I’ve attend a writers critique group every Monday night. Randy founded the group for Sci-fi writers but accepted what life gave him – a diverse group writing in different genre. He is the only one writing Sci-fi material. I am the only one submitting non-fiction Christian material.
The first year I attended was shaky. Religion is a sensitive topic. We established a rule not to comment on whether or not we agree with a writer’s point of view. Comments are limited to how material can be improved. Learning to critique without commenting on whether or not they agreed with me was difficult. I made it a point to ignore insults and, if necessary, turn the other cheek, which is not always easy to do. In time, friendships developed and we rarely have a contentious meeting.
Heavens Address was scheduled for critique Monday night. I should be use to it by now, but there is always a moment of dread when my work is critiqued. I never know how they will react, especially when new people join. We recently acquired a new member. I knew Otto would comment on my material for the first time. He proved to be a blessing instead of a problem.
Randy read from my chapter, “There are no good ole’ boys clubs in heaven” and then took issue with the theme that God does not show favoritism. Apparently, I struck a nerve, and he could not resist correcting me.
“That’s not true,” he said, “God plays favorites. He showed favor to – ”
“David,” someone blurted out.
“Solomon,” he said.
“So God is not just?” I asked. I couldn’t resist either and could have easily refuted God showed favoritism toward both names that surfaced.
“God is not fair and I’m entitled to my opinion,” he said.
He is entitled to his opinion even though we had a rule not to express such opinions. I decided that I’d said enough.
The gentlemen sitting next to Randy critiqued my chapter, and then it was Otto’s turn to comment. “I’m Jewish,” Otto said. “I’ve read the Old Testament a lot and this is damn fine material.” He was very much impressed by what I had written and continued his praise until I was embarrassed.
The meeting ended and Randy was the first to leave, or so I thought. Before I could leave, Otto picked up where he left off praising Heavens Address. I was humbled that a Jewish man who knew the Old Testament would be so moved by something this Gentile had written.
As I was walking out of the bookstore, I heard Randy say, “Goodnight, Teena.” He was looking at some books near the place Otto and I were talking. Apparently, he heard everything Otto had to say after the meeting as well. I drove home feeling vindicated.
The next time someone takes issue with your God, don’t defend yourself. There is a Jewish savior in heaven who just might send a Jew to defend you.