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The Cookbook Section

So back to this idea that as an artist I need, NEED, to spend time with God…

I was watching this video of an interview of Eugene Peterson [thank you Sammie Bennett!] and he said something that I’ve been pondering for the last week before even watching this video. I highly recommend taking a half hour to watch the video.  The way Peterson talks about Christian life and God is refreshing…

Here’s a snippet of the conversation.  Quick note: I know not all of you reading this blog are writers.  As you read this conversation with Peterson substitute the word writer with a word describing your art or profession.

Dean Nelson:     Tell me why you’d rather have your books in a bookstore section that’s not in the inspiration section but you’d rather have your books in the cook books section…

Eugene Peterson:    I guess I feel that there’s so much religious or inspirational so called writing that is so thin, thin soup, soupy.  I’d rather be associated with serious writers who’ve lived what they’ve written who’ve spent their lives trying to get this straight.  You know writing is hard work and religious writing is often really badly written…I don’t know, the cookbook thing – people buy cookbooks because they want to cook.  People don’t always buy religious books because they want to be good or serve God.

Peterson goes on to say “…the immersion in life it requires to tell the truth” is the only way to produce work that is not ‘soupy’.  My insides are screaming because this is what I want.  To write like C.S. Lewis, Eugene Peterson, Anne Lamott and all the other greats who have birthed pieces that are timeless.  Truth is timeless.  God is timeless.

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11-12  The Message

So I find myself praying.  “God work in me.  I want to be formed into the woman you created me to be – before I landed here, a broken soul in a broken world.”  To be in this place spiritually is to be the best artist I can be.  This kind of living takes terrifying courage.  I don’t have what it takes.  But something inside me keeps driving me.

What is driving you?  What do you aspire to do?  What do you hope your life will produce?

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6 thoughts on “The Cookbook Section

  1. Thanks for this, Heather! Would so much rather be in the Cookbook section:) I am on the same page! I realized the other day that expressing myself honestly drives me…relating to acting and writing. If I don’t keep doing it somehow, I get kind of depressed…like I lost my purpose and drive. For me, it is the forward motion of just “keep going”. I have to remember what life was like before my discovery and be thankful for the now; that I now know what I need to do to live fully…through good days and bad. With an outlet, the bad days are much better than they used to be.

  2. Heather Ostalkiewicz on said:

    Thanks Crystal! I started realizing all the artists I admire put their heart and soul into God and living life. Something I never did during all my years of depression. But now that I’m free I’ve got this craving to live. I think my work will eventually reflect this. You’re right, it’s what keeps me going even during my bad days.

  3. Lorraine Reep on said:

    I loved the Peterson interview, as well Heather. I wa struck by the cookbook comments, as I’ve read way too much soupy religous writing. I’m sure that is why I love Jenn Hatmaker…real, honest writing that reflects life and it’s struggles and God shows up in the midst of it and can’t be ignored. Pursue on, dear one. It’s in the midst of the current struggle that he will show up and give you something to write. 🙂

    • Heather Ostalkiewicz on said:

      Thanks Lorraine! I really appreciate all your encouragement the last couple of days. Thanks for your emailed pages too. It’s really nice to have some written words of God that I can reread:)

  4. sammiebennett on said:

    Love this so much, Heather Lou, and love the comments, Crystal and Lorraine! Heather, your post affirms me on so many levels and absolutely stirs something in me. I resonate with so much of what you said, but especially the part about “this kind of living takes terrifying courage.” Yes!!! I don’t always live like this, but I very much want to. This post just encouraged me to keep at it, even on the bad days. Love you so much, friend, and am so very thankful to know your beautiful self.

  5. Tommie Crown on said:

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