Thursday, November 16, 2017

Value the gift you've been given!

By Jenny Glazebrook


Do you ever wish for someone else's gift? As writers, we rarely see the result of our work. People quietly read our words in their homes. And reviews? Well, we all know how few of our readers write those! Does this make our gift feel less worthwhile? If we could sing we'd be seen up the front, we'd receive applause or at least see the faces of those we are reaching.
Instant gratification and validation.

Until 9 o'clock last night I had a different post in mind to share with you today. But then God spoke into my heart in a way I couldn't ignore and I just had to share it with you.
I was at the Kapooka Army band concert at the Wagga Wagga Christian College. Gifted students joined the Army band in a showcase of amazing talent. I sat back, soaking up the power of that music as it fed my soul.
Kapooka at the College concert
Caleb Skewes and Micah Glazebrook singing 'Fire and Rain'

During the first interval I searched the sea of faces in the audience and went to talk to one of the few ladies I knew. She told me about a church event she attended a few weeks ago. She wanted me to know that someone there shared their testimony and in it they said God had used me to lead them to Christ.

I was humbled. And blessed. God could not have chosen a better moment in time to let me have a glimpse into eternity and the way He chooses to use us and our gifts.

Why was this moment so perfect?

Because I love music. As a child it moved me like no other thing on earth could. The beauty of music and the emotions it could stir seemed to me to have a power nothing else could match. 
The problem was, I had a younger brother who was a bit of a child prodigy when it came to the piano and a sister everyone said had a natural gift for music. And I? I was so shy, so anxious that I couldn't enjoy performing. During the years I learned piano I was unwell and was diagnosed with diabetes which made my fingers less flexible and playing difficult.
I played tenor horn in the school band, but this was also difficult as I had a cleft lip and palate requiring surgeries. I had to re-learn after each surgery. I could sing on tune, but was too shy to perform.
And so I would watch others perform, and wish I had their gift. I saw the way people appreciated and responded to music - the immediate applause and the praise my siblings would receive.
I saw myself as less valuable.

But God stepped in and showed me my worth in His eyes. I was 13 when I first understood the depth of His love for me and that He made me the way I am for a reason and will use me just the way I am.

Then at 15, I was asked to share my testimony at a youth camp. I was still shy. Still in the middle of surgeries. Still learning who I was in Christ. I was so insecure and nervous that I wrote everything I wanted to say in a note book, and then in front of that camp full of teenagers, I read it out word for word in a shaking voice. I told them my story - what I had been through, and how God had shown me His great love and how real He is. I told them how I'd learned it doesn't matter what people think ... all that matters is what God thinks.
Me as a teenager

I didn't hear about the impact of that testimony until years later. There was no immediate applause, no instant gratification. I was too shy to even look at people as I read out what I had written.

But now, more and more, I hear from people like that lady last night at the concert. There is a minister who shares his testimony around the Riverina. He came to know Christ through what I wrote down and read out at that camp. He tells people what God did through the words of a shy teenager - that teenager being me, who at that age just wished I could sing and perform musically and be more outgoing.

God in his graciousness has given me a son with a musical gift. I enjoy my son's gift of music every day, and last night was blessed as he sang before a crowd of hundreds with the school and Army band backing him up. 

But ironically it was in that very place God chose to remind me of the value of the gift He has given me. Writing lasts. Writing is not a moment of high emotion and then applause. It is a beautiful, valuable gift that can outlast and outlive us.

Our gifts are not for us. They are not for our gratification or momentary fame. They are not to build up our self-esteem. They are to build others up, to lead them to Jesus, to connect them with God and encourage them into eternity in His way, in His time. And sometimes God in His graciousness allows us to see what He is doing with our gifts.

I am currently reading 'God's dangerous book' by Nick Page. It's all about the history of the Bible. And what strikes me time and time again is that most of the people I am reading about are gone, but their words remain. God still uses them.

As I drove home with my son late last night, my heart was filled with gratefulness for the gift of writing and storytelling. And I want to encourage you today: 

Value the gift you have! It is beautiful. It is powerful. And one day, in heaven, you will see the big, full, amazing picture and purpose God has in the words He has given you.


Jenny Glazebrook lives in the country town of Gundagai with her husband, Rob and 4 children along with many pets. She is the published author of 7 novels, 1 traditionally published, and 6 self published. She writes because words burn within her. She is an experienced inspirational speaker and loves to encourage others to walk closer with God and hear His voice each day. She has a Diploma of Theology and is a 4 times CALEB finalist. Jenny’s website is: www.jennyglazebrook.com



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Confessions of a frustrated reader

I've read more books this year than in any other year of my life. Exhausted, I've looked for easy, light reading. I've dropped every free women's christian fiction ebook onto my kindle.  I've read, or partially read most of them.

Confession 1. My phone is my favoured reading tool. (See pic on right) It's light, portable and convenient. It saves the page for me when I fall asleep.  I've read a few paperbacks but, when I'm tired, they seem heavy and ungainly.

Confession 2. Occasionally I've spent real dollars on a wanted book for my Kindle. The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller and Carry Me Home by Dorothy Adamek are two examples.

Confession 3. I haven't written any reviews. This gnaws at my conscience a little, but not enough to try and string a few words together. This year I've been wordless...and reviews need words.

Confession 4. Some books I will never finish. Some are so bad I delete them before they infect my Kindle! I'm a generous reader and overlook a lot of flaws to skim through a story. However if there isn't enough connection to the characters, it gets dropped. Today I started a book but there was no hook. A quarter of the way through I closed it. Will her father suicide? Will she fall into a new age affair? Well...who cares? I have no connection to the protagonist so the book becomes meaningless.

Confession 5. I read one Amish romance, by mistake. I didn't realise what it was until I was hooked and then I wanted to know what happened. But it was so sickening, unreal and ridiculous that I won't make that mistake again.

Confession 6. I've read a lot of American authors. But mostly they aren't as good as our great Aussie authors. However I've been pleased to discover Caryl McAdoo's Texas Romance series  and Sharon Srock's Inspirational Women's fiction.

Confession 7. Most Christian fiction isn't- isn't Christian at all. Some of it is religious, relying on laws and rules for plot. Some books send their characters to church, or feature a preacher. Some start each chapter with a Bible verse that has no relevance. Very few present the person of Jesus, or a character that lives in relationship with Him. Every now and then a gem will shine through and present a person that fights against negative circumstances with the love and power of God.

I guess that is why I plow through so any books, for every now and then I discover a book that shines with real Christian faith, where God is real and helps characters with their struggles, where real life problems are tackled, where the ending is unexpected.

Jo Wanmer is a lapsed writer, a pastor, wife, mother, grandmother and the daughter of the King of Kings. She lives in Queensland with her husband Steve. Her book 'Though the Bud be Bruised' was published in 2012. Other books are coming when this season is over and she finds words again.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Exploring Genres: Nonfiction



In this cross-post between Christian Writers Downunder and Australasian Christian Writers, I’ve been tasked with writing about the different types of nonfiction. This genre covers a lot of ground, from biographies of famous people to new ways with tofu, from annual reports and training manuals to news articles and blogs. First, let’s get some definitions under our collective belts.


What is Nonfiction?

In the broadest sense, nonfiction is anything based on factual information. This differs from fiction built around true events or characters. Tracy Chevalier imagined a backstory for the girl in Vermeer’s iconic painting Girl with a Pearl Earring. We understand that she took some literary licence in doing that, but it doesn’t matter. We’re happy to get swept up in the story. In contrast, readers expect that nonfiction is true, or at least a well-argued and reasoned version of the truth.



Reportage vs Creative Nonfiction

I also want to make a distinction between straight reportage and creative nonfiction. In reportage, you present the information as objectively as possible. For example, journalists report the news using the 'who, what, when, where, why and how' questions.

An intoxicated Lithuanian clown was injured this morning when his skateboard collided with a penguin on the Gold Coast Highway. The penguin remains in a fishy condition at Sea World.

Other types of nonfiction that might come under the reportage umbrella include dissertations, scientific papers, and annual reports. These documents can include opinion, interpretation and analysis, as long as such commentary is logical and consistent with the available evidence.

In creative nonfiction, you still deal with facts, but you use literary devices to convey them in an engaging way (e.g. scenes, dialogue, imagery). For example, a straight news article might report that missiles were fired over Tel Aviv, while a piece of creative nonfiction might show events through the eyes of someone holidaying in Israel at that time. (See Anna Elkins’ travel essay Of Danger and Beauty for an example).

If you would like to find out more about writing creative nonfiction, I highly recommend Lee Gutkind’s book You Can’t Make this Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between. If you would like a quicker introduction, I have a four-part series on creative nonfiction on my website. Just go to my writing tips blog and see Posts 33 to 36.

In the remainder of this post, I’ll highlight some of the main types of creative nonfiction.




Biographies, Autobiographies and Memoirs

Biographies, autobiographies and memoirs all tell about the life of someone, but they differ in terms of the author and focus.

A biography is written by someone other than the subject. For example, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxis.

In contrast, autobiographies and memoirs are written by the subject. It’s your story told in first-person. While there is some overlap between the two, memoirs tend to cover a particular theme or a shorter period in the person’s life rather than trying to include the whole saga. Jo-Anne Berthelsen’s memoir Soul Friend tells the story of her special relationship with her spiritual mentor, Joy. Other aspects of Jo-Anne’s life are only mentioned insofar as they relate to that main theme. Memoirs also typically involve more reflection, as authors look back on events and discuss what it means to them now or what they might have done differently.

For some tips on writing life stories, please see Posts 8 to 11 on my blog.


‘How-To’ Books

As the name suggests, these types of books give readers practical instructions for accomplishing certain tasks. Whether it’s upcycling or unicycling, preparing a sermon or peppering a salmon, there’s bound to be a book or article to show what you need to know.

Christine Dillon’s book Telling the Gospel Through Story is a good example. Christine draws on her experiences in cross-cultural mission work to show readers how they can use stories to talk to people about their faith

There are also a myriad of writing craft books that show you how to show, and tell you how to tell. Some favourites of mine are Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and Story Genius by Lisa Cron. (Click here to see my post on how to use Cron’s techniques to deepen character in fiction).




Self-Help Books

Self-help books are like ‘how-to’ guides for your life. Some of these books help you deal with challenging situations (e.g. abuse, addiction, depression, parenting, singleness), while others help you to lead a more fulfilling life.

A number of Christian living books fall within this category. In her book Beyond Betrayal: How God is Healing Women (and Couples) From Infidelity, Lisa Taylor shares her own story, but also discusses research, strategies and resources to help people who’ve been through similar experiences. 

Other examples include Bill Hybel’s Simplify: Ten Practices to Declutter Your Soul and Cloud and Townsend’s Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life.


Expository Books

I’m using this term in a very broad sense to refer to books that describe or explain information surrounding a particular topic. It could be a book about brain surgery, global warming, literature, theology, politics, cricket, history, psychology, or the companions of Dr Who. The main aim is to inform the reader about the topic. For example, Mark Worthing combines literature and history in his book Narnia, Middle-Earth and the Kingdom of God: A History of Fantasy Literature and the Christian Tradition.






Most theological books would come under the expository banner (e.g. God’s Priority: World-Mending and Generational Testing by Anne Hamilton). Devotional books or Bible studies could also fall within this category, though the more applied devotionals may fit better in the self-help category.





Poetry and Song

Whoa! What are poetry and song doing in a post about nonfiction? Long before books and television were readily available to the masses, true stories were passed from village to village by poets and balladeers. These methods are of course still used today. In the latest Poetica Christi anthology, Wonderment, I have a poem called Apollo 8 in which I tell the story of the astronauts who read from the book of Genesis in a Christmas Eve broadcast from lunar orbit in 1968. You can hear part of the original broadcast here. Even if you don’t know a lot of poetry, I’m sure you can think of dozens of songs based on true stories (e.g. Hurricane by Bob Dylan, I Was Only 19 by Red Gum and The Outlaw by Larry Norman).


Wrap Up

As I mentioned earlier, there are dozens of sub-genres within nonfiction and I’ve only scratched the surface. There is also a lot of overlap across categories. For example, Ruth Bonetti combines family memoir with the political undercurrents of the times in her award-winning book Burn my Letters: Tyranny to Refuge.







Even if you mainly write fiction, you could make the odd foray into the nonfiction world. Perhaps you could write a magazine article about the nineteenth century fashions worn by your heroine or the science behind the gene therapy in your young adult thriller. Anthologies also provide opportunities for short nonfiction pieces (e.g. The Gecko Renewal and Other Stories of Life edited by Tabor College lecturers James Cooper and Mark Worthing).





What are your favourite nonfiction books and why? I’d love to hear your examples.



Nola Passmore is a writer and editor who has had more than 150 short pieces published, including fiction, poetry, devotions, magazine articles, academic papers and true stories.  She and her husband Tim own their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish.  She is currently writing an ever-changing novel and will have the draft finished by Christmas ... really!



Thursday, November 2, 2017

So many writers, so many stories

In recent years, I have been to many writers’ conferences, seminars and workshops. I remember attending my first ‘writery’ event at the NSW Writers’ Centre in 2004 and wondering what I was doing there. How did I ever think I could write a book worthy of publication? Everyone seemed so much more knowledgeable about the whole writing endeavour. Everyone seemed so much more confident and talented. Everyone seemed so much ... er ... well ... younger!

Photo courtesy Margaret Holahan
Last weekend, I attended the Omega Writers’ Conference in Sydney. It was a large conference, with almost a hundred attendees on the Saturday—for an excellent conference report by Narelle Atkins, please see her Australasian Christian Writers' blog. Again, so many knowledgeable and talented authors were present. Again, there were those more confident than others. And again too, so many seemed so much younger than I am—I remember telling someone there I felt about 110! But did I feel intimidated and out of place, as I had at that first ‘writery’ event I attended? Not at all.

Of course, thirteen years have passed since my initial foray into ‘writery’ circles. In that time, I have had eight books published. And this conference was about the sixth or seventh Omega event where I have been a presenter. But I believe there were also other reasons I experienced such a wonderful sense of belonging rather than those awful feelings of being a fraud or an interloper, sneaking into a place where I should not be.

For a start, I felt a great, inclusive warmth everywhere, that I hope each delegate experienced as well. People seemed genuinely interested in one another. People were friendly and helpful. People freely shared knowledge and expertise. People cared. It seemed to me that the whole Christian ethos behind this Omega event permeated everything and made such a difference.

Photo courtesy Margaret Holahan
But I think it was also the great diversity of writers present that enabled me—and hopefully everyone
—to feel at home. There were delegates present from almost every state in Australia (plus one New Zealander!), from both city and country regions and backgrounds.  Among these delegates were some at the very beginning of their writing journey, still thinking about whether this is what God has for them to do next, while others were multi-published authors. There were many different Christian denominations represented, although there was no real need even to discuss such issues. Yes, again there were many eager young faces everywhere, speaking of so many stories yet to surface and so much giftedness to share with the world. But there were also the more mature faces, speaking of deep experiences and insights gained that need to be heard and celebrated and valued.

I came away from the conference with the image of a beautiful, glistening opal clear in my mind. It has so much depth of colour that seems to glow and pulsate with promise, revealing itself differently from each and every angle. So ... may you all as writers, whether you attended this conference or not, know you belong, that your writing is valuable, that you add depth and colour to this unique opal and that you are part of something wonderful God is constantly fashioning and polishing to bless and reveal the Creator’s loving heart to the world.


Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and two non-fiction works, ‘Soul Friend’ and ‘Becoming Me’. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com

Monday, October 30, 2017

CWD Highlights July-October 2017

Christian Writers Downunder is a diverse group of writers, editors, bloggers, illustrators. As a group we support each other through our facebook page and blog. Today's blog will highlight some of the achievements of our members from July-October 2017


Awards


Congratulation the winners and runners up of the CALEB prize

On Saturday night at the Omega Writers Conference, the 2017 CALEB prize was announced.

Overall winners: 

Winner:
Charlie Frank is OK by Cecily Anne Paterson

Runner Up:
Small and Big - Karen Collum illustrated by Ben Wood

Category winners:

2017 CALEB ~ Published Non-Fiction

Winner:
Burn My Letters: Tyranny to Refuge - Ruth Bonetti

Finalists:
Heaven Tempers the Wind - Hazel Barker
Becoming Me - Jo-Anne Berthelsen
Burn My Letters: Tyranny to Refuge - Ruth Bonetti

2017 CALEB ~ Published Fiction

Winner:
Charlie Frank is OK - Cecily Anne Paterson

Finalists:
Daystar: The Days are Numbered - Anne Hamilton
Forgiving Sky - Jenny Glazebrook
Amazing Grace - Elaine Fraser
Charlie Frank is OK - Cecily Anne Paterson

2017 CALEB ~ Children’s Picture Books
Winner:
Small and Big - Karen Collum illustrated by Ben Wood

Finalists:
The Mighty, Mighty King Christmas Book - Penny Morrison illustrated by Lisa Flanagan
Small and Big - Karen Collum illustrated by Ben Wood
My Imagination - written and illustrated by Ellen Wildig

2017 CALEB ~ Unpublished Manuscript

Winner:
Siren’s Fight - Kristen Young

Finalists:
In the Middle of the Whirlwind - Hannah Currie
The Gryphon Key - Elizabeth Klein
Siren’s Fight - Kristen Young
Holy War - Anthony Peterson

Other Awards

In other news - Susan Preston received an a Finalist Award in the IAN Book of the Year Awards for Light of Truth, Book 3 in her Apostle John Series. Book 4 of the same series, Keep the Flame was a finalist in the Christian Historical Fiction section of the 2017 Readers Choice Awards. 

Amazon link https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Preston/e/B00BDY9BQ6/

New releases

Melissa Gijsbers - Lizzy's Dragon

Melissa released children's book, Lizzy's Dragon in September. The Launch was on September 7 at Reading's Children's Bookshop in Carlton.




When Lizzy finds an odd looking egg in the forest behind her house she decides to hide it in her bedroom in the hope that it will hatch into a lizard. What she gets is ‘Bubbles’, the oddest, fastest growing lizard she has ever seen. It doesn’t take long for her annoying little brother to discover her secret pet. It also doesn’t take long for Bubbles to grow out of her room. Lizzy begins to wonder whether Bubbles is a lizard at all, or something even more amazing. But how will Lizzy keep Bubbles a secret? And what will happen to Bubbles if anyone finds out about him?
Title: Lizzy's Dragon
Publisher: Stone Table Books
Buy link: http://stonetablebooks.com/product/lizzys-dragon/




D J Blackmore - Folly

D J Blackmore released book 2, Folly on October 2 2017

In 1822 the colony bells of Newcastle chime for a wedding but Emma Colchester's cousin is nowhere to be found. The family face their worst fears and fingers of blame are pointed too close to home. Emma's future with Tobias threatens to unravel. The walls of a homestead standing by The Hunter River hold the clue, and Emma risks everything in finding out the truth.

Folly is a sequel of Charter to Redemption. Although not strictly a 'stand alone sequel' it's not necessary to pick up book one to enjoy book two.


Publisher: D. J. Blackmore
Links: djblackmore.com.au
Biography: Often at a dirt track watching my husband race motorcycles, with a laptop in my arms and a head full of ideas.


Deidre is offering a Giveaway: The first reader to send an email to the author via her website will win an author signed copy of Folly.

TP Hogan - Extinct

T P Hogan released Extinct on 7th October. 

Everyone knows Thylacines are extinct. The truth is more complicated. Thylacines are real but the secret that hides their existence has trapped them in a half-life, and only one person can set them free.

Sent to live in Tasmania, Australia, with a father she’s never met, Ginny Martin’s mission is to lay low and get through the school year. That is until she sees that first ghostly creature. Refusing to believe she’s going crazy, Ginny will not stop until she’s unearthed the truth behind the silver apparitions.

Bio: TP Hogan writes speculative fiction. This allows her to escape...and explore hidden worlds, inhabited by the creatures of her imagination, and she invites you to join her in these realms.

Buy Link: Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/2y4lggn




Author: Catriona McKeown - The Boy in the Hoodie


Cate McKeown, Omega 2016 winner, is releasing The Boy in the Hoodie November 1st, 2017

Kathleen Morrow is a Pastor's kid struggling to find her place in the world. To protect a friend she lands herself in detention, where she meets a boy with a serious reputation. As an unlikely friendship develops between the two, Kat realises her own problems are insignificant compared to the ones this boy hides under his grey hoodie. And now he's asking for her help. How far is she prepared to go to help him? Kat must choose between the future she wants and a friendship unlike any she has ever known before.

Catriona McKeown is a teacher in country Queensland, where she lives with her husband and three daughters.

Publisher: Rhiza Press
Purchase link: https://www.koorong.com/search/product/the-boy-in-the-hoodie-catriona-mckeown/9781925563207.jhtml

Jeanette O'Hagan - Akrad's Children

Jeanette O'Hagan released Akrad's Children, the first novel in her Akrad's Legacy series. 

Four young lives, a realm ravaged by war, a haunting legacy

Four young lives are bound together in friendship, love, rivalry and tragedy. A realm ravaged by civil war, a ruler scarred by betrayal, a legacy that haunts them all.

Caught between two cultures, a pawn in a deadly power struggle, Dinnis longs for the day his father will rescue him and his sister from the sorcerer Akrad’s clutches. But things don’t turn out how Dinnis imagines and his father betrays him.

Does Dinnis have a future among the Tamrin? Will he seek revenge for wrongs like his sister or forge a different destiny? 

Publisher: By the Light Books

Other News:


Adam David Collings also released Earth's Remnant the first in his Jewel of the Stars series 

Christine Dillon will release her debut novel Grace in Disguise and released a non-fiction book Stories aren't just for kids: Busting 10 myths about Bible storytelling in October 2017.


CWD members have also had stories and poems accepted in a number of anthologies:

Nola Passmore, Raelene Purtill and Jeanette O'Hagan in Futurevision (1231 Publishing, Sept 2017)

Raelene Purtill, Jeanette O'Hagan and Jenny Woolsey in Redemption (BentBanana Books, Oct 2017)


Jeanette O'Hagan has stories in Tales From the Underground (Inklings Press: Oct 2017) and Quantum Soul (Oct 2017)

Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones and Jeanette O'Hagan had a stall at Oz Comic Con Brisbane in September.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Me Too




Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/FrameAngel
Well, me too. How ‘bout that?

It’s a subject I notice Christians seem to be skirting around, not addressing from any aspect, let alone a scriptural one.

So…me too. I’m one of tens of millions, probably more. For women in this lucky country…Australia…the figure sits at a disturbing one in five women. Look around you. Yes, you! In Church. Look around you. One in five females has been a victim of sexual violence. That’s not counting every-day, garden-variety sexual harassment. If we factor that in, I reckon the figure is more like one in one. That’s all of us. Married. Single. Engaged. Divorced. It doesn’t matter. We’re all ‘fair game.’

The ‘Me Too’ campaign has erupted in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein expose. In case you haven’t caught up on the news this fortnight and don’t know who Weinstein is, I’ll briefly recap.
Harvey Weinstein is a vastly successful, renowned and widely lauded movie producer. He is, of course, also immensely wealthy. That goes with the territory.

So too, it seems, does an enormous sense of entitlement that underpins the ugly underbelly of the current climate of rampant narcissistic machismo that sets the tone for our entertainment industry. He has, seemingly without reservation, propositioned, touched, threatened and downright sexually assaulted (let’s call it for what it is…raped!) huge numbers of actresses…sorry ‘actor is now the politically correct term. But the ‘actors’ he targets are all female. So far he’s been accused by around 50 women and that figure is escalating by the day.

Some of his targets have tried to report his actions. Others have been cowed. The overwhelming complicity from other men in the industry is, possibly, even more disturbing (and I’ll never watch another Matt Damon movie again. And then there’s Tarantino, not so much of a surprise but a bigger disappointment, given the sway he holds in the industry. He’s sorry now, but hey, too late). They knew. They observed. They were told. But they did nothing. It would compromise their careers if they did. Actually, I have that wrong. They did more than nothing. They actively worked to cover up Weinstein’s sexual abuse and harassment. And so, these women were left unprotected…un-championed. Disbelieved. And so they were shut up.

The real ‘shock’, however, (not to me) is that women the world over…ordinary women with ordinary jobs and lives and families, experience the same humiliation and degradation that well-known actresses are only just now feeling safe enough to expose. Think about that. Wealthy, ’perfect’ women in privileged positions, living fairy-tale lives, are only just now gaining the fortitude and courage to tell the sordid stories that are part and parcel of their daily existence.

Their stories have been enormously triggering for women and girls the world over. Add to that the widespread lack of empowerment the average woman experiences, even in this so-called enlightened age, where women are supposedly valued and equal…and you have a seething, boiling, wave of anger and resentment that is gaining momentum with every ‘me too’ posted on social media. Many of us don’t know what to do with the pain that is rising to the surface; pain we bury deep in order to survive just being female in this world. We desperately hope the whole thing doesn’t just fizzle and die, and yet, it may well do.

I have absolutely no idea how I would navigate life with its everyday experiences that include, for me as for so many, the degradation and humiliation of being reduced to an object of little value; something to be judged, sentenced, tortured and humiliated by the very beings God put on this earth to protect me and provide for me - I do not know how I would have survived so far without Jesus. I truly don’t.

I’ve worked in a Christian counselling environment wherein I was entrusted with the files and stories of hundreds of people, right here where I live, in this small, conservative, and overwhelmingly Christian city. If you’re under the illusion things are vastly different in Christian communities, please think again. The complicity of the Christian hierarchy mirrors that of the secular world. In many ways, it’s worse. There’s more than just a cover up. There is enablement through lack of condemnation for the perpetrators’ actions, a noticeable absence of any consequences and a widespread hushing up of victims.

Overall, there’s still a distressing tendency for the blame to be placed on ‘Eve’. Where there is seduction, she (the woman), is all-too-often deemed the temptress, even if she has rebuffed the advances. If sexual harassment has taken place and is made public, it’s overwhelmingly the woman who loses face, support and fellowship within the Church. She is far too often cast out of the community…while ‘he’ remains in leadership and worship positions. He is forgiven and allowed to continue his spiritual life, without missing a beat. She is left floundering, wandering alone in the desert…to pick up the threads…start a new life…somewhere else where she hopes they know nothing of her past.

Yes, I have witnessed it. Yes, I have experienced it. Not just harassment (as if that’s a trivial thing?) but sexual abuse and rape. I’m here. I’m raw. I’m telling it like it is.

I’ve experienced it first hand, and through the stories of hundreds of others.

So, yes. Me too. I have a tender saviour, who holds me so gently, and yet with such power and strength. In the final analysis, I’m okay.

But the Body of Christ has the distraught and damaged spirits of many of its women to answer for. We cry out for understanding and help. We reach out, mostly, to each other – other women who feel our feminine pain.

And yet…it is not yet enough.

I don’t propose to have the answers or the expertise to suggest a course of action but I do feel compelled to bring this issue before you all; to ask the question; to open the dialogue. We have an opportunity to be part of a massive wave of change and healing that will benefit the entire Christian community. Half the body of Christ is deeply wounded…and floundering.

Let’s go to Jesus with that, shall we? Men and women alike.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's Conference Time!




Omega Writers Australasia will be meeting this coming weekend for their annual conference, and it is set to be a great weekend meeting our writing friends from around Australia and New Zealand, and engaging in some first class learning with our conference speakers.

We are thrilled to have had a number of businesses join us as partner sponsors, and as a result we have been able to bring in a couple of sought after speakers who I know will bring another level again to those of us who have been writing in Australia for many years.

Added to this, we will have the CALEB Prize awards evening, where we will recognise Australasian Christian writers in different genres. Our partner sponsors have generously contributed towards the prizes that will be awarded to our winners.

I would like to take a moment to mention some of our partner sponsors, and ask that you would consider them if you are in need of this sort of service:

Tabor College – Education in creative writing
Ingram Spark – Self-publishing and Print on Demand specialists
Book Whispers – Writing and self-publishing assist specialists
Finesse Writing Services – Writing and self-publishing specialists
Breath of Fresh Air Publishing
Cam Print – Screen print and embroidery for t-shirts, corporate wear and caps
Simon Malcolm Productions – Video production specialist
Rosanna White – Graphic designer specialising in book covers
Christian Super – Superannuation specialists
Christian Editing Services – Professional and respected editor
Details for all these partner sponsors can be found on OmegaWriters website 



I hope to see many of you at the conference, and that you will enjoy the workshop streams that are being offered. If you have been unable to make it this year, the good news is that it has already been booked in again for next year. This time we will be headed to beautiful Adelaide, South Australia, and now would be a good time to make a plan to join us in twelve months time.

I have only just finished up a skype session with our Omega Screen Writers group this evening, and we have talked about trying to introduce a new stream to next year’s conference especially for writers of screenplay.

Don’t forget that there are writing chapters functioning around the country, so if you’d like to get together with other writers and can’t wait until October next year, look up the groups that may be functioning in a place near you.

As always, I like to remind members of Australasian Christian Writers and Christian Writers Downunder that Omega Writers continues to function because we have financial members. If you believe in the work that we do, and the services we provide, I would encourage you to consider becoming a financial member. There are benefits to be had. More information on this is on our website.

I would like to take this opportunity to bless you in your writing journey, and pray that you will continue to grow in God and as a writer.

Best regards


Meredith Resce
President
Omega Writers Australasia