The Trouble With Talents

Over the weekend, I read a book by a man who was following a program to write an e-book in 21 days.  Basically, the book served as a diary of his work and frustration during the long haul.  To be honest, the book was hilarious, maybe even more so to me because I could relate to the things he was talking about.  After all, what writer is not familiar with National Procrastination Day, writer's block, and the tendency to over-edit?  At times, I laughed so hard that I had tears streaming down my face.  I wanted to be able to write a five-star review when I was done, but that simply wasn't possible.

While I enjoyed the majority of the book, the author did make a couple of references about God that I felt were insulting, demeaning and downright disrespectful.  That being the case, I could not, in good conscience, give a glowing review.  So, per the author's request at the back of the book, I e-mailed him with my complaint.  In the kindest words I could come up with, I let him know that his derogatory remarks were probably costing him readers and positive reviews because other Christian writers (like myself) were put off by things like that.  I made it clear that I understand that he can't please everyone, but I wanted to ensure that he realized he was offending possible reviewers.  While I didn't expect him to bask in my criticism, I must admit I was frustrated by his response.  This is part of what he had to say:

Thank you very much for taking the time to write. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed parts of the book . . . You are right that my referring to God as a "she" and the "Ha-soos" pronunciation are punch lines. It's precisely the "absurd" and the unexpected in each joke that (to me) make them funny. 

My God wouldn't have given me this sense of humor and then not expect me to use it as I see fit (or hide it under a bushel).  I do try to do my best to write clean humor, but I suppose that I fail in some people's eyes.  My Lord and Savior has a fine sense of humor (see for example, the platypus) and I expect that when the roll is called up yonder, I'll get a slap on the back and a "nice one Glen; that was the best rib tickler since Eve" instead of a one-way ticket to a warmer climate.

It's unfortunate that you fall on the other side of the humor lines that chose I draw.  My humor is (to me) swear word free, and that is very on purpose.  I meant no disrespect to your (or anyone's) religious beliefs, and to the extent that you were offended, I am truly sorry.

Thank you for all your kind words.  It means a lot to me.

Overall, as you can see, the author was very kind and respectful in his response.  However, I also feel that he is very wrong about a couple of  things, one of which is his statement,  My God wouldn't have given me this sense of humor and then not expect me to use it as I see fit.  I beg your pardon?  What that says to me is that we can take any talent or gift that God has given us and use it any way we want.  Is that Biblical?  Absolutely not!  God gave me the ability to write, so does that mean I can use that gift to pen erotic novels?  Does He give talent to the musician so that he/she can sing about drugs and sex?  Does He give power to the preacher so that he can get up in the pulpit and preach his opinions and personal standards?  It's ludicrous!  Yes, God gives gifts and talents, but they can be both used and abused.

As to the fact that God will give him a nice slap on the back, I again have to disagree.  One does not disrespect God or use His name in vain and get a reward for it.  No, this man will not be sent to hell because of his poor taste in humor provided he is truly saved.  But neither will He receive a commendation from the Lord.  I am both baffled and disturbed by his viewpoint.  How can someone claim to be saved, yet so flippantly disrespect the Lord?  How can someone ridicule God and justify it by saying that God gave him the sense of humor, so it's okay?  Furthermore, how can a true believer honestly think that any part of our lives should be lived "as we see fit"?  That's goes against all Scriptural teaching.

It's not about us.  It's not about our wants.  It's not about our desires, plans or ambitions.  God has giving us the gifts and talents we have to be used in the ways He directs, not however we see fit.  They are His gifts, His talents.  He's only allowing us to use them.  Let's be certain we are using and not abusing the things He has placed in our care.

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. - I Peter 4:10-11