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Doctrine in dialogue format
JUST AS I AM
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived
"Not at all Mr Busybody. You see there are certain requirements one must meet in order to produce a successful book. One of those requirements is that one write what people want to hear. Of course the world beats a well-trodden path for fantasy and other forms of fiction, but they are reluctant to release their hard-earned money for those things that will most benefit them both psychologically and spiritually."
"I see. Then do I take it correctly that you have combined both the spiritual and fantasy in your new book Ms Baseborn? I can see how such a juncture might assure success."
"I have indeed Mr Busybody. As you know the world is set ablaze in search of things spiritual. However, the path the world takes is toward that of fantasy as I have already stated. They seek such things as magic and violence in their spirituality, and a tad of a-hem, sex, doesn't hurt the sales of one's book either."
"Then I assume Ms Baseborn that you have combined all these ingredients in your book as well?"
"I have indeed Mr Busybody, I have indeed."
"Having laid a foundation, could you tell us a little about your book and why it might be beneficial to those in the market for a book on the spiritual side? First, would you tell me the audience you have chosen to aim your book toward?"
"I find the largest number of consumers for the type of book I am writing is the Christian market Mr Busybody. But because the Christian religion is so very diversified and conflicting a writer must be very careful to not appear biased toward one set of doctrines or another. They all seek the things the world looks for in a book, but it must be tastefully presented as to be bland. I, as a writer, am free to use my imagination to whatever degree I choose in the Christian genre, just as long as I stay within an accepted bounds. And although theologically I am restricted, in the realm of fantasy I am given free reign."
"I see. And may I ask what you have chosen to tell the world of the churches about the Christian life? Are you perhaps endeavoring to sell your own philosophy as so many others writers in your field appear to be doing?"
"Sell? No Mr Busybody, the only thing I wish to sell is my book, not my way of life, although I think it would do a person well to follow my example."
"And just what is that example you offer Ms Baseborn? By the title of your book I'm assuming you have a Christian bent to your writing. Is it a call for excellence in the lives of Christians you seek?"
"Excellence is a very limiting factor Mr Busybody. When a writer, a speaker, or a preacher for that matter endeavors to drive their reader or their listener to perfection, they may capture the attention of a few hearty souls in the beginning, but they will lose them rather quickly when their followers find they are not up to the challenge. No Mr Busybody, the road to success is not to seek success, but to aim for the banal, the lowest level of acceptability. In so doing one can capture the attention of the greatest number of listeners."
"I'm sorry Ms Baseborn, I'm afraid you've lost me. Can you offer an example of such a theory so it can be better understood by me and my listening audience?"
"Certainly Mr Busybody. I will use as an example the field of dieting. I might write a series of articles on the benefit of achieving ideal weight through strict diet, healthy living, and much exercise. In so doing I will very likely attract a few hearty souls who are serious about losing weight and becoming healthy. But I will have lost all the multitudes of those who desire the end results, but who do not have the gumption and fortitude to leave their present mode of living that is the cause of their poor health. On the other hand, if I were to sell a series of books on the benefits of eating junk food, the beauty of fat, and the concept that a person is ok, even desirable the way they are, I will be able to hold many more of my listeners. Does this make the picture any clearer Mr Busybody?"
"I believe it does Ms Baseborn, but I do have a question or two to ask regarding your response. In the last scenario you presented, those who you have convinced that they don't have to lose weight, that they are ok the way they are, wouldn't that attitude be detrimental to their health and well being? Wouldn't it fly in the face of reason and contradict every medical finding?"
"Certainly it would Mr Busybody, but it would sell books."
"But isn't that a bit devious Ms Baseborn? Don't you think a degree of ethical reasoning should be involved in writings such as you have undertaken?"
"Writing, as in any enterprise, is a business Mr Busybody. For instance, have you ever been to Carnegie Hall?"
"Yes I have Ms Baseborn. And your point is?"
"Carnegie Hall has a fine reputation for presenting the best of entertainment, has it not? But let's say that appreciation for the fine arts was to fall off drastically, but the appeal toward Acid Rock, or Hindu chants, or Old Time Christian music was to be on the rise; do you think Carnegie Hall would protect its reputation and bite the bullet, maybe even close its doors while continuing in its present course? Or do you think it would relent and go where the appeal and the money is?"
"I suppose they would follow the appeal and the money Ms Baseborn. But if I recall correctly, your book doesn't cater to the world of entertainment but to those seeking Christian enlightenment. Don't you find a difference in values here?"
"I write books Mr Busybody. My purpose is to sell books. I'm not a preacher selling my church or my beliefs. I write for those seeking to hear what they want to hear, not for those striving to be more than they are. The market is very slim for the serious in any field, certainly that of religion. It's the same with any form of literature or even music. Consider the song from which I took the title of my book, Just As I Am. If the song had been entitled Be The Most You Can Be Or Else, how popular do you think it would be today? I dare say no one would ever have heard it played on the airwaves at any time. No Mr Busybody, one must aim for the baseline, the lowest level of acceptance if they are to sell whatever it is they sell. The hard and effectual diet would not sell, but the come-as-you-are and the you're-ok-just-the-way-you-are, like the fat diet I told you of earlier, sells like hot cakes. You see this everywhere. You see it on cereal boxes, in automobile commercials, even in the churches. Everyone changes to meet the demands of the public. They must do so or die. Can you see this Mr Busybody?"
"I see it Ms Baseborn, but I have questions regarding your concept. I think of your example of the fat diet. In the end, regardless of how much better you might have caused a person to feel about their ill health, they are still taking a great risk that they will suffer much grief and ill health and die earlier. And in your last example, that of playing close to the danger line of Spiritual acceptance, those who have followed your advise and have found themself to have fallen short will suffer an eternity of loss. Doesn't this cause you to wonder about your motives and your moral responsibly?"
"I sell books Mr Busybody. I write what people buy. If people wanted to improve their spirituality and seek a closer relationship with God then they do the world, then I would write to such an audience. As it is today, I wouldn't even be able to get my books placed on the list, because there isn't a market for high spirituality. It's a business Mr busybody. It's a business."
12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)
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