Writing Idolatry

I find Bible study to be very provocative in a possible sense. It gets my juices flowing, seeing new connections to God’s mercy and fulfillments of prophecies. And, it just so happens that when your brain starts to work, sometimes it continues! Yay! I often find myself scribbling down notes and ideas in between Bible study and church as I ponder from that productive state of mind. What Bible study brought up today, however–in my mind at least, is whether I succumb to writing idolatry.

I do not mean writing new heresies! Rather, do I seek my good, my identity, and my meaning from writing? From what I can do or how I imagine myself to be, or do I rightly find it in God?

You can guess that the answer can also be yes and no. My own thoughts followed many rabbit holes down various possibilities. Including this, yes, I seek good from writing, I identify (at least sometimes) as a writer, and I find meaning most intensely at times in writing. On the other hand, writing is a way I seek to share God’s goods and goodness. It is a way to serve as well as a way to expand meaning and identity to better portray the blessings of God’s mercies in Christ and creation.

Writing has its temptations like everything else. In Bible Study someone even mentioned how Facebook can be idolatrous with the extent that social media has spread its influence.

“Is writing idolatry?” is a good question to ask. Christians should embrace that writings is a means rather than an end. Writing is not ultimately for fame and fortune (although I’ve kind of got to laugh at those who think it is). Instead, by the power, teaching, and incarnation of the Word, even our words are changed.

That doesn’t mean that every word is pious or explicitly religious. Still, may the Lord grant that they connect us to our neighbors, service, knowledge, and wisdom. May they turn us to our Lord and the Word He gives us. May it actually be the opposite of escapism, in that it can draw us further into this world and love toward God and one another.



Filed under As Christian Writers, Writer's Life

2 Responses to Writing Idolatry

  1. Interesting thoughts to consider!

    I think that for me, my identity is connected to “writer” so far as it is a vocation…I have a ton of other vocations (wife, mom, daughter, friend, committee member, coordinator–connected to my “real job”–and saying that writing isn’t my real job twists my spine, but until it brings in enough money not to need a “real job”…if it ever does…well, it is a real vocation, but not a job…maybe? haha), but writing is kind of like a heart-vocation. So is “wife” and “mom”, but writing is what pulls at me and demands I stretch myself beyond comfort…and it spills into other vocations, too. Forcing myself to speak at things like LWML rallys or retreats, as a writer, pushes me to be more bold than I naturally would, and that boldness carries into, say, evangelism committee or being a neighbor.

    So (and sorry for the ramble-y, thought-process-y reply), I agree that writing can be dangerous if SELF takes over motivation, but keeping it as a vocation in my mind helps more than I probably know with keeping “self” out of it. For the most part, because we’re all sinful. 😉

    Thank you for these thoughts, Mary!

  2. This is a good reality check. I am struggling with the latest transition in my life and how it involves less of the writing I want to do. I definitely find identity in myself as a writer and I’m pretty sure it is a double-edged sword. I appreciate the reflection here and the feeling that I’m not alone! Thanks for sharing, Mary. <3

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