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Bats Do Not Belong in Church

September 29, 2011

“Nobody will publish my book with swear words!”  The lady said this with such anger that I was afraid she might insert a swear word or two right then and there.

I was attending one of my first Christian writer’s conferences and had sat in on a class about how to give a successful elevator speech (30 second pitch you would give if you providentially ended up on an elevator with the agent or publisher of your dreams).  Instead of giving her half minute proposal, this poor woman was venting her frustration on what was apparently a long string of rejections based on the fact that she wouldn’t take the swear words out of her book. 

Trying to hold the giggles at bay, I pinched my leg hard while the shocked instructor mumbled something about how most Christians don’t want to read swear words even if they do add a realistic element to the writing – swear words just don’t belong in Christian books.

I found it interesting, however, that at the same conference, almost every editor and publisher was looking for the Christian version of the vampire book craze.  “If we could get a wholesome vampire book for the Christian community, it would sell like hotcakes; so sharpen your pencils, writers.”

This was shocking to me.  Do we really need Christian vampire books?  Somehow this fits into the “just doesn’t belong” category.   

This past Sunday, however, I thought perhaps I’d found the Christian version that might work after all.  Clinging to the ceiling of our auditorium was a bat – not exactly a vampire, but aren’t they in the same family as vampires?  I grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures.  Such excitement reigned!   

Brave men catch the bat!

Odd thing though, nobody thought the bat fit in at church.  Everyone shrank back while a crew of brave men captured the terrified creature in a huge jar.  People were saying things like, “they bite,” and “they carry disease,” and my favorite “they fly into women’s hair.”  When he was safely captured, all of the children, plus me, crowded in for a closer look.   (My brother, Ethan, informed me that I was the worst offender.)  At length we started church without the bat because bats don’t belong in church.

Captured - in the jar

I’m afraid we sometimes forget about God’s holiness when we start trying to make things belong in our lives.  We attempt to make things that are contaminated by the world’s impurity fit with God’s nature and instead of ending up with something that is wholesome, we pollute what was once pure.

Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  II Cor. 6:17-18

With the freedom we have in Christ comes great responsibility.  As you endeavor to live in a world where lines of right and wrong are often blurred, keep your eyes fixed on the holiness of God.  What doesn’t belong will become as clear as swear words in your writing or bats at church.

Not that kind of a bat....that's that's a bat. Artwork by Amanda

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 3:31 pm

    EEEWWW! I don’t know what bothers me more, the thought of a bat in church or the thought of Christian vampire books. I think the Christian vampire books. No, I KNOW it would be Christian vampire books. What happened with Christians avoiding the things of the world? I loved how you drew out the fact that bats do not belong in the church.

    • September 29, 2011 9:59 pm

      I’m with you Mindy. I don’t like bats, but I hate the idea of trying mesh something like vampires with our faith in God.

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