This was my contribution to the More Than Writers Blog on October 30th.
Years ago, hubby and I attended the Calvin500 conference in Geneva. It was a wonderful time, with some very interesting lectures. One of the lectures was about Calvin’s Impact on the Arts, a lecture that wasn’t what we expected.
The thing that surprised us was that it had really been Calvin who had liberated the Arts. Calvin stated that art was one of the richest gifts of God to mankind (not sure my paintings fall into that category, but still…). Up till then art was seen as belonging to the Church, not even signed. Calvin changed that.
Growing up in the Netherlands, I had never heard of Halloween. We celebrated Reformation Day, singing Luther’s Hymn in church (the only time that happened, church was Psalms Only, so it felt extra special), colouring in church history posters, listening to exciting stories about Martyrs, Reformers, Missionaries and Bible smugglers.
We learned that we were free to read the Bible in our own language because of the Reformation. Nobody mentioned we could sign art projects with our own name because of the Reformation too. Maybe like me, you assumed Reformation Day was all about Luther banging away at the large church door, sharing his writing with others?
To me, writing is art. I might not write as beautiful or thoughtful as others, but I enjoy it. It comes easy, and gives me joy. And it comes with so much freedom. I only recently learned you can write a poem, and it doesn’t even have to rhyme, or have the ABAB structure! Did you know that?
My nearly-ready book involves a manned lighthouse, a Bergen (an army backpack), a coracle and an Alexa style automated Voice. Someone criticised this, saying it’s all from different times. I know, I made up a world for it, for I like manned lighthouses. I love the idea of a concerned person peering out through the storm, praying for mariners. I also like Alexa, so I included an Alexa type speaker in my story. You see, I’m free to do so, because Art is one of God’s gifts to mankind, to me.
In my stories I want to honour God, and I use my stories to explore questions of faith, and to figure out what Christlike living is in a fallen world. I love writing about forgiveness (My Viking story character wonders if you should forgive time travelling Vikings, especially as they show no remorse whatsoever!), about the importance of fellowship, about the effect it will have on you spiritually if you have no Bible or other Christians around you.
It feels like God’s gift, not in the sense it’s so brilliant, but in the freedom to imagine, to dream, to write away. Not sure how your church feels about nailing a novel to the church door, but nowadays you could always find a Virtual Door!
So as it’s Reformation day, enjoy the blessing of this Gift, be free to write how and what you feel, and be encouraged to share your Gift with others!