thought I’d deviate from my normal column, which provides information
on how to self-publish. I haven’t been on my soapbox for a while, and
I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms from the lack of rarified air down in
the rut I’m stuck in. So I thought I’d throw out a four-letter word in
hopes to generate some buzz in the world of Christian fiction. Are you
ready for it? Here is comes!
Are you disappointed? Did you
expect the typical profane offering that once was verboten even in
As Christians, our focus should
be on what pleases God. I have a feeling that the ramifications of the
word snob bother the Lord a passel more than the
use of vulgar terminology dealing with body functions, etcetera.
Wikipedia says, “A snob is someone who adopts the worldview of
snobbery—that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any
one of a variety of reasons, including real or supposed intellect,
wealth, education, ancestry, taste, beauty, and et cetera. Often, the
form of snobbery reflects the snob’s personal attributes. For example,
a common snobbery of the affluent is the belief that wealth is either
the cause or result of superiority, or both, and a common snobbery of
the physically attractive is that beauty is paramount.”
The King James Version of the
Bible does not mention the word snob, but the word pride
is used fifty-one times, which gives us a clue that God is not happy
with those who have an inflated view of themselves and a deflated view
of others. Even the secular world understands the dangers of snobbery.
Confucius said, “A man all wrapped up in himself makes very small
package.” But what does snobbery have to do with Christian fiction and
self-publishing? I'm glad you asked!
We need to face facts. Life on
earth is extremely competitive. Evolutionists would explain this jungle
as the survival of the fittest. I employ 1 John 2:16 to describe what
it truly is: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but
is of the world” (NASB). We sometimes attempt to build our own
self-esteem, and subsequently power, in the name of excellence.
Authors, even Christian ones, are not immune to the gravitational-like
pull of success. Along with the beautiful sister of “accomplishment,”
often trails the ugly stepsister christened “snobbery.”
Self-published authors don’t
have to seek the fangs of publishing prejudice. The first question most
newly published writers get from other authors and some readers is “Who
is your publisher?” Many of the traditionally published authors look
down their noses at someone who published their own book. The snobbery
can even be carried out on multiple planes. An author who is published
by traditional publisher A might consider himself or herself superior
to an author picked up by traditional publisher B. In the secular
world, that is not surprising. In the world of Christian fiction, the
snob factor is thinly veneered with a coating of piety, and some may
deny it exists. I beg to differ, and I am exhorting all who truly serve
the Lord Jesus to examine themselves and ensure that their motivation
is pure and holy in all things, even attitudes about literature.
this article intended to be an indictment of all Christian authors?
Heaven forbid. There are a plethora of established authors who go out
of their way to help struggling writers to master the craft and gain a
toehold on the first rung of success. However, I’m sure that some of
them would never suggest that their protégés abandon the quest for the
holy grail and accept second-class citizenship by resorting to
self-publishing. I would recommend they do the math. Take the number of
titles published and divide by the number of authors trying to get
published. It is blatantly evident that not everyone who types “The
End” on a manuscript can get published by following the recipe of
write, query, study the craft, rewrite, and requery, with all the steps
as many times as necessary until success ensues. Some
people will labor in vain, despite the fact that their writing may
surpass traditionally published authors.
bottom line is that God
desires that we serve Him in unity. Our focus should be on doing His
will. I can in no way understand how the current literary caste system
fits into His plans. I’m convinced that true maturity brings the
attitude that a book can only be accurately judged in the light of
God’s value system. God may have spoken to many to reveal His desires
to the world through the written word. Whether that material is birthed
in a lowly stable in Bethlehem or the Taj Mahal
should make no difference to us.
If an attitude of snobbery
serves as a stumbling block for one whom God has commissioned to bring
a message to the world, the owners of that attitude will find a sticky
wicket come judgment day when every idle word and thought is played
back to them. I truly believe we are in the last days, and that God is
pouring out His Spirit upon His children. We need to respond and not
indulge in ego-feeding frenzies and petty elitism. Thomas Aquinas wrote
some of the most respected material in Christendom, yet after he had a
spiritual experience in which Jesus spoke to him, he refused to dictate
any more to his scribe. His explanation was “I cannot, because all that
I have written seems like straw to me.” I think we all need to be
cognizant that our written or spoken words, even the most inspirational
in nature and eloquent in form, are empty in comparison to eternal
truths. If Thomas Aquinas could come to a point when his writing seemed
like straw, how much more fodder would a fluffy romance or mystery be?
What is my goal in writing this?
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. I exhort my brethren to jettison
the mental dividing of books into traditionally published and
self-published and to instead embrace the pigeonholing of novels into
categories of God- inspired and man-inspired. Just as a man should not
be judged according to whether he is white or black or red, books
should be allowed to stand on their own merit and not be the victims of
pride and prejudice to the point of perhaps hindering the propagation
of God’s Word.