Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. The books are historical Amish fiction and the first book, A Quilt for Jenna, was released February 1, 2013. The second book in the series, The Road Home, was released September 1, 2013. Book number three, Jenny’s Choice, came out February 1, 2014. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book, The Amish Heiress, will be out in August, 2015. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.
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The Power of the Written Word
by Patrick E. Craig
“The pen is mightier than the sword.”
This often repeated phrase was first coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy in 1839. It has been said of Bulwer-Lytton that he “had the good fortune to do, what few men can hope to do: he wrote a line that is likely to live for ages.” And it is true. These words ring down through the years because they reveal an inherent archetypal truth—the written word has enormous power: power to lift up, power to destroy, to bring joy or despair, to illuminate the truth or encase it in shadow, and we as Christian writers must look to our function as purveyors of the written word. We have a God-given call and what we write must always be a light in an ever-darkening world.
The Power to Persuade: The written word can change minds, it can bring down kingdoms, and it can set new standards of truth and morality. The Nazi Joseph Goebbels once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” And all around us in these fractured times we see writers who are telling “a big lie” and telling it often—the media is full of this kind of writing. The fruit is that God and his Word are being excised from the day-to-day lives of many people who are being persuaded by what they read. This makes it doubly important that we as Christians began to be writers of “the big Truth.”
The Power of Permanence: One of the inherent marvels of the written word is its permanence. A sentence you speak can change with each repetition. I am reminded of the game “Telephone” where someone whispers a phrase into the next person’s ear and the phrase is passed around the circle that way. When the last person compares what they heard to what was originally spoken the results can be amazing and hilarious since the original meaning is usually entirely lost. The written word, on the other hand, remains powerful because it can be replicated exactly and reproduced many times as it was written. I think of writers like Thomas Paine whose pamphlet Common Sense sold over 100,000 copies in the first three months of its publication. It is still rousing today. “The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind,” Paine wrote, voicing the idea of American exceptionalism still strong in the United States — that in some fundamental sense the fate of America foreshadows the fate of humanity at large. These words still ring true today and are permanently etched on the American psyche.
The Power to Pervade: The written word is powerful in its capacity to pervade the mind and heart of those who read it. When someone picks up your book, there is an implied acceptance of the ideas you are trying to get across in your writing. The reader is thereby opened to your words and thoughts. Like a baby bird with its mouth gaping open waiting for mother to feed it, your reader has given you the right to speak into their lives. Because of this acceptance, your words can penetrate a resistant heart, simply because the choice to read your book opens the door to the truth it contains.
The Power to Testify: I Peter 3:15 tells us… “and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…” Your testimony as a Christian is one of the most powerful weapons against the work of darkness that God has given you. And a written testimony of the grace of God and His power to bring love and forgiveness out of the most terrible circumstances is one of the most powerful witnesses to those who are longing for peace in their troubled lives. Consider the impact of a work such as The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, or Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot. These written words have reverberated through the years and are lasting proof that God is who He says He is and that He does what He says He will do.
Among those who will read this are folks who are published authors, bloggers, article writers and also those whose dream is to put down on paper the ideas and stories that God has placed in your heart. I believe that in this time we are seeing the signs that indicate we are coming to the end of the age. All around us a great battle rages—a battle for the hearts and souls of men and women, boys and girls. Never was there a more urgent time for writers of truth to be practicing their craft. So start writing and if you are writing, write more. The work of the written word is performed in a chair, with pen and paper or a computer before you. Start journaling, write an article for your church newsletter, start a blog, send articles to Christian Magazines and blogs, the same way I sent this article. And most important, pray and ask God how He wants you to employ the power of the written word. And remember—He may ask you to do things beyond yourself, things that can only be accomplished with His help and by the power of His Spirit.
Rachel Hershberger’s life in Paradise, Pennsylvania is far from happy. Her papa struggles with a terrible event from the past and his emotional instability has created an irreparable breach between them. Rachel’s one desire is to leave the Amish way of life and Paradise forever. Then her prayers are answered. Rachel discovers that the strange, key-shaped red birthmark above her heart identifies her as the heir to a vast fortune left by her Englischer grandfather, Robert St. Clair. If Rachel will marry a suitable descendent of the St. Clair family she will inherit an enormous sum of money. But Rachel does not know that behind the scenes is her long dead grandfather’s sister-in-law, Augusta St. Clair, a vicious woman who will do anything to keep the fortune in her own hands. Augusta’s grandson, Gerald proposes marriage and Rachel, seeing a way out of the turmoil of her life, agrees. At first everything seems perfect, but as the days pass, Rachel realizes that enormous wealth and a godless, loveless marriage will never compare to the plain ways of her people and the true love of a faithful Amish boy. And as the deceptions and intrigues of the St. Clair family bind her in their web, Rachel realizes that her change of heart may have come too late.
Readers purchase the Apple Creek Dreams Series at these links:
The Amish Heiress will be available in August on Amazon, B&N and GoodReads.