Writing about Issues of the Day by Violet Nesdoly

There are plenty of important issues in our world these days with expertise and opinions floating around about them on TV, radio, the internet, books, and magazines. From the state of U.S. politics to the moral climate of Canada, most Christian writers probably have opinions about these things. I know I do. Most of the time, though, I don’t go out of my way to share them. Here are some reasons why:

  1. It takes a lot of time and energy to become informed and then write, post (or publish), and handle the fallout that can accompany issue-related writing.
  2. Along that line, it has been my custom to leave commentary on issues to the specialists—those who have set out to become informed and thus reliable voices on various hot topics (like Denyse O’Leary on science and Intelligent Design; Sheila Gregoire on marriage and relationships; Suzanne Fortin on the prolife movement). I can help to amplify their reach, however, by liking, sharing, quoting, and linking to writings of theirs with which I agree.
  3. In my devotional writing, I stick with what the Bible says about controversial subjects like marriage, sexuality, the sanctity of life, involvement with the occult, the existence of hell, etc. In the context of modern Canadian society, the Bible’s take on these things has become quite controversial. When I address these issues on my Other Food Devos blog, I do my best to relate and practically apply what the Bible says to everyday contemporary life. This would be my most overt act of “shining light’ on issues. It also fits with the plumb-line phrase that I hope defines my writing: Bringing the Bible to Life.
  4. When it comes to secular politics where Christians disagree even with each other, I’d rather be silent than cause a rift between me and my Christian brothers and sisters. This is especially true of grey (versus black-or-white) areas of lifestyle, ecology, left or right government.
  5. The times I am most tempted to share my opinion on issues are when my emotions have been aroused. Rather than get into a sarcastic, insult-slinging duel, I have determined to remain silent until the heat in me passes. It’s amazing how that settling of emotion also takes away that “I’ve got to say something” feeling.
  6. I have determined that I would rather focus on the positive message of the gospel than be a lightning rod for controversy. Until my assignment changes, I will continue to think twice and three times before sharing my opinions on issues of which I’m a novice.

In addition to the above, In the past, I also have written letters to the editor of the local paper, e-mailed my MP urging him to vote in a way that would support freedom of speech and religion, tackled difficult subjects (like homelessness) in my poetry, and in 2015 I researched and wrote an essay about gender identity (mainly because the issue troubled me; researching and writing about it helped to clarify my thoughts).

One time I am definitely not quiet about these things, however, is when I’m talking to the Lord. I do pray about hot button issues. In that way, I think of myself as a secret agent, working against secular society on many issues dear to them. I pray too for wisdom to know when to speak out, what to say when I do, and the grace to say it in the right way and spirit.

What about you? Do you “shine light on important issues”? Why or why not? If you do speak out, where and how are you most likely to do it?

Violet Nesdoly lives near Vancouver B.C. and has been active in freelance writing for 20 years. She has had articles, stories, poetry, reviews, and devotions published in a variety of print and online publications, has published two books of poems, Calendar (2004) and Family Reunion (2007), and the novel Destiny’s Hands (2012). Her most issue-oriented writing is found in her devotional blog: Other Food – Daily Devos, where following the Canadian Bible Society daily reading schedule opens the door for her to relate the Bible to everyday life

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