Turning Down a Job

The contents of this post derive from a recent e-mail exchange with (at the time) a potential editing client. The premise of her novel is at direct odds with my beliefs. This is not the first time I’ve been approached to edit work opposed to my faith, politics, etc., and such a position is not a problem for editors who may have not strong stance on a particular topic. After all, a job’s a job, a check’s a check.

I’ve edited her comments to avoid giving away plot points, and I’ll provide no further commentary, but will let our messages do the talking.

Author:

My book is the redemption story of the first angel… . I’ve woven together many spiritual concepts from religions around the world and throughout history…In many cases, it seems the bad deity [Satan] is suffering from “first child syndrome”, thinking himself the most impressive and without equal. When the good deity [God] begins to care for or create humanity, the bad deity seems to throw a temper tantrum over not being quite so special anymore. It seems sad to me, as I believe if the deity would only look at himself a little differently, he would see that it is ok to share the parental attention.
…I do not know if this belongs in the premise, but the villain of the story is the archangel Gabriel.
…It really is a triumphant story. It’s about heartbreak, jealousy, and self-love, as well as forgiveness. I feel like this character–this sort of character–deserves a chance at forgiveness. Just about every single culture hates him!

Me:

When I was very young, preschool or kindergarten or thereabouts, I had a notion similar to yours: Satan’s bad, yes, but can’t he ever be redeemed? Took me a while to sort it out.

From your description of the book, you are not yourself an adherent of any particular religion, and so perhaps may not understand how or why people of faith will not welcome such a lenient perspective of Satan, or such a lowering perspective of God.

As a person of faith myself, my first thought on reading your description was a verse from the Bible: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter,” (Isaiah 5:20, NIV).

Therefore, I cannot in good conscience help — in any way — produce a book that is the antithesis of that for which I stand.

I hope you understand, and I wish you well in other writing endeavors.

 

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3 thoughts on “Turning Down a Job”

  1. Well done, beloved of your Father! I was almost squirming as I read the potential client’s words. It was painful! And I was thinking of the verse you quoted in your reply as I read. 🙂
    You may have lost a job, but what you gain is incorruptible. May the Sovereign richly bless you according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (now, that’s some riches! lol )

    1. Yes, it’s a squirmy premise, and it was presented with (dare I say?) glee. It was included in an e-mail that almost bounced, the author was so excited about it. Usually, I love it when an author’s enthusiasm is conveyed in their written words, especially when those words are well put, but I’m praying this young author finds something non-blasphemous for her next project.

      We already have enough folks writing what they call “edgy” or “innovative” material that is actually more offensive — and even boring — rather than shocking or literary. There’s as a poet I once met who wanted to see how many f-bombs or how many graphic sexual terms or images he could put into a poem and have it still remain “pretty” or literary. There’s also the “God is the villain” notion put forth by some writers i.e. in the His Dark Materials series, or the approach a screenwriter took to a recent remake of Brideshead Revisited (quote can be read in this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1431210/Hollywood-to-revisit-Waughs-Brideshead.html).

      And then there’s the Hollywood sermon about the topic du jour: for instance, Avatar, The Lorax, and many more movies preaching environmentalism, making mankind the villain of the story. (sigh) When I want a sermon, I’ll go to church.

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