Where’s Your Foundation?

As a Christian publishing professional, editor, writer, and now faculty member teaching Professional Writing, I have been considering my responsibility to my students about their responsibility as Christian writers.

The first concern, as noted in this post, is that my students stand firmly on the foundation of their faith. From the first day of the 101 class to the last day of capstone, I want to help them understand that they must stand on solid foundational truths that will undergird their writing (and, by extension, their lives).

Most of my students have a foundation of faith that drew them to Taylor University. Most are Christians but with a wide variety of perspectives on doctrines, social issues, and politics. There is room for all of those perspectives in my classroom, but I always want to draw them back to where we all agree: belief in Jesus Christ as Son of God and Savior. Scripture is pretty basic: “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NLT). We have our theologies and our beliefs and our opinions, but it really comes down to that.

So where do they land? Where is their faith, personally? Much of this exploration occurs outside of my classroom in other classes, at chapel, in their small groups in the dorms, and just in living lives as college students. I want them to wrestle with these questions so that as they take the classes across the Professional Writing curriculum, they stand on a foundation as they think critically about how their faith matters in their lives and how it affects their writing.

It matters because their faith matters first and foremost. They don’t know if their words will ever get published into the world, but they do have a responsibility to write where they are called to write. They must not make their reason for being or their standard of success tied to getting published—that should never be the “be all and end all” for any writer. Far more important is their obedience to God wherever He places them and whatever words He gives them. Their relationship with God trumps anything else in life—it trumps every success and every failure, for it is ultimately what matters most.

I encourage them to pay attention in the Biblical Literature classes, to explore Scripture in small group studies, to read the Bible all the way through, to listen to God in a quiet time (in whatever way that looks to them). I want them to understand how God’s Word is “alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT) and how Scripture needs to be a daily “lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105 KJV). I want them to love the Bible.

So then, what it means to be a Christian is to have foundational belief and, I would add, to seek in individual, faulty ways to live and act on those foundations through a daily personal walk with Jesus. It means staying in Scripture and prayer so as to always walk closely with the Father. This doesn’t mean that all Christians will believe the same, act the same, apply those foundations the same, or carry that faith into the world in the same way. We are each working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). But still, the biblical faith foundation is vital.

Christian writers must be marinated in Scripture, in prayer, and in a daily walk with Jesus.

That’s the foundation we must have.

Christian writer friends, how do you keep your faith fresh and alive?

Image courtesy of Thumbtack via Google images.

9 thoughts on “Where’s Your Foundation?

  1. Great points, Linda! Spending time with God is absolutely essential. He gives us our marching orders. It’s hard though to avoid running ahead of him (as I sometimes do).

  2. Linda,

    What a great article. You asked about how I keep my faith fresh and alive. I begin each day in prayer and reading through the Bible. Each year I select a different translation. This year I have been reading The Daily Message by Eugene Peterson. This consistent time in the Scriptures is an important part of my faith life.

    Straight Talk From the Editor

    1. That doesn’t surprise me about you, Terry! I like the idea of a new translation every year. You have been around this industry so long, I’m sure that this daily discipline helps keep you on an even keel! We have to remember whose we are! Thanks, my friend. Gonna hop over and order your Straight Talk!

  3. Scripture reading and prayer in the very early hours of the morning (5 am) when my world is quiet—except for the occasional howling of a coyote. I began doing this 19 years ago and it gradually changed my life.

  4. Linda, for some reason my mobile phone won’t allow me to like this, but I certainly do! I am so grateful for educators like you who bring their students back to the basics. Sadly, a number of my college friends have walked away from their faith foundation despite graduating from a highly esteemed Christian college. Thank you for all you are doing to train the next generation of writers.

    1. Thanks Maggie. If they’re going to survive and thrive in life and in their callings as writers, they need to have a foundation and trust it. Miss you! Would love to sit and chat with you about all of this!

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