Truth Is Like a Threshing Machine

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

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"Truth is like a threshing machine: tender sensibilities must keep out of the way." -Herman Melville

I had a friend mention to me this week that he hoped I would become a successful, world-famous author, preaching to a lost world through literature. I have to admit I love the concept of it - garnering respect by doing what I love most? Pretty dreamy.

The problem with this concept is that it doesn't exactly fit puzzle-piece-like into the world we live in. The popular literature audience rejects truth in its full capacity, though their yearning for truth is evident in the small cameos it makes in even the most Godless of books. Truth is there, as it always has been, and it cannot be hidden entirely - yet, those of us who speak truth on certain topics are immediately refused. (There are so many issues that I could branch into from here, so bear with me.) It's selective truth, the sort of truth that feels good - or, occasionally, the unavoidable truths, that speak to the soul, whether it is understood or not by a Godless audience.

So what do we do? We can't stop speaking truth, but we're cutting out a large portion of the audience by doing so.

I've sometimes wondered if I had lived in the 18th century, would the purpose and heart of my writing would have been more appreciated? But we often forget that in the past, the writing we see as powerful and poignant today would only be commonplace, in a time of true appreciation for the written word. See, we are needed in this time to show contrast to false words and cast light on real truth, the sort of Truth that changes the world, as hackneyed as the phrase is. We cannot be afraid of hurting people or alienating people who disagree with us when it comes to truth. We write what must be said, and we do not back down.

If you want your writing to ring true in the ears of the reader, you cannot be afraid of stepping on toes.

2 comments

  1. This is so true. I love what you're saying here.

    I am in a constant struggle about how much I put God into my books or if I should make it more subtle. Because I want everybody to read them. I don't want them to be labelled as "Christian" books. It always makes me think of what Jesus said about those who are well do not need medicine. It is the sick who need the Doctor. It is those who are in darkness who need the Light. But what if they run from the Light? What would make them pick up a book that has the Light written all over it? It'll probably be my life conundrum.

    "We write what must be said, and we do not back down." - I love that! I hope you don't mind if I put it my file of quotes.

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    Replies
    1. Ashley,
      I love what you've said here! It is a bit of a conundrum, telling the truth so people will listen, but also not watering it down so as to be honest to your purpose. There's something of an art to it, and not an easy one to master - I think it is honestly the artist's greatest struggle. Fight on!

      I'm honored to be included in the list - thank you!

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