Over at the conservative culture website Liberty Island, five writers continue to discuss my memoir of conversion The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ. In the latest contribution, Alec Ott writes about why the New Testament advises us not to worry about anything. As St. Paul puts it in his epistle to the Philippians: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
As Ott points out, Paul follows this up by saying, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Many people have quoted this latter passage to me by way of telling me my characters shouldn’t curse so much, or that I shouldn’t show the negative parts of life in my work. But that strikes me as a very limited understanding of Paul’s words. Rather, I think he is telling you to think more about your purpose than your fear, more about the truth than the consequences, more about making life beautiful than about making life pay — living a high-minded life, in other words, instead of a life dedicated purely to success and pleasure. In the arts, this means depicting life as honestly as you can, not pretending that the world turns into Candy Land once you believe in Jesus — even though a portion of your audience may insist on that particular lie.
You can read the symposium here.
You can buy my memoir here.