Most of us writers occasionally wonder if anyone is actually listening to us. It would be great if there were some sort of highly abbreviated "test novel" we could transmit occasionally, so as to not waste our time creating 450 pages of text nobody is interested in reading. Needless to say, however, a certain percentage of us harbor a high enough opinion of our talent and/or significance to periodically crank out massive tomes (publishable or not) with the assumption that there is a vast audience willing to lap up everything that sloshes out of our respective inkwells. My personal arrogance level falls somewhere between the extremes of needing continual positive feedback and that of not giving a rat's patoot what people might think of my writing.
A certain level of arrogance is necessary to be a successful writer. King Solomon informs us in the book of Ecclesiastes, that "Of the writing of books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh." And yet, in the face of no less authority than God Himself, we insist on contributing to this flesh-wearying enterprise, under the delusion that we might impart something that's "new under the Sun"....yet another endeavor that King Solomon/God Himself assure(s) us is utterly futile.
Interestingly enough, I've never met anyone, Christian or atheist, who even remotely questions Solomon's wisdom on this particular matter. Everyone instinctively knows about the endless writing of books, and senses the same futility thereof. And yet, despite the Good King's exhortation, we never find any actual prohibition against such a pursuit. It is a curious theological loophole...one that even the most devout Bible believer feels morally obligated to crawl through.
My theological interpretation of this strange paradox is that it's God's prerogative to command us to do something even if, in the process of obedience, we're going to screw it up to some degree.
I think it goes back to original sin. God knew Adam was going to screw things up, but told him to go forth and be fruitful and multiply anyway. I used to interpret this to mean that Adam got it right just enough to give God some hope that he hadn't misplaced his confidence in his creation by too wide a margin. However, a little further investigation into this matter shoots some holes in this. The fact is that we never get it right, we always fall short of the goal and we will never create anything new under the Sun. It would be nice to actually be able to surprise God once in a while, but I don't find any place in Scripture (or even secular references) where that actually happens.
I once heard a preacher declare that "Nothing you do can shock God, but you can certainly bore Him to tears."
And that's what really scares me.
Causes Eric Nichols Supports
Free Burma Rangers, Partners Ministries (Thailand), Literacy council of Alaska, Access Alaska.