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Friday, January 05, 2007

What color are your cataracts?

As we all know, I'm trying to make the transition from writing traditional romance to Christian romance. Silly me, I thought I merely needed to add a stronger inspirational element. That would be a big fat no.

I decided to join a critique group of inspirational writers, as none of my other critique partners read inspirational. Here's the interesting thing about my current editing nightmare...

My non inspirational readers think my heroine is more than reasonable in not consulting her husband regarding a major decision, and that he is unreasonable for being angry with her for not consulting him. My inspirational readers-exactly the opposite.

It amazes me to see how much faith colors the way we look at a character or story. It isn't just writing a book about connecting with our faith in a different way, or a character's journey in discovering that faith. I've always operated under the assumption that people are people, regardless of their faith, and that underneath it all, we're still the same. I still believe that to be true.

However, there is a big difference in how we view or perceive others based on that faith. The old adage about rose-colored glasses applies here. Sort of. Except unlike glasses, we can't just take off those views. We have cataracts over our eyes, coloring the way we view the world, based on our faith, what society tells us, and other things, like life experience.

The same actions-viewed by one person as perfectly legitimate, viewed by another as wrong. All because our vision is colored by our faith or lack thereof.

I got an email from someone today that really irritated me. On the surface, it wasn't a bad email. The person didn't say anything mean or do anything bad. But it was gruff, abrupt, and didn't need to be sent. Had it been me in her shoes, I wouldn't have done anything. But see, I usually think from the position of, "is it worth it?" I consider the other person's feelings, and spend time to think about ways I can word things in a kind way. Do I think this person is a nasty, mean human being? Absolutely not. In her mind, she was trying to accomplish a goal, without thinking, "how will I come across?"

Different colored cataracts.

I look at the conflicts in the world, and I realize that they're no different. Where one sees a particular value, another group sees it as subverting a value they hold very dear. As we, as Christians, try to convey our values to others, we're not just combatting all of the obvious messes, but we're also dealing with cataracts.

I absolutely see value in respecting my husband. But how many women out there have been raised in the societal view that respecting one's husband somehow denigrates our rights as women? On the other extreme, though, there are people who view women as having absolutely no value at all.

My aim in writing, and in life, is that I hope to be stripped of our cataracts, that Christ would perform surgery on our eyes, hearts, and minds so that we can see ourselves, and each other, as He does. I look at this book, and the others I'm writing, and I have to think about my audience. What color are the cataracts in their eyes? I can write an incredible book, with incredible characters, but unless I'm writing something that they can either understand through their cataracts, or that will pull the cataracts off of their eyes, it won't matter.


Michelle said...

That's really an interesting difference. I think it comes down to respect, really. If the husband and wife respect each other as equals, he should trust her judgment--but she should share things with him, as well.

Kat said...

I'm with you on the whole, differences between secular and Christian. It's certainly been a bridge to cross!

Danica/Dream said...

Michelle, I'd like to think it works that way, but it's amazing how many people don't.

Kat!! I've missed you! And yes, Definitely!!

Michelle said...

Hi! That email wasn't from me, I hope. :-)

Seriously, you're write. We see things differently based on our faith and how we were raised. I've been in a Christian school since Kindergarten and in church since the third grade. So, I see things different than even people who go to the same church I go to and share the same faith.

For the heroine POV, I usually think how I would feel, which may or may not reflect someone else's views. On the hero, I think how men I know would react - again, this may not be how society would react (usually it's not LOL).

Just my $.02. Write the story God gives you. Maybe the differences are meant to help someone else.

Michelle's Writing Space

Danica/Dream said...

No, it wasn't from you, but you seem awfully paranoid about it. Should I be upset over the email? ;)

Michelle said...

Um, paranoid, no not me. But I have had this feeling that someone's following me. It's these men in white coats. Are they coming after me?

Sorry, mind wandered. No, I'm NOT paranoid, and contrary to my family's occasional assessment, I'm not crazy either.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Michelle's Writing Space