September 29, 2018

Writing Towards Vulnerability by Bob Jones

It has been said that faith feeds writing.

I write by faith without always making faith the subject of my writing.

Every keystroke or pen stroke is a profession of my faith.  

Because my personal beliefs are part of my identity what I believe inevitably ends up in my writing. Faith becomes the object, not the subject of writing.

Most people I meet want to believe in something “more,” to believe they have a purpose. They want to know why we are here and what our lives are about. They are looking for hope. Writing by faith grows hope.

Words always have been the chosen medium for the profession of faith. And words are how faith is shared. When you share your faith you are inviting people into the imperfections of your life. That takes being vulnerable.

Writing towards vulnerability takes faith.

Anne Lamott says: “Write toward vulnerability. Risk being un-liked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive. 

If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things.”

Vulnerability is the bridge to belief. In this way, writing feeds faith.

In late September 2018, Sheila Walsh, author of the soon to be released book, It’s Ok To Not Be Ok
spent a weekend with our church family. She swung wide the door to her faith experiences and invited us strangers to become her friends.

Sheila shared her story about starting one day as the co-host of the 700 Club and ending it on suicide watch in a psychiatric hospital in Virginia. On the floor of her isolation room is where she had the most profound encounter of her life. When she felt everyone had walked out on her, Jesus walked in.

Emblazoned on my memory are her words about Jesus - “I never knew you lived so close to the floor.”

A day later I sat with a group of professionals – many of whom were not people of faith - as they listened to Sheila plumb the depths of her pain. There was not a dry eye around the lunch tables as Sheila explained that when she felt she was losing her mind, God showed up to save her.

Faith was ignited in the spirits of those men and women that afternoon because of Sheila’s words.

(Inscribe's Marnie Pohlmann writes a post called Indelible - a beautiful illustration of vulnerability, faith and writing at it's purest. Her blog is worth your time.)

Writing straight into the emotional center of things is faith at it's boldest.

Be bold.

Write on.

I am a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. My office walls are adorned with our sons’ framed football jerseys, and my library shelves, with soul food. I write to grow hope, inspire people to be real, forge an authentic faith in Jesus, and discover their life purpose.

Please follow my writing at Pointes Of View.


  1. The line that 'my faith is part of my identity' resonated with me. Being vulnerable is crucial and these difficult topics and feelings are being talked about more among Christians - as it should be! Thanks for your balanced view.

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to share on this platform and for being a "first commenter." Happy Thanksgiving, Tracy.

  2. Bob,
    Thanks for your challenge to be vulnerable. This is something I continue to struggle with. As a child I was taught to “perform” by being what people expected me to be. God has been breaking down my walls of perfectionism, especially in the past few years. I’m thankful for God’s patience and love, and for others who encourage me to be vulnerable by being vulnerable themselves.

    1. Thank you for this post Bob. I'm thankful to God for years I was given to come alongside people, believers and non-believers, when they were at vulnerable places in their lives. Somewhere along the line they taught me to show and feel my own vulnerability. It removed me from being wrapped up in a performance mode that is often nurtured by church life. I'm no longer interested in performing for anyone. It takes work but t can be done. Blessings on you Bob. Keep writing!

    2. Vulnerability is core to empathy. Stefani Germonotta says that all an artist has to give is themselves. The more vulnerable, the better the art.

  3. Thanks so much for this. My struggle is also to be more vulnerable in writing my memoir and other writing; the subject of my writing is often vulnerable due to what I choose to write about but I still notice that too often I stay on the ledge so to speak and don't quite go where I need to. I like what you said about writing in faith producing hope.

    1. So profound Gloria. "On the ledge"feels safe. Here's to go where you know you need to go. No fear.

  4. Thanks for sharing this story about Sheila Walsh's presentation, first to your church and then to a mixed crowd of business people of faith and those without a confirmed faith. Sheila Walsh's book sounds like something I could use also. It isn't always easy to write from a place of deep honesty. Still when I do, I find support and understanding and relief that we can speak of the times when we're not okay. It's interesting to see I am not the only one who has struggled with perfectionism. With that background, it is hard to get down to floor level, especially when the floor hasn't been vacuumed lately.

    1. Love your sense of humour, Sharon. Thank you for your comment. I appreciated Sheila's books for their content before I met her. Now I treasure them because I know her. I've seen her tears and listened to her heart. Real deal.


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