Call me Chris.


I didn’t want to write about politics today. I wanted to write about my writing style. I guess I’ll have to try and marry the two together in this post.

First, when I wrote #TheBorderlands, I knew it would present challenging and, possibly, controversial topics. It was important to me to write what was in my heart. I knew I would be foregoing popularity. I knew that the very literary agencies and publishing houses I might hope to work with would be hesitant to put their name behind a book such as mine.

In writing my novel, I tried to be objective, though I’m sure I still wrote my bias into it. I tried to look at the issue of division from multiple perspectives while still maintaining fidelity to my traditional values. Only my readers can decide if I came close to that goal.

When I think about the events I wrote—events that were supposed to be fictionalized possibilities—I cannot help but reflect on Steinbeck’s non-teleological thinking and writing. I’ve posted about that term before. As a brief review, this defines “is” thinking. It seeks to address the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of events as outcomes and expressions of the human condition. It doesn’t concern itself with cause-effect in terms of what “should” happen. It articulates that Event A happened and then Event B happened. It seeks to find the relationship between the two—nothing more.

So, when I think about what “is” happening in our nation’s capital today, I am using non-teleological thinking. Many pundits are, instead, using “should” thinking. That’s all well and good. It’s important for us to reflect on what “should” or “shouldn’t” happen. At the same time, if we refuse to recognize “is” thinking, we fail to understand that people don’t make choices based on “should.” People make choices based on “is.”

People storming the capital is dangerous. The outcome is in doubt. There may be serious violence, or even worse. I hope and pray that we can have the peace we want and hope for in our lives. I’ve always wanted each of us to grow old and die in our beds after long and fulfilling lives. I can’t ignore that people have made an “is” choice and not a “should” choice.

The future will likely be uncertain for some time to come. I encourage each of us to balance our “should” thinking with our “is” thinking. This does not excuse or give any of us the right to behave in any way outside of the law. Doing so carries consequences, both legal and moral. I encourage everyone to exercise patience and follow peaceful means to express their concerns through legal channels.

Tying this back to my writing, I also encourage you to wrestle with why we need to engage in “is” thinking at least as often as we engage in “should” thinking. “Is” thinking allows us to be more objective and apply a scientific methodology to our observations. This was my hope with what I wrote. It’s my hope for our analysis of the coming days and months across our country.

God above, keep us safe. Give us Your wisdom and fill our hearts with love and patience. As always, this has been the World According to Chris.

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