Give it an appropriate title

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

When Shakespeare wrote that line, he was talking about the nature of the object/subject being more important than what we call it.

As I’ve been talking about in my past two posts, I agree that the nature of is more important than its name. However, the name given to something can cause people to have wrong ideas about it. The Prosperity Gospel (PG) is thought about as talking about God wanting people to be prosperous. Again, in this post, I am saying that’s a misdirection. It is talking about being generous.

The title “Prosperity Gospel” directs people in a wrong direction by giving them ideas about something it is not about. I suggest that we give it a different name to start pointing people in the right direction.

The Simpsons asked a good question when a character quoted the Shakespeare line, “What’s in a name?” Bart suggested calling roses, “Stink Blossoms”. The idea of calling a nice flower “stink blossoms” is a big turn off, no matter what the flower is really like. So we need to clearly label things as they are. As a web writer, I cannot misdirect people labelling links with the wrong name. That just wrong as it confuses people.

The same thing has happened to the PG. We have the name “Prosperity” in it, and people start talking about how God wants us to be rich. We can’t run away from the name. As I have shown, I believe it is about about generosity. I suggest that we rename the PG as the “Generosity Gospel”. That starts people off on the correct foot. We can see that in its title, and we are both on the correct foot.

As writers, we need to understand the topic before we give it a proper name. We can title a book “Trek through space” if we want to, but have it tell a story about a Russian family in history near the start of the Soviet Union. You can do that if you want to, but that would be deceptive. There is nothing to what we know as “space”.

One would have to put in a lot of creative thought to the story. “Trek through space” would be picked up by many Trekkies and sci-fi buffs. But once they look at the blurb at the back, they would drop it like a ton of rocks. Would history buffs even pick it up? Very unlikely.

So my tip for you this week is this. Give your writing an appropriate name. That’s how you get people to read your material.

How to reframe your topic

Last week, I talked about the Prosperity Gospel (PG) and how many who talk about it have missed the point. We talk about it in this day and age about receiving the reward for giving. Go read about it if you want to know more.

Because of this false focus on the PG, many people have an issue with the prosperity gospel. They feel that the PG promotes greed and features God as someone we can get to do our bidding. Interestingly enough, I got saved when I heard the Good News through a preaching on the PG. Now you have an idea of the kind of person I was. I’ve grown a lot since then, so put away your pitch-forks and torches.

But the PG is very much misunderstood by just about anyone who’ve talked about it online. That has a lot to do with its name. With such a name, just about everyone thinks it is about wealth and ‘having’.

Christ is in the business of inward change, not outward change, therefore nothing in the Bible talks about outward action. Therefore, we have to conclude that what we call the PG is not about giving and receiving as they are outward actions.

So what should the conclusion be? I propose that God is talking about being generous, not about giving, not about receiving. Generosity is an inward attitude that is demonstrated externally, and therefore, it is a better understanding of God’s goal for us.

Let’s bring this back to writing and storytelling now. I have tried to reframe the point of the PG by talking about what I think it is truly about instead of tearing it apart. If we seek to convince people, it is easier to start on a place of agreement. People are more open to hearing from us when they think we agree with them – we see this in many people’s social media use.

It has been shown that people are spending so much time because the AI behind people’s newsfeed tend to show people what they are interested in. People won’t be shown ideas from others who oppose theirs, so you’ve gotten past the first gate-keeper – social media algorithm.

Now that you’ve gotten past their defences, people start reading. If they see that you’re tearing down their belief system, they’re turned off. However, if you show that there’s agreement, you have a captive audience and can “redirect their gaze”. You have an open door to reframe the narrative.

Let’s look at a classic movie (I term it classic because it’s over 20 years ago when it was first released). They started showing how Shrek was a classic ogre – dirty and disgusting creature which is destined to live alone. That’s the “agreement” part. Most people would think that’s the image of ogres in their minds.

From this place of agreement, the story goes on to show how Shrek isn’t just a dirty, disgusting creature. He is also a friend and someone who is capable of love. I’ll leave the summary as that as I don’t want to spoil the story for those who may not have watched the movie.

So my writing tip for you today is this – start from a place of agreement and make your point. You go fishing with something fish wants to eat, not not something that drives them away.

Finding a topic

“What to talk about? What can I write about?” Those questions, I’m sure, are questions many writers/bloggers face at some point in their careers. So what’s the best way to keep finding different topics?

I know I haven’t been blogging for a long time, but I know what it is like to not have a topic to write about. Thankfully, I haven’t had that issue for a while.

What I did was build a library of topics and stories that I can draw upon before I get to that stage. It’s been a blessing when I’m unable to write a blog before Mondays. Now, when I have time to write, I don’t have to spend any precious time thinking about the topic. As a newbie to blogging, I still have other jobs to do and can’t always make time to write.

But when there is time to think, I like to consider stories and topics to add to the library. Topics that will bring about good discussions are ones with controversy. In Christian circles, the most controversial is the “prosperity gospel”.

The “prosperity gospel” is the name given to the belief that God wants to bless us financially. And the key to unlocking this blessing is to give to various ministries. That’s a very short summary of the “prosperity gospel”.

Many people believe and support it. Many think it promotes greed and paints God as someone we can manipulate. It is so divisive that I cannot go past it.

For the next few weeks, I’m looking to discuss the prosperity gospel. So keep an eye on this blog and see how a topic can be pushed out for a number of weeks. In the meantime, do share with us what you do to find topics to write about.