Once upon a time, early on in my academic and writing career, I was invited to ghostwrite for a best-selling author (who shall remain anonymous). I recall my initial shock at the request, because, in my naïveté, I had no idea that there was any such thing as a ghostwriter. That I should write and someone else would put his or her name on what was written struck me as wrong on its face.
At the time, I understood little about the “biz,” though years later I admit—I don’t view ghostwriting much differently.
I didn’t decline the opportunity immediately. I wanted to consider carefully all the ramifications. I could see definite advantages. For the ghostwriter, there would be opportunity to become known in publishing circles, to hone one’s craft, and to develop a rapport with some well-known personalities. For the named writer, there would be the opportunity to be prolific without having to do all of the laborious footwork. In the competitive marketplace of ideas, being prolific is an inestimable advantage.
Verbal communication is one of God’s favorite inventions. He created speaking beings in His image and then spoke to them. Over the millennia, He gave visions to prophets and commanded them to speak or write what they had seen. And He inspired select prophets to write His words as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. He gave us a book.
So whenever we use words, we’re doing something of personal importance to God. And since we believers are at peace with God through Christ and represent God to a world that does not know Him, our writing and speaking carry that much more importance.
We should not be surprised, then, that Scripture has so much to say about how we use words. And we should attend energetically to how that instruction applies to posting in Internet forums.
"[C]onservative evangelicalism manages to write cris de cœur, jeremiads, and straight up polemics and write an even greater number of books that are simply edifying. We can do the same, and we owe it to Christ’s body to do so." Fundamentalist Scholarship
Moody Publishers recently released Hannah Anderson’s first book, Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image. Hannah is a familiar presence here at SI, having written articles for us in the past and often sharing her blog writing with us as well. She was happy to take the time to answer a few questions for me about the book, related themes, and writing in general.
Q. When did the idea to write about imago dei come to you and why this eventually become the focus of your project?
A. The vision to write about imago dei came because I saw a lot of young women struggling to make sense of their lives and their Christian experience. They were not rebels, but they were struggling to find fulfillment in roles and family structures alone.
Many women’s discipleship programs are framed entirely around gender. By sheer weight of conversation, these women were being taught that sanctification means becoming a certain type of woman, not being conformed to Christ’s image. The more I explored, the more I realized that (1) We were starting our conversations about calling and identity in Genesis 2 and (2) We were parsing the sum total of human experience through gender.