Jaime Guerrero of Spain was one tough warrior. He was the son of a whore; Señor Guillermo Guerrero was his father. Meanwhile Guillermo’s legal wife had given him other sons, and when they grew up, his wife’s sons threw Jaime out. They told him: “You’re not getting any of our family inheritance—you’re the son of another woman.” So Jaime fled from his brothers and went to live in Portugal. Some riffraff joined him and went around with him.
Have you read the above bible story before? What? Bible story? You ask. Oh yes, the names have been changed as well as the locations, yet relatively same in distance as the original. They story line was untouched.
This is a doctored up cut and paste job from the Message translation (Judges 11). The concept is true to the Hebrew from whence it first was transcribed.
This is not the only instance of earthy adultery seen in the pages of the Bible. On this same page where our tale of “Jaime” is found there is bloodshed, polygamy, human sacrifice, and more sexual sin. We also see the guidance of God, His mercy and people who are wholeheartedly dedicated to His will.
The bible is a fascinating book. When we slow down and really think about the whole situation in any given portion we find true humanity alongside sovereign divinity. People have been people since Adam. Not much in our nature has changed.
As a writer I have been grappling with a question of content. It would seem that nothing is hidden in the stories of the bible heroes. Noah got drunk. David slept around and committed premeditated murder. Peter was a turn coat. The list could go on. As a storyteller, mainly in the fiction realm, how does this affect me? My question is:
As a Christian writer what licence do I have in the themes I choose to include in my stories?
For much of my younger life I was a gullible literalist. Things were very black and white. It thrilled me to be able to proclaim fearlessly and foolishly things as “right” and “wrong”. As the hairs on my head have started to gray I have begun to see the beauty in the shades of life lying in the in-between. I have to fight the urge to slap labels on things, especially in the very public creative expression arena. There is truth to the notion that some things are neither “right” nor “wrong”, per se.
When I read this part of scripture my thoughts went to the characters in the novel I wrote last year. One of the main themes is teenage pregnancy out of wedlock. A twinge in my gut said that this topic is taboo for a Christian writer. Yet there are also elaborate lies and disobedience to parents. Where does one draw the line?
By telling a story true to human nature I do not feel as though I am being irreverent. What are your thoughts on this topic?