I’ve been having ideas for novels lately, so I’ll share one with you today. So often parents raise children so that the children assume and expect that they will escape negative statistics, mediocrity, or normalcy. I suggest a novel that explores a young woman’s struggle, realizing she is fitting into one statistic after another. To add a soul-searching element that could also help people with practical issues, the author could directly address a single mother bringing her out-of-wedlock child to a disappointed congregation.
I’ll admit: I would go ahead and make this woman fairly scandalous. Maybe she got pregnant at a Lutheran summer camp or national youth gathering. (Is it too soon to admit I’m a cynical person, especially about things geared toward teens?) She can be a semi-regular church goer who just lost her way in a rather public manner, but continues to attend church services.
Exploring that honest-to-goodness Christians sin and struggle with the ramifications could be a great way to help all of us Christians who know all too well that we are sinners. It’s real, emotionally poignant, and ripe for Gospel and that difficult task of administering not only the sacraments but the Gospel! (Have you noticed the Book of Concord talks that way: administering the Gospel. How insightful!)
Now, my husband has directly asked me not to write anything linked to scandal. 🙂 So, really, I won’t write it. But feel free to use a pseudonym to do so, if you’d like!
Sometimes it is good to dig in deep, even—or especially—where the dirt of sin is concerned. Have her struggle with a bad choice after a good education. She can dread her “mediocre” job and wages, but still speak and comfort herself with hints of vocation. Have her struggle with disciplining her child and then have her teach her sinful little child the Gospel in the clearest of terms. She can wrestle with the level of her education, her reputation around town, her prayer life, and more.
Um. I do have one request. I would want her to have a very happy ending. To me, Statistically Speaking would end by breaking the statistic that her child will walk away from Christ and His church. Having her get married—maybe it’s just me—might be a bit deus ex machine, implying salvation by husband and ultimately disappointing the many, many women who would love to have such a simple answer for all their many hardships.
Single parents in the church is a real thing. Babies out of wedlock are in the church all over the world. Statistically speaking, congregation members may still be unaware. Parents may be unaware. Yet, looking at statistics we can consider the neighbors around us, and among us, and reach out in love to those in need.
And, helping the naïve majority realize that, while demonstrating ways to
Single parents and their children are already truly incorporated into the Body of Christ. Still, helping the (at times naïve) majority realize that is good. And, maybe a novel like this could also demonstrates ways to help and serve those in our midst or who may visit our congregations, which, again, is good!