Guest post: Ben Patterson on writing, connecting with non-Christians, human to human
Recently I’ve spent time reading and rereading Ben Patterson’s wonderful space opera. It has little or nothing to do with type of trash seen in the image. It’s what I look forward to in a tale like this. His writing shows us compelling relationships, wonderful technology, great characters, horrible villains, nasty corrupt governments, life and death stakes for the good guys whose entire culture is at stake. I wanted to see what makes Ben tick, so I asked. Here’s his response. As I expected, it’s well said. This is an author you should be reading.
What God has called me to do with my writing?
Tough topic. It’s hard to separate my writing from any other aspect of my life, but here goes …
God has called me to be, of all things, me; a flawed man. I am His project still under construction.
Firstly, let me say that I believe Christians have been given a bad rap. On some subconscious level, folks expect us to be perfect. When we are found to be less than perfect, they criticize, reject, and attack, and leave us reeling. But still, the world at large needs exposure to who Christians truly are, flaws and all. If we are to represent Christ, I do not see us as a people who are good, but as human beings in need of a Savior. Despite my flaws and faults, Jesus has accepted and forgiven me. Despite your faults, oh unbeliever, He accepts you as well.
This is the message I want others, non-Christians, to know. Because of Jesus, even non-Christians have direct access to God; direct access to forgiveness, to acceptance, to Grace. I am not a Christian because I’m good, but rather because I’m bad. That is the message I bring to the world in my stories.
As far as my writing is concerned, truth be told, I’m lazy. I write Sci-fi because I hate research. Sci-fi allows me to make up stuff when it comes to setting. To me, the human condition is far more important than setting anyway. I could write about perfect people in a perfect world, folks who are wise beyond their years, but I’d rather paint word-pictures of average, everyday folks struggling to hear God. Even when we hear God’s voice, we have to remember that that Word is filtered through us, and as such is, well, filtered, watered down, or twisted, even if only a little. Oh, that God’s voice came through loud and clear, but all too often, it doesn’t. Understandable given my heart’s condition.
To sum up:
I want to connect with non-Christians, human to human.
Nothing more. Nothing less. And leave the saving to the Savior.
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Thank you, Peter. Kind of you to say. Blessings, and more blessings to you.
Another author with a heart after God! I agree with David, well said, Ben! This has really encouraged me! Thank you Ben! I am going to have to add your books to my list!