Interview with Daniel Schwabauer

We at Kingdom Pen are here to announce that our upcoming issue (May/June) will include an exclusive interview with Daniel Schwabauer.

Daniel Schwabauer is an award-winning author, teacher, and creator of the One Year Adventure Novel, the Amazing Gospel, Amazing True Life Stories and College Boot Camp.

His professional work includes stage plays, radio scripts, short stories, newspaper columns, comic books and scripting for the PBS animated series Auto-B-Good. His young adult novels, Runt the Brave and Runt the Hunted, have received numerous awards, including the 2005 Ben Franklin Award and the 2008 Eric Hoffer Award. He graduated from Kansas University’s Masters program in Creative Writing in 1995. He lives in Olathe, Kansas with his wife and daughter.

Here are previews of a few of the questions Kingdom Pen asked Mr. Schwabauer:

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Writing with Perspective

By: Anna Pendleton – a Kingdom Pen subscriber

Every person has their own perspective on any area of life that they find themselves facing. The word and the meaning of the word “perspective”, in and of itself, is not a good or a bad thing; it is simply the way we see life. Our worldview or the spectacles through which we view life, if you will.

Everything we do or say is influenced by the way we think/our perspective. And that means that having the right perspective is one of the most important things we will ever do/have in this life…and it will transfer over into the next.

It is true that we need the right perspective/worldview for everything in life, but we are here to talk about writing, so I’ll focus specifically on that.

The Bible tells us that our purpose on earth is to glorify Christ and spread the gospel. That’s a/the simple Biblical perspective right there. And you could end it there by agreeing with it and saying that you will make sure to keep that in the back of your mind as you go about your life, and more specifically, your writing. But here’s the problem. We’re not supposed to keep that in the back of our minds…we’re supposed to keep that in the forefront of our minds. It should be in front of us every single day to the point that when we sit down to write we don’t even have to think about including things that honor and glorify Christ and/or spread the gospel. It should come from us naturally and freely without hesitation or fear.

One question I’ve noticed being asked a lot among the writing circle (and especially the young writing circle) is something like, “If I make sure to have good morals and reflect Biblical principles, do I have to mention Christ and/or the Bible specifically? As long as it’s Biblical, it’s okay, right?”

In other words…can we be more vague and just kind of…slip God into things? I mean…we’re trying to reach the lost through this, right? Spread the gospel? No unsaved person is going to pick up a book, knowing that it’s full of “preaching”, and actually read it. If we talk about God, nobody will buy our books. So it’s better for people to get the Biblical values and Christ-like principles than for them to get nothing. Right? Wrong.

First of all…why would we even put those things in our work apart from Christ? We are not called to go out into the world and make a bunch of “good people”. We are called to make disciples. And you can’t make disciples without them knowing specifically about God and believing in Him. Giving people Biblical morals without giving them Christ is like giving someone a fishing pole and tackle box in the middle of the Sahara Desert. It’s pointless and will end up being more harmful in the end for those people. You will hurt them by making them satisfied with the fact that they are “good, moral people”. The Bible tells us that we will be known by our works, but that our works can not save us. Only Christ can and we will give people a false sense of security by making them think that they are good enough because of their “good principles”. Of course we can’t change if a man is called by God or not. That happens between Christ and a man’s heart. But we can make sure we do all we can with and as the tools God has made us for His purpose.

Another issue that comes up often is that we love to write and we love people reading what we write. Doesn’t sound like an issue, right? Well, it’s not! That’s a great thing. Writing is a beautiful, wonderful gift that God gives to some people and there’s nothing wrong with loving it and wanting others to love what we do…until we become willing to compromise in order to get people to love what we do. If we are concerned that we won’t get published or that, if we do get published, people won’t read our work because of Christ, we may get tempted to just write and hope Christ fits in. Or, as I mentioned earlier, to slip Him in through good morals and principles.

But when/if you’re tempted to do this, just remember…when God sent His only Son to earth He didn’t send Him here for a field trip, hoping that He might be able to fit saving man into the plans. He sent Him here specifically for us. To live, die, be raised from the dead and return Home to His Father. There was nothing hidden about His mission, both when He was alive during His ministry and when He was hanging on the cross, bleeding and dying for us. Just as His mission was clear…so should ours be.

When Christ was dying on the cross…straining and gasping for his last breath while his hands and feet were pierced and his body beaten and slashed…He wasn’t “slipping us in”. He didn’t go through everything He did in life just hoping our salvation would work its way in. He did everything He did because He loves us and loves the Father. If we are true children of Christ we will love Him and we will love Him more than what we do (writing), therefore…we will not only be willing to have Him as a major part of what we write, but we will want to have Him as the driving force behind it. Writing for and about Christ is not a task…it is a privilege and honor.

It is true that we write through the views of other people–our characters. Maybe those peoples’ worldviews aren’t about Christ. That’s fine for now. But ours is. We are still the author, we are in control and it’s important to make sure that our worldview is not hurt or messed with (or even falsely portrayed) at all for the sake of getting out a “good book” that people will buy. Because anything apart from Christ cannot really and truly be “good”. And since we are the authors and the minds behind or inside the minds of our characters, our worldview will come out in one way or another through our characters. Our names will be on our work…and since we are Christians, the name of Christ will also be on it. There’s enough confusion about Christianity in the world…let’s make sure we don’t add to that by making Christ a vague, background moral or principle. Let’s clear a few things up through our work. Bring Christ to the front instead of pushing Him to the back…don’t just reflect Him. Project Him.

And how do we do this? By viewing everything through the proper perspective. As I said earlier…our purpose on earth is to glorify Christ and spread the gospel. That is the perspective we must view and work our writing through. We need to be looking at our work through this worldview if we want to effectively fulfill our purpose.

So, next time you sit down to write, ask yourself, who are you living for? Who are you writing for? Man? Or Christ? And are you willing to take a few risks to make sure Christ receives the honor and glory He deserves and the true gospel is sent clearly? What will really matter when this earth ends? The popularity of our work in the world? Or the eternal glory of Christ?