks that are trying to get better. (Funny how the struggling writers don’t get called hypocrites. Hmmm. Getting off the soap box now…)
I was delighted to have wonderful speakers at two venues this Sunday. Award winning Katy Pye* opened our minds and exposed us to contest opportunities for writers and how they can lend authority to your writing. Her topics covered prioritization and a marketing plan as well as helpful tips and checklists. She was very open about the mistakes she made, she prefers to call them missed opportunities. Ms. Pye read a passage from her book “Elizabeth’s Landing”. The role of the grandfather drew me in right away. He could have been my mother. Elizabeth is a precocious teenager trying to find her way with mostly absent parents as she discovers some threatened sea turtles. I left the Redwood Writer’s Club meeting with an autographed copy of her book that I can’t wait to finish. Elizabeth’s Landing captured a 2013 1st Place in all Fiction for the Writer’s Digest Self Published e-Book Awards, the 2013 Silver Nautilus Book Award for YA Fiction and the Category Winner for 2014 Children’s/Juvenile Fiction from the Indie Book Awards.
Pastor Bill** (PB) spoke about Making Wise Choices and Living in Grace. If you listen to PB enough, one thing will become very clear. He will speak on your favorite sin and it will most likely feel like he has videotaping services on you. He doesn’t and we shine the lights on him on Sunday so he can’t see you squirm in the seats so stay with me here. PB talks about real things, not abstracts; things that we need to be at peace. It fits right into my concept of church as triage. I don’t really need to hear about something that is lofty and filled with so many churchy words that I can’t see how they work in my everyday life. PB started off with my favorite sin so he had my attention right away, I was careful not to fidget too much so people wouldn’t identify me with my favorite bad choice. He moved on to other topics like credit cards and gambling. Just a sentence or two but enough to let you know what God says about those “acceptable sins”. I am free to drink but not get drunk but if I drink in front of an alcoholic, that is a sin. It might cause them to sin. You are smart, you get the idea and can apply that to other things. I couldn’t help but look sideways at my good friend who has a big gambling problem. My friend was sitting stone still like a statue, looking straight ahead. Hmmm, I’ll have to remember that freezing is as bad as squirming too much. Heaven forbid that someone know I might need help! I’m not outing my friend and I know they won’t out me so the public humiliation will be limited to the times I put my foot into my mouth and try to function!
For now, I will be confessing my problem to my accountability partner, who I trust. I plan on investing some prayer time and good old effort and hard work in getting better at both writing and my “favorite” sin. Romans 6 deserves another read this week since I am far from being perfect. But, I sure like that grace method for flawed folks like me! Grace is getting what I don’t deserve and Mercy is not getting what I deserve. Wow, free gifts and free payments, thank you Jesus!
*Download sample chapters and read her blog at katypye.com.
**1108 Washington Street, Fairfield, CA or online at http://www.fbc-fairfield.org to download PB’s podcasts. PB’s lineup for August: 17th Loving Unconditionally, 24th Living in Personal Freedom, 31st Letting Others Be Themselves