Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's in a Name?

Have you ever thought about the word charisma and what it means? The name of our parent company has many definitions. One interesting thing I discovered is that in a World Book Dictionary from 1960, the word doesn’t even appear. Charism and charismatic are there, but not charisma. It is in more recent dictionaries, and the definitions are as varied as the volumes containing them.

However, one definition is prevalent in all the ones I explored. They all seem to agree that to have charisma is to have a compelling attractiveness or charm, a magnetic personality, and an enthusiastic interest in others.
We speak of certain people who have “charisma” and those are usually people who have a great following or seem to draw people to them. We can think of many celebrities who have that quality and have hordes of fans following them.

In terms of Christian books, I like to think that each one has a rare personal quality that points readers to the knowledge of Jesus’ saving grace and forgiveness. Jesus possessed that magnetism that attracted people to Him as He taught and led others to know Him. He aroused devotion in his followers that was rare in those days.

If we portray that magnetism in our books, we show our readers who Jesus really is and how He works in the lives of our characters. Our characters are flawed, just as all of mankind is, but God works in them to bring about reconciliation and redemption.

No matter if we write historical, suspense, contemporary, romance or fantasy, we want our readers to get the message of a Savior who cares about each one of us no matter what our background.

I like the name Charisma and am so glad to be a part of a publishing company that shows such enthusiasm and interest in their authors as well as their readers. Each of us wants to attract readers for our novels and create a loyalty and devotion that keeps them coming back for more.
As long as we keep our eyes and heart on the One who deserves our own devotion, we will write what He wants us to write, and our books will reach those who need the truth. We want "Just the Right Charisma."

Question: How do we balance our story so that we don’t come off as being “preachy” or as “pushing” our beliefs onto others?

2 comments:

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Good post, Martha.

I know that with my books I try to weave the faith element into the story through the lives of the characters, and show it from their perspective. Essentially, I'm a storyteller, and some of my characters are people of faith and some are not. I try to be true to the characters.

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar said...

Great post, Martha! My answer to your question is: Be real. There are Christians out there who are "preachy." Others share their faith through lifestyle. Depending on who the character is, what his/her role in your story is, that will depend on how the character displays his or her charisma. :)