Sacrilegious and blasphemous!” called out a group of mystical teachings of jesus as they vehemently protested an art exhibit featuring the controversial image of Jesus Christ with a wooden penis.
Weeks before, the same group of Christians saw nothing wrong with the controversy about Catholic bishops who received funds from the state-run charity agency for the purchase of SUV and other vehicles – the controversy that deeply wounded the Catholic Church considered by the people as shepherds struggling to love them like Jesus the Good Shepherd.
From my part of the world, the Philippines – a predominantly Christian country in Asia, I have picked these two specimens of Christian mindset and orientation in a sweeping generalization that they somehow mirror my average Christian readers.
Without putting so much emphasis on the two divide, suffice it to say, that these readers can be very grave at the mundane and can be silly at what is grave. Furthermore, there is no definitive mark on what are to be considered grave and mundane for these Christian readers. Unfortunately, no manual has been written for better judgment.
I believe the kind of mindset and orientation the Christians readers have will totally influence the kind of Christian writers that history will produce. And only the genius will come from those that will let their art run amok and have its own life.
“God, I want to save the world by being a writer!” I superficially proclaimed that as my mission. However, I can hear my innards laughing out loud that I had to suppress the giggles from coming out for an unknown emotion that says, “Don’t you dare laugh lest a higher force detects you are not convinced with what you just proclaimed.”
Well, that’s because I am not convinced. I am not trying to break the bubble of positivity among authors who truly believe they have the noble cause to use their God-given talents to bring the Kingdom of God at hand. I cannot save the world by being a writer, even if the underlying theme of my works carries the Christic truth. This is the reality which Christian writers must consider. We cannot save the world and change the human race with our masterpieces. This is how we can relax as Christian authors writing to Christian, even non-Christian, audiences.
How do christian authors writing to Christian audiences relax? A cursory mention of this question was posed in the novelist and blogger, Mike Duran’s blog entry entitled, “Did Flannery O’Connor Write Christian Fiction?”
If saving the world and changing the human race become our goal as writers, even though we cannot help it, we will be posed with a lot of difficulties. We will forever be faced with the following reality:
• The dichotomy of Jesus’ Humanity and Divinity
For a majority of Christians, the image of Jesus is always depicted with a sense of solemnity. Its gravity extends to his passion and death on the Cross. I believe that this back-story image has a great influence in the writings of most Christian authors.
And when a Christian writer crosses over to the image of the joyful and triumphant Jesus in his resurrection, the scent of solemnity still hangs with such a great event that affirms the Divinity of Christ, putting his Humanity in the background.
For what is often closely coined in being human? Humanity is often an intermesh of violence, pain, materialism, sex, love, hope, victory…and yes, these include the funny and flawed things that make people laugh like crazy even when and because they are silly and mundane.
The Christian writer can never relax because of the prejudice that his Christian readers, majority of them, have the orientation that there’s a dichotomy between the humanity and divinity of Christ. Unfortunately, putting more emphasis on the theological perspective which upholds Jesus’ divinity. Is it possible then to consider the humanity and divinity of Jesus but a theological point of view where literature is concerned? If and when the literary piece is taken as an art, as an unfolding of reality-having a life of its own, questioning and titillating its Christian reader, will the audience ever be able to detach any theological tenet attached to it? Can the reader ever be able to let go of his prejudice? For it is only then that the Christian writer relaxes.