Why Christian Conservatives Should Create, Not Just Critique

Once upon a time, I wanted to change the world.

Author CS Johnson
Christian conservative author C.S. Johnson

True to Tolstoy’s assertation, I wanted to change the world, but I didn’t think of changing myself. In my boundless enthusiasm, I also didn’t realize how hard it is to change the world at all, let alone for the better.

It still seems very impossible, and all the more so as I sit here, staring at my computer. I am in a Chick-fil-A, one I’ve co-opted as my temporary office while it rains.

My young children are running around, playing in the restaurant’s indoor playground. They’re coming out occasionally to throw out the sanitary wipes they’ve used to “help” clean the windows and chat with the older couple in the booth beside me about Disney princesses and Spider-Man.

What power does a stay-at-home-mom/writer really have to change the world?

I can’t control the weather, and at times, like any parent, I struggle with controlling my children. There are also days where I can barely manage making myself move.

Life can be more than a little demoralizing. It’s a good thing that I expect that, and it’s a good thing I know it can be overcome.

Having Faith in Our Flaws

As a Christian, albeit not a very good one at times, I like to think I have a solid understanding of human nature, one that goes back to the beginning. Living in a fallen world, knowing the deep chasms sin rips through every layer of ourselves and the fabric of our world, seeing the devil’s arithmetic play out the worst sort of possibilities, I ache for this world and the divisions within it.

I know that changing the world is a young, innocent sort of idealism. My mother has called me a failed idealist, but in recent years, since I began writing full-time and working through writing my books, I have come to see that I am a redeemed idealist. God has always been the god of irony to me, a loving father who has a sense of humor and friendship I can only wonder at.

I have not changed the world, but I have been changed—by truth, love and words.

That is all the power I do have, when it comes down to it. I have my heart to offer the world, and by extension my words. The words that I sent out into the world in hopes someone, somewhere will be entertained or comforted—what a world we live in, where joy is a sword as well as a shield—are the tools I have to create a new dialogue, inspire courage and ultimately create a new culture.

Kingdom of Ash and Soot front coverDr. Curt Warner, one of my professors in college, once said Christians give up the right to create culture when we only set out to critique it.

Right now in America, I also see this is true of conservatives. One of my favorite podcasters, Andrew Klavan, says that conservatives need to step up and work on creating a new culture in America if we want to start to bridge the gap between the political and philosophical divide.

His words echo my professor’s observations. As a writer, a Christian and a conservative, I’ve done my best to take them to heart.

The True Power of Prose

Through my writing, I’ve come to enjoy bridging the divides between my characters. My work allows me to see that all writers are conservatives at heart. The idea of realistic characters, the centrality and inevitability of conflict, the absurdity of human irrationality disguised as rationality and the truth of cause and effect on thoughts, actions, words and choices are all conservative ideas, rooted in science, history, psychology, religion and even politics.

Of all divisions, the political one seems to be the most prominent today. One of my smaller goals as a Christian conservative writer is to combat the idea of intersectionality; it is not enough to tear this toxic, flawed and evil philosophy down. We must build up its competing philosophy, one I call “interconnectivity.”

Writers alone are proof of this power. Stories show us that while there are intensely personal experiences, we all share in the grand adventure of life, and the universal touches each of us throughout our lives.

What power does a stay-at-home-mom/writer really have to change the world?

While I might not be able to know the firsthand knowledge of certain realities—anything from being black, Hispanic, Asian or male; having different sexual preferences or experiences—we are capable of sympathy, empathy and change for the better.

Take what it means to be a reluctant superhero facing down his enemies (my “The Starlight Chronicles: An Epic Fantasy Adventure Series: Collector Set 1, Books 1-4 (The Starlight Chronicles Box Set)” series), a young man struggling to balance out his desire for revenge while ensuring the survival of his family (my “The Divine Space Pirates: A Science Fiction Romance Series: Collector Set” series) or a cursed princess wrestling with the question of why God allows suffering (my “Once Upon a Princess (4 Book Series)” saga).

That’s why I write. I write to understand as much as to be understood; I write in hopes of reaching out to other people and connecting with them.

I don’t think I’ll change the world anymore. But I live in hopes of changing people, as I’ve been changed—with truth, love and words. You can check out my work on Amazon and let me know if I’ve succeeded.

C. S. Johnson is the author of several young adult novels in a variety of genres including fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. Her latest book, “Kingdom of Ash and Soot (Book 1),” will be available July 2018. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at C.S.’s official Web site.

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