Thursday, December 2, 2010

Criticism & Christianity

For my creative writing class, I was supposed to take an event in my life & write a poem about it, & then write about the same event in prose. I wrote about an amazing sunset I saw a few months ago, & the reminder it gave me of God's power. The assignment is at the bottom of the blog, if you want to read it. We went over it in class, & as I expected, there was some harsh criticism. Some of it had to do with the quality of the writing, which was helpful. I wrote the assignment at about 2 in the morning, & admittedly, it's not my finest work. However, I found that a good deal of the criticism had to do with the subject, not the paper itself. There were some opinions really stood out.

I tried to put aside all of the negative criticism that had to do with the subject, not the writing. Obviously, there are people who don't agree with my spiritual beliefs. But one person wrote, "If you take God out, I believe you could have a bigger audience. You have beautiful wording, but the faith just cuts me short." How sad is it that we live in a world where the content of the piece is unimportant if it doesn't reach a large audience? The point of writing the piece was to tell about my spiritual experience, not to reach a wide audience. Another person wrote, "I felt a little preached to." It's also sad that people can't hear anything about God or spirituality without feeling like they're in church. We talk about the things that are important in our lives - friends, family, boyfriends/girlfriends, work, sports, whatever. God should be included in that. Faith should not be a forbidden topic that we only talk about with our Christian friends. It should be brought up in normal, everyday conversation. It shouldn't be a sermon.

There were also some people that pleasantly surprised me. I got a few papers with very positive feedback. One guy told me to ignore the class & teacher's harsh words, & that he liked the reminder of God's glory as well. Another girl told me to "ignore their harsh criticism... I don't think non Christians can really understand this." It was nice to know that I wasn't the only believer in the class. It's easy to feel alone in my beliefs when I'm at school. However, though they wrote their remarks on my critique sheets, they didn't say anything in the class discussion while my other classmates & teachers were picking the assignment apart. This seems typical of so many Christians. When we're presented with a difficult situation, we will quietly support our cause & stand up for our beliefs. But so few of us will actually cause a scene & be bold about our opinions. Why is that? Our opposition never fails to get their opinions out, yet we sit back & let them have all the attention. I'm not saying we should be annoying or force our opinions on people, but we should speak our minds & stand up for our faith. I'm as guilty of this as anyone else, & I definitely need to work on being more vocal about my faith.

Anyways, here is the assignment, if you care to read it. (:

A Sunset to Remember

On an evening drive into the city,
I saw a sunset, oh so pretty.

Reds so strong, yellows so bright,
Such vivid colors that captured my sight.

I couldn't help but be amazed
At God's creation - this fiery blaze.

After I witnessed that sunset,
I wondered how I could ever forget

The mighty power of His thunder,
The feeling of awe, the sense of wonder

I felt when I first heard the stories
Of God's mercy, grace, & glory.

& now, I will always remember
God's love & that sunset in September.

Back in September, my friend Blake & I were on a drive to Oklahoma City to see a concert. A friend of ours was in the band that was playing, and we were both really excited to see the show. We were also a bit anxious because we were running late. We were driving & talking about all of the things going on in our lives - medical issues, money problems, ended relationships, struggles with friends. We had both had a rough start to the semester, and were feeling a little overwhelmed. Then we looked over to the right and saw the most glorious sunset.
The colors were the brightest I had ever seen in a sunset. The entire sky was lit up in oranges, yellows, reds, pinks, and purples. "Wow" was the only word we could manage to say. The two of us were completely entraced by the beauty of the sunset. It was unlike any we had seen before, and we were totally amazed.
"God's good, isn't He?" Blake said. I nodded my head, still too awestruck to say much. I couldn't help but think that I was so selfish and arrogant to be worried about the little things going wrong in my life. I was created by the same God who made this amazing sunset. The sunset alone is evidence enough that He is powerful and brilliant. There were so many things in my everyday life that pointed to His grandeur and glory, and yet it took this sunset to catch my attention. How had I forgotten His love and power? Now I only need to think of that sunset to remember.

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