There is a Zen Buddhist proverb which I remember having seen a long time ago. Here is the way I remember it. “There is a finger pointing at the moon. Don’t mistake the finger for the moon.”
I write stories based on the Bible. I take scriptural narratives, or parts of them, from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and I work to creatively fill in the gaps and details that are not there. Over the last couple of weeks I have come to see in this proverb a direct application to my creative work.
I think there is a risk. A risk that what I write could be mistaken for the Moon – especially if I happen to turn out good writing with well-developed characters and a strong emotional core, ad majorem dei gloriam. Anytime a writer creatively explores the Word of God (and many, many have), there is a risk that instead of their craft reflecting scripture and pointing readers back to The Source, their work could come to be seen as something more than simply the work of a human mind. It could come to be seen as more gratifying or more true to experience than the Moon. The risk is real. Mankind has proven its ability to realize this risk. Worship of the creation instead of the Creator is as old as man himself. I’ll do the best work I can and I’ll mention the risk every once in a while. This is my plan for mitigation. dm