By Mesu Andrews
When I was choosing dates to write for the ACFW blog, I noticed that today, May 21st, is Ascension Day. Now, I’m a theological mutt. Mom’s charismatic. Dad was Quaker. My grandparents were Pilgrim Holiness ordained ministers—both grandpa AND grandma even way back when. Since my spiritual heritage is Evangelical, I don’t know much about Ascension Day.
So why did I choose to write this blog? Because I wanted to step out of my “normal” and learn what Ascension Day means to others.
When I stood on the Mt. of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, I realized Jesus was standing somewhere close to that spot when He was taken up to heaven fifty days after His resurrection! Had I not researched Ascension Day for this blog, I wouldn’t even have considered thought of that—and I would have missed a precious “God moment.”
Get Comfortable With Uncomfortable
If we only write about comfortable topics, how will we ever reach beyond our current, comfortable readership? Granted, we don’t want to alienate our faithful readers by writing so out-of-our-norm that they feel betrayed. But stretching beyond comfortable topics keeps our writing skills sharp and challenges our readers to think instead of react.
Several of my author friends delved into biblical fiction for the first time with the Guideposts series, Ordinary Women of the Bible. Award-winning contemporary and historical authors took a chance on uncomfortable to broaden their audience, and their stories are amazing!
Cultivate a Heart for Others
But you don’t have to write a different genre to find new readers. While on our recent tour to Israel, I prayed at the Wailing Wall and felt a deep burden for my Jewish brothers and sisters. I so want them to see Jesus in their Tanakh—what we call the Old Testament. The relationships that began on the trip will—I hope—bear fruit in three areas:
- I’ll learn more about Jewish history.
- My writing will become even more authentic/accurate.
- (most importantly) My new Jewish friends will learn more about their Messiah.
I’m hoping my Old Testament novels can reach into Jewish communities, but it’s uncomfortable to open myself up to criticism from those whose faith is different than mine. But the harvest of souls could be well worth it!
Fight Violence With Faith
Because there are only certain times and days tour groups are allowed into the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, we felt blessed to see it. However, the tension once we were inside was palpable. Unwelcome stares greeted us, and our Jewish guide was also noticeably uncomfortable.
Though I never felt unsafe (plenty of armed guards around to keep the peace), I was deeply saddened. I witnessed with my own eyes the undeniable truth of God’s Word (Gen 16; 21:1-21). Abraham’s sons—Isaac, the son of promise (Jews); and Ishmael, the son of a slave (Muslims)—can’t live at peace unless their hearts become open to the message of faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 4)!
How do we reach across lines of racism, religious discrimination, gender bias—and myriad other passionate prejudices? By stepping out of our safe zones to research and write God’s Truth about hard topics.
I pray every American Christian Fiction Writers becomes REMARK-able, worthy of remark. Hopefully good remarks; maybe controversial; always with the goal of starting a conversation. Maybe we can even talk about Ascension Day!Stretching beyond comfortable topics keeps our writing skills sharp and challenges our readers to think instead of react. @MesuAndrews #ACFWBlogs #writetips #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Mesu Andrews is the Christy Award-winning, best-selling author of Isaiah’s Daughter, and has received numerous accolades for her newest release, Isaiah’s Legacy. Through her deep understanding of and love for God’s Word, the biblical world comes alive for readers. Mesu lives with her family in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.