“To idealise: all writing is a campaign against cliché. Not just clichés of the pen but clichés of the mind and clichés of the heart”—Martin Amis
My first short story was about a group of tourists who get lost in an Egyptian pyramid, until they are all murdered by a walking Mummy.
I was fourteen years old and I cannot give an account for such a morbid imagination at such a tender age. Nevertheless, I was tired of similar stories with the predictable end of a couple surviving the slaughter. So I wrote a story without any survivors.
All writing is truly a campaign against cliché. These days, I often think that religion and cynicism are becoming a cliché.
Religion breeds an unattractive self-righteousness that is immune to any reasoning. Cynicism breeds an unlikable intolerance that is dismissive of its alternatives.
The self-righteous religious person and the angry sceptic are both a threat to people who wrestle with cosmic questions and insist that there is more to life than the material. They are extremes that must be subverted by a new way of thinking and a new kind of conversation.
I write about Jesus because He does not seem to belong to the religious or to the cynic. He seems to draw to Himself the outsider, the misfit, the hungry and the imaginative who suffer the curse of longings that the material cannot satisfy and feel the sense of something that the eyes cannot see.
Jesus is a living campaign against clichés of the heart and mind.
The religious were offended by Him and the non-religious were intrigued by Him. He subverted the religious traditions of men that replaced the justice of God and satisfied the existential longings of people who cried out for a better God than they had been given.
Like all good writing, Jesus takes us on a journey of self-discovery.
No human being can meet Jesus without being comforted and challenged in equal measure. We are loved more than we can know and called to greater things than we can imagine.
It is fitting then that He is described as the Author and perfecter of our faith; because we know that when He writes our story it will be one that is intriguing, attractive and compelling—full of challenge and without cliché.
Image Credit: Rooney Wimms