"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Afflatus Or Succubus?

Lately I have been pondering a great deal upon the nature and quality of inspiration, particularly poetic.

The Talmud's distinction between psalms that begin "A song for David" and those that begin "For David, a song" is fascinating. When the inspiration comes first, the song precedes the name. When the person has to begin writing before the inspiration is quite there, then the name comes first.

It would be interesting to hear from other writers about the times the spirit moves them to write as opposed to the times they are obligated to start writing without being yet in the mood.

2 comments:

Daniel said...

It would be interesting to hear from other writers about the times the spirit moves them to write as opposed to the times they are obligated to start writing without being yet in the mood.Ah, the story of my life. And probably 99% of the rest of the world's preachers, for that matter. Putting an 11 AM Sunday deadline on "a word from the Lord" is one of the oddest paradoxes we live with in the church.

My experience is that, when "inspiration" comes (perhaps in this case a capital "I" would be more appropriate), I feel like I've been hooked up to a spiritual fire hose; it's all I can do just to write it all down. I feel almost like I'm taking dictation from God. The Sundays that follow these experiences I really do feel as though I have "God's Word, by (i.e. through) Daniel." But the vast majority of weeks the process is long, drawn out, and (often) painful. Those Sundays it's "By Daniel, God's Word." My confidence level in the pulpit seems to vary according to how "inspired" I felt in preparing the sermon.

I don't mean to imply anything heretical (Montanist, specifically) here...just empathizing with the discovery you've made.

Anonymous said...

All the Bible is inspired. Inspiration directly from God is something very rare, and very special. Only Ellen White in modern times has had that privilege/responsibility.