Revolution: A Blessing Over My Own Book
In the Haines house, we listen to Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Neil Young, and Simon & Garfunkle. I can sing you every word of the Greatest Hits albums of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Doors. Add to that, I’m a child of the 90s, so I’m riddled with lyrics from Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction, and Tupac Shakur. Not only am I a time borrower, but I am also a strong sympathizer with those who long for a better way, even if I disagree about the way. I love a revolutionary, the beautiful Bob Marleys of the world.
The men in my bloodline, before my young daddy, were much older fathers, and so I am only 5 generations down the line from Andrew Carothers, born in 1739, a man who fought and was wounded in the Battle of King’s Mountain in the Revolutionary War. My great-grandfather knew very old men who fought red coats. Oral tradition is as strong as war-memory for my line. This is part of what bore in me a strong sense of belonging to another time (another planet, sometimes), and it has also bore a tension pulled like bobbing thread between Revolution and Rebellion.
Picture my high school self here, not caught dead dressing like any other one person on the planet. I rode in beat-up VWs. I rolled my own joints. I questioned The Man before I ever knew who the man was. It’s silly to say out loud now, because I was a child, but this is my history. We were in the South, where people own their land and guard it with guns. I was in the time on the cusp of crystal meth and a people who by god made their own way to destruction. I’m aware of rebellion. I know how easy it is for the revolutionary to sink her teeth deep into rebellion.
However, the fear of being associated among the rebellious doesn’t stop me from questioning everything. Those who accept the Poet’s mantel, we miserably flawed ones, we cannot be who we are until we shirk the fear. When I see masses walking one way, I assume I should walk opposite or at least stand back a little, and we would all do well to question anything that promises us glory, kingdom, or power.
I’m not sure if it’s the suave thing to talk about or not, but my book proposal was made available to publishers this week, and the book I am writing is important to me. I will write it, regardless, but I found myself praying a few nights ago that it be not a beloved book if its beloved-ness were meant to tidy me or make my britches too small. I prayed that my books would be as good and true as any honest writer could make them. I prayed that when the character tangles with desire, I would write it. When she tangles with the God who makes her limp, I will let her mouth whisper the words of holy tongue. I prayed I would never not miss home, that my homesickness would make me worse and worse of a machine-molded Christian. I prayed to be wild.
I want you to buy my books, and I want to be successful, but at the same time, I know what fame does, and I want to rage against it. It has created some of the loneliest people I’ve known. It can take good folks with dirt under their nails and turn them away from the little things and into big airbrushed consumable goods.
Too, in the Christian community, we’ve all watched fame remove the humanity from leaders and make us forget that just as many pastors, missionaries, authors, and counselors are as fraught with diseased souls as in the rest of our world. The public life looks so beautiful, and writing books and standing at podiums splays a person out wide. Things can get so pretty, so pinteresty, and then when the Christian turns out to be just as morally corruptible as the rest of the world, we get confused and mad at God. All along, though, the Christians were the cutters, adulterers, and the gluttonous proud. All along, I have been among the sick ones. I know good and well that I am among the ones who need a doctor.
I’m struggling to do it, but I am starting a business here with my words, and I hope to get good at the business. I do hope to one day have the spine of my book lined up next to the words of other flawed saints. I do hope to never so shroud myself in religion that buying me equals buying Jesus. I don’t want to be bought, and I won’t have any Jesus for sell. I don’t think gospel works that way at all and neither does good business.
Only I hope to walk with Him. I hope to not know the difference between grace and truth. I hope to be accused of putting one over the other.
Bless my words to act as balm, my mouth to speak the language of peace. Bless me as the meek. On the ground level, in the bend of the knees and the head to the floor, bless the body.
I am clay and not for mass production. I am clay for hands. I am clay for revolution.