A friend of mine wanted to get in touch with me urgently this evening and I was, as one might imagine, rather curious to know why. As it happens, the friend was doing a presentation on some of the subjects he had written about in previous books and wanted a friendly member of the audience for his talk, so I told him to send me a link and we discussed some of the dramatic events that had taken place since we had chatted last, which included a discussion of his struggle with metastatic lung cancer, which is apparently for the moment in remission. Given that context, though, what I would like to discuss is the implications of one of the things he mentioned, and that was that he was in the beginning stages of writing another book. While this book is about a subject in which there is a large degree of potential pitfall, I found what he had to say about his approach to writing something worthwhile to comment upon as it is similar to my own approach.
One of the things that I tend to find amusing is that a great many books are written that do not need to be written. As a longtime book reviewer for publishers, I have read a great many books that were written because someone thought that they needed to write a book about some subject even if they had nothing creative and original to offer and indeed offered something that was markedly inferior to books on the subject that already existed. Do we really need, for example, any more books that offer half-baked theories of biblical or historical subjects? Do we need more antinomian misinterpretations of Paul, or misguided critical theories about the Bible and other subjects that reveal little else except for the fevered imagination of authors with no relation to facts and truth? I think not. Yet many books are written because people want the recognition of being an author or the line on one’s cv that says that they have written books on a given subject that needs to be covered, without having anything striking or worthwhile to say that has not been said better before.
This implies, though, that there are worthwhile books which may be written, and as a writer, I obviously have hope that what I write (at least some of what I write) falls into such categories. My friend, for example, tends to write books laboriously after a great deal of research and those books tend to flow into other books. An interest in biblical history and prophecy and the subject of the pyramids, for example, flowed naturally into the writing of several books on the subject, and one of these matters, an understanding of the chronology of the 70 weeks prophecy, led into the book that he is working on at present. This is a natural proliferation of books. We write about a subject, and that interest in the subject and that writing on the subject leads us to explore implications and consequences of what we have written about before, leading us to write more and more that is striking because of the depth of research and the breadth of our understanding and interest that we have, to say nothing of a unique and unusual perspective on such things. And when one knows a lot about a subject, is deeply interested in a subject, and has a perspective that others do not tend to share, this is precisely when one should write, because one has something to offer that is not likely to be found elsewhere.
This is something that can be said to be a general principle. Even where we do not gain more information from a source, if such a source reveals to us a perspective that allows us greater understanding of how others think and behave, such a source is worthwhile. To the extent that we care about those who write, we will also find it of interest what their writing reveals about the workings of their heart, mind, and spirit. These are worth knowing if the person is worth knowing. Writing that springs organically from one’s own lived experience or one’s intense studies may not always be accurate or may not always be insightful, but it is honest, at least, and that honesty is something worth respecting. When we pay attention to the work of a creative person, we gain some understanding of that person in the moment of time it took to create that work. There are a variety of grounds upon which we may praise this, and one of those grounds is through the self-revelation that inevitably follows from creation. We cannot help but to reveal ourselves when we create something genuinely and personally, and that sort of revelation is always worth something.