Editing down theology

Editing down words and editing down theology are two totally different things. Both can stink. In fact, both can be excruciating.

I really believe that generally people need more theology. More solid, Jesus-focused, Word-driven theology to strengthen against so much that drains us in this world.

At the same time, too many words can get in the way. And, too many thoughts can, too.

I wish they didn’t. I bet you wish they didn’t either. Sigh.

When I write children’s books, I generally think of a good idea and sit on it. If inspiration strikes, I scribble down frantically and rework slowly from there. And that inspiration often revolves around few words in a nice, simple expression of theology.

However, when that inspiration passes—say, after you’ve already lost your first “proud draft” (as opposed to dumb drafts which are discarded in their entirety when fresh inspiration hits) and then your three year old manages to delete your next draft so its impossible to recover . . .

Friends, I’m bogged down. There’s too much theology. It’s too dense for little ones. They’d choke. Their parents would choke. Only my most ambitious pastor friends would be pleased, hooting and hollering in joy that some parents want to teach the Trinity to their children.


However, let’s learn a lesson from this. If inspiration were as perfect and perfecting as we like to think, God wouldn’t have let this happen. All our inspirations would come out as perfect fruit. But they don’t. And, it’s ok.

I’ll rework it to the best of my ability. I’ll hope for another creative burst, but not let myself pop without one. (Also I’ll really hope I don’t have a creative burst if I can get this published, because that also really, really stinks! Knowing you could have said something better or more clearly!)

Editing down theology is not necessarily cutting out theology. It, too, can be a service to your neighbor, recognizing your audience, and striving to help them recognize their own need and hunger for God’s Word, which, by the way, will never be entirely included in your book. There. I said it. It’s true.

Anyway, write on, my friends. We’re in this together.

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Filed under As Christian Writers, As Theological Writers, Audiences, Inspiration, Writer Troubles

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