Be Offensive

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I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time now. Something’s been holding me back. i think there’s an element in most of us that wants to be liked. I’m no different. I don’t want to offend people. Once you read this post, you’ll find that last statement ironic.

This week, I sent my final edits to my editor. It’s for my YA dystopian that will be published by Brimstone Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in the fall of 2015. Pressing that send button was amazing, and terrifying, and wonderful, and terrifying, and humbling and terrifying…you get the idea. There’s something about putting a book out there for the world to see that is…well…for lack of a better term…terrifying.

I want people to love my work. After all, I’ve spent years writing, tweaking, editing, rewriting, brainstorming, and developing. My heart and soul are in that work. And suddenly (as suddenly as publishing works) the public gets to judge  it. Anyone who has ever created anything wants others to like that creation, be it our kids or the work of our hands. We don’t go into the project saying, “Oh, yes, I hope people will hate it.” At least, I’ve never known anyone to do that. We want people to like our creations. Such is the case with my book.

There’s one little problem with that. You see, I write about things that are offensive. My first book covered the abortion topic. No matter what side I wrote, no matter how well it may have depicted the issue, I have offended someone. While this new book doesn’t come right at the issue like my first book did, it, too, touches on topics that will offend people. (Yes, even a Young Adult Dystopian novel can be offensive.)

But I’ve learned it’s okay to be offensive.

I’m a Christian. That statement alone may offend some people. But I’m not willing to deny that faith to make people comfortable. I know that my faith is offensive. I say there is one way to heaven: Jesus Christ. Those not willing to accept that will be offended by that statement. I say that once you have a relationship with Christ, you will change. (Not that those changes are necessary to create that faith, but rather a response to it.) Having to change is offensive to some. There are many things I say are right or wrong based on my faith. Others may disagree. Actually, others do disagree. By saying x, y, or z, all sorts of people will think I am horrible. But I’m okay with that. I have to be.

Christ told us that people would hate us and persecute us for his name. Christianity isn’t all flowers and confetti. It’s hard work to forgive those who have hurt me. It’s hard to conform my life to the image of Christ; I fail often and receive God’s forgiveness all the time. I am by no means perfect. Thankfully, my relationship with God takes care of that. Making these choices and telling others about Jesus will be offensive to many. But I’m willing to be offensive to people in order to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

So when my book hits the public, and I get a few scathing reviews, I will remind myself that God’s message of life is more important than my feelings at the moment. (Hopefully they won’t all be bad. 🙂 ) When I make people uncomfortable with my words in order to tell a story of redemption, I will remember that God’s view of me is more important than people’s view of me.

So, I hit send. My book moves one step closer to being in print. One step closer to offending someone, but also one step closer to bringing hope to someone who may desperately need it.

I’ll be offensive for that any day… will you?

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About jvdlandersen

I'm a young adult author. But more importantly, I'm a Christian, a wife, and a mom. Sometimes I'll write about writing and my journey through publishing. Other times, I'll write for my kids and myself. You can read it too if you want. To find out more about my books, check out www.jandersenbooks.com. To find out more about me, follow this blog. :)

8 responses »

  1. Well said Andersen. Being a Christian writer is more than just telling a story from the viewpoint of a woman who believe’s in God’s son, who has asked Him into her heart, has committed her life to living a life that honor’s God. It’s the inner being of the new creation you have become. You cannot do anything else but share with all honesty that gift you have been given. Some will no doubt be angered by it and will respond in a negative way. Just remember, Jesus offended the religious leaders of his day. They crucified Him, the Son of the Most High. Your detractors will probably just send you a few nasty comments. Looking forward to reading your book.

    • There’s still more rolling around in my head about this topic. It just doesn’t want to come out yet, but I think you’ve hit upon it. Jesus did offend the religious leaders. There’s more in that that needs to mull for a while before I post again! 🙂

  2. Jessie.
    I think it’s wonderful that you’re using your writing talent to nudge people toward God. Since you don’t publish under the Christian category, you are reaching people who might otherwise hear the message. Keep it up.
    Jerry

  3. I’ve always been proud of your writing, Jess, but tonight I want you to know that I am proud of your stand as a Christian. It would be easier to play it down, but I am glad that you haven’t chosen the easy route. I’m proud to be your mom.

  4. For the online course in supervision I am taking, we had to give a bit of a bio. One of the others responded with something that sounded a bit too politically correct. I thought about answering with Rhett Butler’s famous line to Scarlett, but opted instead for, “I’m at that wonderful point in life where I have little to lose and nothing to prove.” You’re right; it seems to be the curse of our day: everyone’s offended. That offends me.

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