5 REASONS I USE CREATIVE WRITING TO BLOG ABOUT FAITH
The day before yesterday, I chatted with a lovely sister and blogging friend, Ava Chioma Oparadike. In the course of our conversation, she said she loved my poems and actually thanked me for them. I’ve had other blogging friends like Angela Royse Pellemann, Rita F. Kurian, April Clevenger Boyer and Tammy Dunlap compliment my writing. Being faith and inspirational bloggers as I like to loosely call us, it means a lot to me because many people in the Christian community don’t seem to understand why I often do creative writing instead of straight preaching cum teaching.
I alternate my posts between regular devotionals and creative writing, but many mature believers tend to ignore the latter. In the blogging groups I belong to, I often omit a description of the genre of writing when I share my posts for fear that most people would consider looking at them a waste of time.
Ava’s remark gave me the idea to explain why I decided that my faith and inspirational blog would be a great outlet for my creative writing such that I have categories for poetry, fiction (I call the posts there short stories) and nonfiction. I also compose aphorisms which I compile under the category, self-composed quotes. I often place a few of these in tweet boxes in each post.
REASONS I WRITE ABOUT FAITH CREATIVELY
1. To reach a wider audience: I believe that this is possible when the gospel and encouragement for believers are presented through witty quotes, fiction, nonfiction and poetry, in addition to the usual devotional format. In this way, many who are averse to direct preaching may be touched by God while, for example, they are reading evocative stories or rhythmic poems.
[bctt tweet=”Many who loathe direct preaching may be touched by God through creative writing.” username=”edithohaja1″]
Some people will not click on a post once they think it’s religious. Many of these people will not darken the door of a church either. We can still reach them by approaching them with stuff they can relate to. In the short story series, My Beautiful Neighbour, I presented a young, handsome Nigerian man, who was an unemployed graduate. The story followed his hustles to make a living and his sexual proclivity, heightened by his attraction to his married female neighbour. The story was inspired by the Ponzimania that hit Nigeria between 2014 and 2016. Below is one of my poems inserted here as an illustration.
2. To create an atmosphere for my lessons to sink in more: In the book, Television: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies, Volume 2, edited by Toby Miller, the scholars assert that, “Entertainment is the most broadly effective educational fare in any culture.”
When people go to church, most remember the jokes from the priest or pastor. It’s hard to believe, but after a while, the entertaining stuff is all that some remember from the sermons. They can recount details of a dramatic performance in church but may not be able to give you the teachings chapter and verse.
[bctt tweet=”People recall entertaining stuff better than more serious stuff.” username=”edithohaja1″]
God knew this and adopted the strategy of capturing people’s attention and imagination in unique ways before delivering His messages in the Old Testament. He was a great dramatist with the prophets. Remember when He told Jeremiah to wear wooden yokes (Jeremiah 27:2-4) and to break a clay jar before a crowd (Jeremiah 19:1-13).
He instructed Ezekiel to act for the Israelites in Babylon how their countrymen at home would soon be sent on exile during the reign of Zedekiah (Ezekiel 12:1-15). And for those with fragile sensibilities, I wonder what they would have said when God commanded Isaiah to go naked and barefoot for three years (Isaiah 20:2-6). The reason was not to corrupt but to shock the people into paying attention to God’s warnings of impending judgment.
The Lord Jesus knew this too. He did not just quote and explain passages of Scripture to people. He largely taught in Parables. These were highly engaging stories with morals. He encased profound truths in these interesting stories. He challenged his listeners to pray without ceasing with the Parable of the Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1-8) and warned them to wait vigilantly for His return with the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).
[bctt tweet=”Jesus taught in parables to engage His listeners & engrave His words on their hearts.” username=”edithohaja1″]
That, I believe, is part of the reason people were never tired of listening to Him. His sermons were not ponderous like those given by the teachers of the law and Pharisees. And the listener couldn’t remember the story without being reminded of the lessons because they were intrinsic to the narrative, even though he didn’t always explain it all. He wanted the people to reflect on His words.
So I follow His example. For instance, I wrote a story titled Knowing When Enough is Enough to discourage married couples from quarelling publicly. I hope to create a spectacle to the extent that the art forms I use can accomplish and pray that in the excitement, the lessons are embedded in the reader’s consciousness. I would love to do this better by providing audio and video versions but that is yet to be. Now I just build intrigue, conflict, agony and dilemma into my stories, heightening the suspense, and pushing the reader towards the resolution.
Poetry, also, is attractive and memorable. Many of the Bible books, such as the Prophets, are poetic. The rhythm and rhyme caused people to pause and made the messages stick. And they still do. Many were sung, like the prophecy Moses gave about what would befall Israel after his death (Deutronomy 32:1-43) and the Psalms. The true beauty of some of these compositions has been lost in translation but often we still get a sense of how they were originally meant to sound.
[bctt tweet=”Poetry is a crisp way of conveying deep truths or making insightful commentary.” username=”edithohaja1″]
For me, poetry is a crisp way of conveying deep truths or making insightful commentary on Biblical or contemporary affairs, including love, sociopolitical issues and momentous events. In a few quatrains, I can address a complex issue, strike a chord with readers and hopefully get them thinking about it. Sometimes, I receive the grace to weave the theme into lovely imagery, as was the case with Safe Flight, Nigeria, composed in the sustained chaos that followed the inception of the Buhari administration.
(Related: Governance by Trial and Error)
Whether lyric or otherwise, some poems tell stories. And they usually convey encouragement, comfort and instruction like regular stories. For example, my poem, Live in Hope, is free verse but it tells the story of King Solomon and how he became cynical, guiding the readers on how to avoid that. On the other hand, the poem Watch those Fiends, is structured and lyrical but it is the story of King Saul and how pride ruined his life, again cautioning the readers on how to prevent that in their lives.
Technology makes everything so easy. To ensure my readers don’t miss the lessons, especially for those who don’t come online to actually read but scan through posts, I couch some in pithy sayings which I present in tweet boxes or beautiful graphics. The images help to amplify and vivify the message of the sayings, thus promoting memorability.
3. To provide wholesome entertainment: Entertainment is diversion from the strains and stresses of daily life and often, a lot of what is available in the media in that regard is far from clean. But as a child of God blessed with a sense of humour, I can contribute a little to the pool of edifying entertainment online.
When a story is written with believable and well-developed plot and characters, it draws readers in. Sometimes, I do series and the suspense ensures sustained readership. In a few of my stories, I don’t mention God or the Bible, but I present regular folks grappling with relatable challenges and I throw in some humour as can be seen in Help! My Wife Is a Guy! Never forget that laughter or a merry heart, the Bible says, is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). And if someone who hasn’t met the Lord keeps coming to my blog for recreational reading, perhaps the Lord will plant a seed in their hearts and bring them to salvation.
(Related: 3 Benefits of Walking in Joy)
In most of my stories, even if the characters are unsaved, their circumstances often lead to an encounter with the gospel and surrender to the Lord Jesus. But I try to avoid the fairytale approach where they meet God and all their problems are solved. I make the suff realistic because God has not promised us an absence of problems if we come to Him but He has promised to be with us and see us through them. An example of where this approach is demonstrated is in the series, From Bait to Catch.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” – Isaiah 43:1-2
4. To enhance readability: The challenge that writers have with millenials and some other age groups today is impatience. We live in an age of instant gratification, so most people are usually unwilling to devote time to read long stuff. Besides, this is the era of information overload. There is just too much stuff out there competing for people’s attention. So, sometimes I write the short poems and short shorts. In a few lines or paragraphs, I’m done. The readers are happy and I’m happy. The Looming Breakup, for instance, tells the story of a campus romance in six short paragraphs.
Moreover, I try to make my posts more readable by presenting them in forms that draw people in and hold their attention till the end. First, I compose an arresting opening and gotcha! I also read everything to myself and keep tweaking till I get the sound and flow that can carry the reader rapidly through the post such that even if it’s long, they’ll be longing for a continuation at the end. This attention to,cadence comes from my poetry composition but, as you can see, it is helpful in my writing across board.
This is how I began another story about campus romance, Going ‘Home’ to Gerald:
“Wifey4life, wen r u rtnin? Must u complete d 8wks of IT? Sch mks no sense wtout u. HURRRYYYYY n save a soul!” Chinny read the sms again and felt a warm tingle all over her body. She smiled and tried to recall how often she’d read it since she received it shortly after 5 a.m., maybe eight, no, twelve times. It didn’t matter. She’d read it so many times and would probably do so all day long.
And why not? The writer, Gerald, was …
5. To teach writing to my students as well as counsel and witness to them. By God’s grace, I teach writing courses at a university. Familiarising students with principles of good writing like clarity, elegance and vitality won’t do them much good unless I demonstrate how these are applied in different forms of writing.
[bctt tweet=”Creative writing is a good tool for education which comprises intellectual & moral training.” username=”edithohaja1″]
Besides, education is both intellectual and moral training. That is why students in my school are required to be found worthy, first in character, and then in learning, in order to earn degrees. I always bear this in mind. Plus, I am passionate about sharing my faith and I think this is beneficial to the students because I don’t believe the claims of secular humanism that people can be good in their own power. We all need the Lord. But we have hundreds of students, making it impossible for me to reach many of them personally. I also know that most of the students won’t appreciate my droning on about the right values and good behaviour. So I write captivating stories, poems and maxims, which they can read on the blog and we discuss in the process of identifying what constitutes good and bad writing.
I hope you have seen that my creative writing is not a casual hobby, the products of which should be sidestepped in search of my devotionals. They are inspired, praise God, and often have scriptural references.
It’s a huge blessing to be versatile, not for applause but to fulfill a divine mandate. I’m a lady on a mission. By God’s grace, my different forms of writing (creative and otherwise) are helping to announce the saving power of Christ Jesus and His boundless grace to the saints. And to the glory of His name, I’m seeing the fruit of this ministry which He has entrusted to me. Halleluia!
The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Hi! Are there some discouragements you are facing in using your gifts to serve God? Do share so that others can offer a word of support to you.
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Great work! As a teacher myself, this really reminded me HOW to teach. This is more than just a lesson on why you write creatively, but how to capture an audience and still more, the example the Bible gives us for teaching. ❤️
Thank you so much for visiting, beloved! God’s grace in your teaching and other endeavours in Jesus’ name.
I love this ! You said it all so well !! In so doing, validated my value of my poems !! ,,,, priceless to a Christian poets heart when they come and feel like a very special gift straight from God! Big hugs sister Edith. I love everything about this article. Thank you for writing, and sharing, and being on your mission, to teach, love, and shine for Jesus. Blessings in our Lord <3
Glory to God! I hope I didn’t come across as whining. I just wanted to affirm the work we do for God. All of it is useful, praise God! A big bouquet of blessings to you and your family in Jesus’ name.
So much truth here! I am a firm believer that God has a great sense of humor, so if you can reach more people by including anecdotes, stories, and even a little humor, then I believe you are glorifying God in doing so. Great post!
Glad to hear from you, Kaila! God does have a sense of humour. Ava Chioma Oparadike recently did a blog post on that subject. Thanks for your encouragement and be blessed all round in Jesus’ name.
Agree with you that if each believer reaches an unbeliever with the Truth of the Word in a short story or a poem or any other form of creative writing, then we are bearing fruit and sending out the light to a weary soul fighting to stay afloat in a sea of angry waves.
I’m very excited you’re here, my dear sister Diana! You’re right. If we all reach out with the gifts God has blessed us with, we will have a tremendous harvest in these last days. More blessings on your family and grace upon your ministry in Jesus’ name.
Thank you so much for writing on this much needed subject. The truth is that we are all different with varying gifts and talents, which means the way we express it will be different. It’s sad that even with all this, there are Christians who believe we must all “preach” and encourage in a certain way. I love that you talked about how Jesus usually used parables and stories to teach the people.
The Bible is filled with wonderful depictions of miracles. Remember how Prophet Elijah did things? That was definitely different. What about David? He did so many things that were uncharacteristic of Jews in his time.
I pray more Christians understand that God died that we may lively freely in him. And that we let go of our preconceived notions about Christianity and living the “right” life.
I’m so so happy you touched on this and can’t wait to share it. Thank you????
A warm welcome to you, my dear sister Chioma! I’m happy you mentioned David. His medium was music and in the process of using that, he prophesied. His brothers certainly didn’t see it coming but the music took him to the palace to minister to the king and for thousands of years, countless millions have been strengthened and drawn closer to God by his psalms. In my former church, there were these young people who danced to the sound of worship songs on special occasions. It was always a very uplifting experience to watch them. They were so graceful and seemed to be communicating directly with the One that sits on the throne of glory in the heavenlies with their fluid movements. Let us just encourage one another and do the Lord’s work as He leads and equips us. I pray more fruit on your ministry and look forward to meeting you someday soon.
On a personal note, I receive the gospel in the way with which you have presented it. Nothing works more than human angle for me. Even Jesus Christ used parables to illustrate. Thank you ma’am. May blessings follow you
Amen. May blessings follow you too, Ononso. And greet my sweetheart, your beautiful mum. Looking forward to seeing you soon.
“Some people will not click on a post once they think it’s religious. Many of these people will not darken the door of a church either. We can still reach them by approaching them with stuff they can relate to.” I agree, Edith, and I also try not to make all of my posts overtly “religious,” but rather inspirational in a more general way.
Glad to hear from you, Gloria! May God give us wisdom to reach many. Paul said he was like a Jew to the Jews and like a Gentile to the Gentiles in order to win many of them to Christ. More grace in your ministry, dear sister, in Jesus’ name.
Waaoo! interesting! Thanks a lot for your
spiritual nourishment. Your creative writing
attracted me to your blog. God’s grace!
Amen! You are lifted, Samuel, in Jesus’ name.
there are so many ways people adopt to drive their point home especially while preaching. some choose to condemn and others give u a special seat in hell, but ur style is just the best. am in love with your writing as it always motivates me. REMAIN BLESSED MA AS YOU CONTINUE TO TOUCH LIVES.
Glory to God! This is so so encouraging to me. May God speak to your heart whenever you need it too, Chinaza, in Jesus’ name.
Thank you for sharing. When I began blogging, there was a blogger that shared the power of stories and being a gateway to blogging. It is true, people love stories. They draw them in to get the message that we want to receive. I try to use my life and experience and then to give my “take away”. thank you for sharing. Great post.
Glory to God! I love your writing, Charlene! You keep it crisp and simple. Plus there’s always a clear takeaway. May God multiply your grace for parenting, blogging and whatever else you do in Jesus’ name.
Amen! Thank you so much! I appreciate your words. 🙂
YES! I am so with you on expanding our creative ideas and reaching many people who would otherwise not read our words if they were strictly ‘religious’ messages. Your stories do just that. I too, write in broad topics that present themselves in a ‘non-religious’ direction, but threaded throughout each are hidden gems of the gospel, scripture, faith- so that God is ever present in a subtle and less demanding confrontational way.
You outlined so many excellent reasons and explanations here, Edith! LOVED this.
Praise God! I love reading your writing, Chris! It’s always warm and relatable. May the Lord inspire you more and more in Jesus’ name.
Edith, I love this! I’ve never considered parables as a form of creative writing. When I read one or hear one being taught, I’ll not forget this. Thank you for sharing!
Hope it helps you appreciate them better, Lori! Abundant blessings on you and yours in Jesus’ name.
That was one of the first impressions that got my attention ..that she is a Christian and a professing one at that and it endeared me more to all your writeups that no matter what the storyline is meant, it will put us in a kingdom mindset..its nice ma ..you’re really reaching out to people more than you imagine and I wish to do same in my profession by pointing people towards GOD…
Thanks for the encouragement, Daniel! May God grant your heart’s desire and bless you all round in Jesus’ name.
Great points! I agree with all of them! I love reviewing Christian Historical Fiction books because I think anyone can just about read them and still be inspired! 🙂
Praise God and thanks a lot, Heidii! I love your title, bibliophile! Abundant grace in your endeavours in Jesus’ name.
So true! It makes the word of God easier to understand and we learn a lot about God.
Well done ma. Your blog contains too many great posts, I learn new things each time I read a post from u.
In journalism, it is imperative a niche is found for ease of communication and a corresponding comprehension. Ma, you are able to carve your niche because you understand the message you have is better passed through writing. That’s innate and natural. You are not forcing it because that’s your comfort zone. Keep it up ma. That’s creative.
Ma, sometimes I wonder the kind of God we serve who create people like you with such a unique prowess in being creative as well as using words to make deep impacts in the lives of people. You are indeed a woman in a mission, expanding the tentacles of the kingdom with literary works on your blog. You are an inspiration to me. Ride on ma, I humbly learn from you every day.
This is a wonderful post ma’am. God bless you.
Well done ma. Is great reading your stories they are helpful to me. You are well serving the creator with creativity. This is a gift from God to you and thank God you are utilising this special gift and grace from God. This article answers the questions of many students and others who kept wondering why your creative writing and blog is different from others. I have learned different techniques relating to blog and different strategies that can be used to preach the gospel to a world where there are lot of distractions and people are becoming too impatient to listen to long messages. The ability to realise that is not just presenting the article but the capacity to present and sink that message to the receiver in a helpful manner makes you a great teacher, ma! God continues to bless you and bring more people that will grow from you in order to change the world positively.
I’m sincerely happy that you blog about the Christian faith. You have and will continue to inspire myself and many through these writings. God bless you real good for all of us.
Yea!you have redeem many souls through this creative stories, poems and quotes.Its the Lord alone who will bless u enough for your efforts. I appreciate!
Creativity in spirituality. That can only be achieved by someone endowed with the spirit of wisdom. You are an epitome of creativity and passion. Do not be discouraged by the critics. Your works have been effective.
Some people feel as though their writing should be straightforward and convey its message in a straightforward approach because it’s the word of God and they have to go about the business of God seriously.
They seem to forget that the Lord Jesus used parables mostly. The use of paradigms short stories, poems and other forms of creative writing is highly recommended I’m gaining a wide audience with diverse needs. The story draws their attention and sustains them and they end up learning lots of lessons from the post. I’ve learnt a lot by visiting this blog regularly. If there was no twist to these posts,no stories and poems..many people wouldn’t visit. They would find it boring. Aunty Edith is.a wise woman!
this is very true, it makes the word of God so easy to grasp
It baffles me that all the stories in this blog has always touched me in one way or the other..
Everything is not all about been a pastor or a prophet or so..God is really using you to change life ma!
Through your analysis ma,it shows that you did a very good research on the behavior of people towards moral/Gospel quotes.I can assure you that your findings is correct because one of the things I remember after each church service is the joke the priest said while preaching. It even helps me to remember the whole sermon.
Mummy your actually doing the work of God,since I started reading your write ups,I know my life has changed for the better and I believe there are also thousands out there like me and I pray he strengths you and gives you the grace never to get confused or relent in this great work. God bless you
Ma ,you using this medium to touch and change lives is really appreciated by all your readers. You’ve allowed the Lord to use you and definitely mouth can speak the kind of blessing that awaits you. May God continue to give you inspiration and grace to continue to do this. God bless u truly.
Your mode of transmitting Gods word and knowledge is actually effective and exciting, i really love your method of writing. It just works out perfectly for you.
This is very true there are so many ways to pass the word of God like you have said, this your way is very interesting because sometimes when am down I just navigate through your blog to see things that will make me feel the love of God again ,ma indeed you have touched so many life’s I just pray he continues to shower you with wisdom, knowledge so that you can teach us your follower .
Nice piece ma. The use of creative writing helps mesmerize a wider audience, it makes them curious in the sense that you don’t go direct, you beat around the bush and vehemently captivate their souls with your writing finesse. Thank you ma
Beat around the bush? I wouldn’t put it that way. Lol! Bless you!
This is a typical example of creativeness in your writing Ma. Your reasons are validated. Keep on the gospel work my amiable teacher
This is another place where people can come and be taught the word of God through your writing, to get motivated and inspired which I know is yielding good fruits.. God bless you, ma.
Right. Not everyone would be open to direct preaching of the gospel, most especially the younger persons. I like your strategy. It appeals more. Just like when you want to preach to a student or so, using a story or giving experiences captures their attention because they would easily relate to that, than a direct preaching. Very good ma. More Grace.
I must say that your creativity in writing is very captivating and overwhelming. Talking about faith is very necessary because as Christians that is the only thing we need in other to please God our Maker. Keep up the good work Ma’am.
I’m using the word ‘faith’ broadly in this post to cover our religion, belief system, as a whole. It’s like saying I use creative writing to blog about Christianity. Bless you!
This is so true. Apart from the motivational and inspiring aspect of your posts ma, I personally learn some writing patterns and structures from your posts (especially from the short story category). More so, youths tend to familiarize themselves with short and entertaining write-ups (proximity) and employing such feature in writing tends to attract and retain much audience and readership, with a view of inculcating the ways of the Lord. Besides, God uses distinct and diverse means in reaching out to the world, I believe what matters is the end point of the means (perhaps, we could say here that the end determines the means). Your write-ups are really awesome ma.
The creative approach is quite commendable because it still drives home the message intended especially from the entertainment angle which leaves your spirit lifted and lively again. All the reasons outlined contributes to making the story an inspiring and captivating piece. Nice MA!
The creative approach is quite commendable because it still drives home the message intended especially from the entertainment angle which leaves your spirit lifted and lively again. All the reasons outlined contributes to making the story an inspiring and captivating piece. Nice one MA!