All posts by tracy

Damned Nonsense

I better get right to the point since I started with a swear word. But first, I’m still transitioning from essay to blog. Maybe we should call it ‘Blessay.’ But that sounds a little wonky-spiritual to me. I know of people who refuse to call it a potluck. They call it a ‘pot blessing.’ I mean, seriously: “Hey—you gonna bring that yummy casserole to the pot blessing?”

I’m here today because of a C.S. Lewis entry in a devotional a friend gave me. Check this out: “Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist would say, ‘If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realize that this also is God.’ The Christian replies, ‘Don’t talk damned nonsense.’ For Christianity is a fighting religion…it thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again.”

One of the things I’d like to see put right is this idea that cancer and disease is from God. If cancer is from God, then Jesus owes an apology to every person he healed while he walked the earth. He may have gotten in the way of God’s plan for that person, you see; he may have thwarted some higher purpose God had for the development of that person’s character.

Damned nonsense.

In 2001, I found myself suddenly in the hospital with an abdominal infection. Not once did I imagine this infection was from the hand of God. Instead, I and all the rest—doctors, Jack, friends, and family—fought the thing tooth and nail with any means we had. The doctors fought with drugs, family and friends fought with prayer. A week later I left the hospital considerably diminished, but alive and well and with a new appreciation for doctors and their gifts of healing, for friends and family and their tenacity to pray.

Did Jesus ever once hand out cancer, epilepsy, madness, or any other kind of illness to those who came to him? Not once. He healed every disease brought to him, and why? Because it was something bad, something not a part of his plan at creation.

People I love have died of cancer and disease. And we fought it every inch. They were brave people who went down in harness, fighting. And the fighting wasn’t damned nonsense. It was brave and true, and I will see them again someday and tell them what it meant to me that they fought.

Here’s a quote from Aeschylus: “Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.” Cancer and sickness, disease and madness, tyrants all. Fight them on your feet, with every tool God has given.

Christianity is a fighting religion.

First Blog Essay; On Blogs, Facebook, and the New World Order.

I used to write essays for my old website. Things change. People don’t write essays any more, they Blog. In a visually aesthetic way, Blog is an ugly word to me. Wish they could’ve come up with something nicer. Even pronunciation isn’t nice: it’s either BLAHG or BLAWG. This should have gone to committee. We should have called it Pie. Pie is nice in every way, visually and audibly, and we could have made it mean “Blog”, because we can do that.

It all comes down to a New World Tech Head Order. I’m not a tech head. I don’t Facebook or Twitter. Got enough twitter going on in my own head without doing everyone the favor of spewing it onto the World Wide Web. Yet, in some things I want to be heard for the simple reason that I’m a writer, and I write. So in laying down the essay venue for my new site, in trying to figure out the new rules for the new order, an interactive essay (blog) was an astonishing concept at first. “Feedback?” I asked my web guy. “Why would I want feedback?” (Anyone who doesn’t have Facebook isn’t interested in feedback.)

But I get it, and that’s why I have a contact page. I like to add my assent or dissent now and then, too. I like to be heard, and I like (generally) to hear. It’s called being part of the human race, and though I won’t Facebook, I’ll stick my toe in the techno water just enough to get electrocuted so we can all go down together. It’s called “community.”

Community is good. I get it now. I like mankind, I like being part of multiple kingdoms, seen and unseen. There was a time when it wasn’t so. I used to be a gregarious isolationist. I’ll save that for a later entry.

So here I am. My website is as Facebook as I’ll ever get, but it’s a toe in the water and I’m glad to be here. Glad you stopped by. It’s about getting electrocuted together, man.

There’s a lot of love in this room.

So I’ll check in now and again with an essay—or whatever you want to call it. Blog. Pie. Until then, cheerio. Hope your day goes well.


Breathe: A Christian Writer’s Workshop – October 16-17, 2009

Skills building. Network creating. Soul expanding. Spend two days tending your writing and connecting with other writers. Keynoting will be Cecil Murphy, famed coauthor of 90 Minutes in Heaven, who is committed to “stimulating minds and nourishing souls.” With 108 books published, Cecil will examine the intersection of writing and Christian spirituality.

This Grand Haven conference also will focus on strengthening writing skills. Twenty workshops offer beginners and more advanced writers a variety of choices: beginning a novel to becoming an article writer; finding an agent to wrestling with writing demons; writing personal essay to writing for children.

An early bird special of $100 runs through August 1. After August 1, the cost is $125. Students with IDs pay $75.

The Writers’ Guild founded Breathe. This spiritually-minded group of West Michigan writers and educators is dedicated to equipping self and others for the calling of writing.

To register, visit For more information, call Ann Byle at 616.364.0691 or Cynthia Beach at 616. 897.6456.

Tracy will be doing a workshop or two at the third annual ‘Breathe: A Christian Writer’s Workshop’, in Grand Haven, Michigan. For more information, go to