- If I were to take the scriptures out of my work, I might be able to reach a wider audience than just the percentage of Christians who feel it important to study communication from a Christian perspective.
- If I were to reach a wider audience, I might be able to reach unbelievers and they may come to know Christ.
- How many people, who are that uncomfortable with scripture, would actually be interested in these kinds of articles and studies which were written specifically for Christians?
- How many of my articles and studies really speak to the unbeliever?
- Wouldn't I approach a nonChristian in a completely different way?
- Isn't there a reason God directs me to write this way?
- So...shouldn't I leave my writing the way I was directed to write it?
Art of Eloquence is fast approaching the completion of its eighth year in business this November. It's been a very interesting ride so far. I've learned a great deal about business, about myself and my faith. When I wrote my first study, Say What You Mean (for Teens), I really wasn't thinking of this as a business or even a ministry. It was simply an answer to a homeschool friend's need for a more comfortable way her shy daughter could learn to communicate more effectively. It was important to me that the approach to overcoming shyness and strengthening communication skills be fun and reflect the teachings that are so prevalent in God's Word. I have literally found HUNDREDS of scriptures that pertain to communication and many of them contain lessons I studied in the pursuit of my secular degree. However, as I began to form Art of Eloquence, I quickly learned that not everyone was happy with the 'God parts.' The woman in charge of a nearby YMCA said she would love me to come and teach there if only I'd 'take the God parts out.' A public school administrator informed me that she'd love to recommend that my studies be used in the district, if only I'd agree to 'take the God parts out.' My Dad shared with me that he felt that I'd get a lot more sales if only I'd 'take the God parts out.' Over the last eight years, I can't count the number of times I've been offered contracts, money, sales, an enormous venue in which to display my articles if I'd only agree to 'take the God parts out.' I just could never bring myself to do it. It felt like I'd be turning my back on the Lord after He had done so much for me. It felt disrespectful, but more than that, it felt wrong. When I got my degree from a secular university, I felt I had a firm grasp of the concepts I had studied. After all, I had a degree from one of the top ten universities in the country for Speech Communication. When I accepted Christ as my savior, I found greater meaning in the lessons He wrote for us in His Word. It more than enhanced my understanding; it put a necessary perspective on every aspect of human communication. I found that studying speech communication without mentioning what the Bible has to say about it, is like studying automobiles without mentioning Henry Ford. As the years went by, I began writing more about being an effective witness for Christ both as an example and when discussing our faith with others. That's when I really had some challenges to my approach! I've had people heckle me on internet radio shows and I've had some NastyGrams sent to my email. I've had people disrupt my online events, send scathing remarks to online groups and one lady who chastised me during a presentation I was asked to give for a group of Christians. I found out later that she was a member of one of my Christian Yahoo groups! She wasn't aware that I was asked to do this presentation nor was she aware that the presentation was to a group of Christians. She simply felt it was 'intolerant' of me to quote scripture and talk about Jesus when there were people who didn't believe in Him. So she stood up in the virtual chatroom so to speak and told me off, left the room and took several people with her. Many times what I write cannot be divorced from scripture without diminishing the value or losing the integrity of my message. So, though I've been asked many times to 'take the God parts out, for many reasons, I simply cannot do it and remain true to the voice inside me-the voice God gave me. I can't say that I haven't been tempted. I wish I could report to you that I've never once allowed it to cross my mind that I might have much more of a following or more sales if I did 'take the God parts out.' And I know that there must be others out there who struggle with this issue whether they are authors or not. I'd like to share a thinking process that I use whenever I am presented with a situation like this. I hope it will help you.