This month is the 25th Anniversary of two big personal milestones: the completion of the draft of my first novel, On The Edge, sending it to Thomas Nelson for editing, where it was published later in 1993, and writing the first pages of The President, which was published by Multnomah in 1995.
So this post is going to be an unusual (for me) look back at those 25 years, with some brief reflections on what I’ve experienced and learned along that journey.
- A powerful story based on God’s truth can completely transform readers or viewers. On The Edge had that impact on many people back then; one man read it overnight and called me the next morning in tears—he’d been having an affair. And it continues today; reviewers and commentators write that the novel has changed their lives. I had lunch last week with a young attorney and her husband whom I had not seen since she was a little girl. She told me that On The Edge transformed her father, then her mother and aunt, two decades ago. She said that the book changed the trajectory of their entire family, and she often thinks about where they would be if her father had not read it. That reaction is not a testimony to my writing skill (I had none), but rather to the power of story and eternal truth.
- God can use any and all of us for His purposes. I am a commercial real estate guy—I started in 1973 when I got out of the Navy in Charleston. And I’m very, very imperfect. I was not a believer until 1984 at age 37. Yet He has apparently used these books to touch thousands of hearts and minds. The point: What are your passions, and what are you good at? Those are your gifts and talents. Don’t use them to help God. Rather, ask Him to use your gifts for His glory.
- My writing is not for everyone. Several reviewers literally hate my work. One young lady described how she threw On The Edge against the wall, and it felt so good that she threw it again. Readers who would be perfectly fine with a vampire or a Martian impacting the story get upset when God impacts the story. Obviously everyone can have their opinions (at least until the Triggerword Police take over); for my part, I figure that at least these readers have been exposed to the Gospel. It’s our job to suit up and play the game every day; it’s God’s job to keep the score.
- I have Biblicly based beliefs about certain actions which inform my writing. Although I try to distinguish between the great worth of every person created in the image of God, and the choices/actions we often make which separate us from Him, I am nevertheless labeled by some readers as a bigot, or hateful, or worse. Because I don’t approve their behavior, some say that I must hate adulterers, the LGBT community, jihadists, abortionists, those who engage in sex outside marriage, absentee fathers, divorcees and other individuals who persist in acting against Biblical truths. Nothing could be more wrong—I love them and want them to embrace the truth, which I try to communicate with story—hopefully leading to transformation. The reality is that either I or someone very close in my family or friends would qualify under most of those behavior categories, and others. I have to love them, because they are me. But high participation rates do not make destructive behavior good for us. God warns us that there will always be negative consequences for these actions; maybe not immediately, but nevertheless inevitably. And perhaps not just for ourselves, but for our spouses, children and friends.
- Sometimes the hate hurts. Someone very close to me laughs at me and the term “Christian fiction”, because he says that all Christian thoughts are fiction. But I go on, because the truth is more important. I respect everyone’s opinions and ask the same for those of us with Christian values. I figure that at my age and being “rewired”, if I won’t speak out in love for what I believe are God’s truths, then who will? But I imagine that if I were twenty years younger and needed a real estate job at a large company, someone would complain to the HR Department about my writing, no matter my real estate credentials, and that would be the end of their consideration. I find the current state of our lack of tolerance for others’ ideas to be depressing. It can’t be far from what I imagine it was like in Germany in 1937.
- I try to be an intelligent Christian conservative, but some of my views will not sit well with people who also call themselves by that label. I believe that the War on Drugs is a complete disaster, leading to more, not less, drug use, and terrible crimes. I believe that the drinking age should be 19, not 21. What we have now pushes young people to disobey the law in general and to binge drink when they can; stupid. I don’t want a Christian theocracy, where the church and state are inseparable—clearly proven in Europe to be a recipe for disaster. Rather, like de Tocqueville observed about our nation almost 200 years ago, I want Christian truths to be woven into the fabric of our families and our communities. And that weaving starts with parents, and especially fathers, bringing faith back into everyday conversations, decisions and actions.
- I try to be an intelligent Christian conservative, so some of my views will not sit well with people who are neither Christian nor conservative. But I don’t consider those people to be my enemies. They are opportunities. Perhaps deceived, skeptical, led astray by the real enemy, spiritually floundering. But not my enemies. I’m trusting in transformation to create a better life for them with Him. I never know when God, who must draw them to Him for them to believe, will be doing His work in their lives. So I tell yet another story; maybe the seed in this particular story will finally take root in fertile soil. The point: don’t hate anyone, and keep speaking the truth.
- I started a blog in 2010 as a way to comment on the current non-fiction issues which relate to the truths in my larger fiction works. The monthly posts are generally about the intersection of faith, economics, family and government policy. As I scroll back through them, I’m pleasantly surprised to say that there is not much that I would change, even in hindsight. I think you will find the archives to be interesting and informative. If you go to parkerhudson.com/blog and look to the right, you’ll find both Categories and Tags as ways in which the posts are organized on specific subjects. Please enjoy, and please comment.
- What may I do for you? Would you like a free e-pub of Ten Lies and Ten Truths? Subscribe to my blog, and you’ll have it immediately. And do you have specific topics that you would like me to tackle in a novel, short story, or blog post? Do you have an individual perspective or story to share? Please either comment below, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What may you do for me? If you enjoy this portfolio of works, please tell others about them. If you have not read one or more of my longer works, please go to parkerhudson.com/books and take a look. And please, please, leave reviews of the books at amazon and other sites. We especially need some current reviews for Ten Lies and Ten Truths, and for The President. Reviews will be much appreciated.
So now I’m seventy, and I hope to finish a few more projects before He reassigns me. I’m currently working on a screenplay for On The Edge—please pray that it will one day be an amazing movie that will touch even more hearts and minds. And I have in the works another novel, plus a second anthology of short stories. With a small real estate investment business, five children, five grandchildren, and an incredible trophy wife of 41 years who keeps me walking many miles a week, I am not worried about finding more to do. I just continue to pray that everything I/we do will be to glorify Him. All the best.