Photo credit: John Towner
I'm glad to see June in the rear view mirror. It's been filled with political turmoil, anger everywhere in the news and on social media, and more mass shootings.
There's no sign these things will stop when the calendar turns over to July 1st. But I'd like to share some thoughts on what we can do to stay above the fray, AND what our duty as Christians is to shine our light into the darkness around us.
First, "Christian" means "follower of Christ", so our example is Him - always. And when we find ourselves on social media and tempted to fall into the trap of arguing with others over how certain members of society are to be treated - and you know who I'm talking about - then WE are called to follow His example of how to treat them, whoever they are...
"As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
We are never to condemn. We are always to act with love and mercy and grace. We are ALWAYS to love our neighbor. And who is our neighbor?
We learned that in Sunday School with the story of the Good Samaritan. The fellow who took on the care of the foreigner, paid for his medical care after he was attacked by robbers, paid for his lodgings, and got him back on his feet.
This goes back to the day of Moses and the Torah - the Ten Commandments. We are to love our Neighbor as ourselves.
Everyone includes - well, everyone.
Regardless of race. Regardless of who they love. Regardless of their disabilities - mental or physical. Regardless of their religion. Regardless of their age. Jesus was very clear about this - EVERYONE.
And the reason I say Christians shouldn't talk about sin is because when we are on social media going on and on in useless arguments about "hating the sin" and "sin is sin whether it's murder or homosexuality or gossip" etc etc. we obscure our message and bring it's simplicity to nothing.
Friends, this is a waste of our precious light.
We need to do better than this...we can do better!
We ALL sin - every day. It doesn't matter WHAT or HOW. We do it and we don't need to care about what our neighbor is doing.
We need to be about doing Jesus' business, friends!
Helping the hungry. Clothing the naked. Binding up the sick. Welcoming the foreigner. Speaking for those who can't speak for themselves. Standing up for human rights.
Being the light against the darkness of evil.
If we're doing all those things, we won't have time to waste talking about sin.
How are you keeping up your witness during these troubling times? Do you have a special mission focus right now? Are you struggling with your witness? Please share in the comments. And if I can pray for you please let me know.
Conference season is right around the corner and you’ll see scads of highbrow articles on what to do, what to see, who to talk to, and what not to do. So, how am I any different? What can I possibly tell you?
I only two RWA Chapter conferences under my belt, put on by the New Jersey Romance Chapter, and they were simply amazing. I can’t imagine the major RWA conference topping them. Someday, I’ll make it to the annual RWA Conference and I’m sure I’ll be amazed there.
But for now, here’s my FIVE THINGS TO KNOW about your First Writer’s Conference:
Not that you should be so laid back you’re unprofessional in your presentation. Just remember that the other woman across the table is a human being and is here to listen to you and wants to hear about YOU, your book, and why you’ve written it. Do give her your best, be courteous, and be friendly. But don’t get yourself so worked up you can’t sleep the night before or you lose your lunch over it!
Photo courtesy Joshua Ness of Unsplash
You may be brand new to writing. You may be a Contest Diva, almost ready to publish and a veteran of several writing conferences. Or, you may be a debut author or on your tenth novel.
At any of these stages you may have found a critique partner or a critique group along the way. This relationship can be as formal as exchanging chapters every two weeks with only track comments shared back and forth, or as intimate as daily emails about your ongoing lives along with exchanging chapters and your dreams and goals.
Our lives ebb and flow and circumstances change. As do critique partners. Over the past twenty years I’ve had four partners who I spent significant blocks of years, critiquing full books back and forth, and I learned many things from each of them. We’ve each gone on to other things, become published or not.
Disclaimer: There are no personal references to any persons in these rules
So, here’s my Seven Rules of Great Critique Partners:
Why are these Seven Rules important to live by? Because they teach you how to become the professional writer that editors and agents want to work with and promote. Editors and agents don’t have time to teach you how to be respectful, be committed, meet deadlines, communicate clearly and succinctly, and understand what’s confidential and what’s not. And by the time you sign with a publishing house and an agent, you’d better understand that plagiarism and stealing someone else’s hard work is death for a writer.
Now, the next time someone approaches you to be a critique partner, I hope you’ll think of these things and be ready to think of it as a business relationship as well as a friendship. You both have a lot to learn from each other on this writing journey. Enjoy the trip!
I'm a military wife who's raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We've lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I'm not writing, I can be found spinning, knitting, and hanging out with my dogs.