By nature of the world, which consists of light and the absence of light (darkness), God and the absences of God (evil), the duality of it leading to no situation ever being completely in line with our values, morals and desires, we must compromise. We should never compromise our beliefs — to debase ourselves or encourage something we don’t agree with — but it is necessary to compromise on the complexion of the jobs, relationships and communities we choose. We don’t only compromise in order to survive — no this would be a complete shame if our lives came to this — but we compromise because we are called, not to hide away, but to stand amongst the things that are against us, and be a light. It is only in doing so that we can become stronger in our beliefs and more able to change things. Considering this, I have re-assessed my outlook on my past work experiences…
In 2008, I offered to write for my university’s newspaper, The Thresher. My first story was to write about a recent university-wide recycling competition. On interviewing the students I found out that the competition started as a class project. To me the lead of the story was: class can be more than just homework and lectures, it can be a place to start making a difference. I wrote the article with that lead but got shut down by the editor. Just report the figures, she urged me — 500 plastic bottles collected. I did so, but the final article was dead boring and what I saw as churning content rather than storytelling. I wrote a few more articles, the final one being about a hotline for rape victims. I went deep with this, straight for the core of the reader, because it didn’t matter to me the numbers, but the stories of the people. My editor chopped and changed until all Bianca-ness was gone. I subsequently left the newspaper. I had no interest in churning content. HINDSIGHT: could I have written their way and given it more human impact? Perhaps I should have bit the bullet, because it wasn’t against my morals to report on 500 plastic bottles. I was still getting the good news out there, just in a boring way. What I should have done — written until I was given a column or a position as feature writer where my style of writing was more appropriate and effective.
Later on I did a journalism course in Italy and made a video and wrote a story about mothers in Italy. All I cared about was their stories — one was a mother of six while also being a cleaner at a hospital, but she was so joyful and peaceful and her family was tight-knit, the other was a mother of two who made and sold jewellery in the market and moved her kids to the country so she could better afford to give them a wonderful childhood. But I got a bad grade on my final piece. Despite the fact that my video teacher said that never before had he seen anyone capture reality on video as I did. My bad grade was all because I had no statistic to prove that women in Italy wanted children wholeheartedly but were prevented in doing so because of the economic situation. I care not for statistics. Not one itty bitty spitty bit. If one woman only had that experience I would have had myself a story I was proud to share. I left that ugly grade behind me in Italy and took with me the memorable interaction I had on the countryside with that mother of six. HINDSIGHT: The world wants statistics. They want things to be proven by fine research. If there isn’t this credibility they may not read your story or believe it. My job was to write a credible story and that required a statistic. If I believed in my story enough I should have found an angle from the beginning that could be supported by a report or statistic. Because if I want my stories to be heard sometimes I will have to compromise on how I put them across. I already had the ability to show truth on video. One statistic would have opened up the door for that truth to be heard by many. I should have relentless sought to tell the truth in the most effective way possible.
Fast forward to my entry into publishing, the other side of the writing world. I had an internship at Penguin Books. One of the only publishers people can actually name because their brand is HUGE and synonymous with so many people’s fondest childhood memories. When they called me to come in for an internship I was like heck yeah, it’s Penguin. So I spent some time working for the best publisher in the world, but what did I gain from it? I would say a sparkle on my CV, something to talk about and hands on experience of how the best-of-the-best do it. But what did I have to do to get this? I had to compromise my beliefs. While I was there there were numerous books in the pipeline either supporting atheism or debunking Christianity and religion. They were all around me on the shelves, staring at me. If they would flap their covers and talk they would tell me: ‘how great is it that we will be bought and read by thousands? How great is it that you work for a company that will plant lies in the minds of millions that God does not exist?’ The worst of the time was the book Religion for Atheists. I left Penguin never wanting to return. HINDSIGHT: I was talking to someone today who is very important in improving the survival rate of newborns in Africa. She told me that there aren’t many Christians in Public Health and that there are many things she has to put up with that she doesn’t agree with as a believer in God and Jesus. But she said ‘if every Christian came out of public health because it was corrupt and involved things against their beliefs then there would be no one to help change the situation for the better. Yes, Penguin publishes a lot of books on atheism, but if there aren’t any Christians in Penguin, then who will be there to advocate for more books that promote the belief in God rather than discourage it.
I recently went to work for one of the best illustrated publishers in the UK and arguably the world. I don’t want to say the name because my boss reads my blogs and I really loved my colleagues. The job was great and saw me taking a paid trip to Paris to create a marketing video and going to great launches, meeting highly interesting people and once again sky-rocketing my professional credentials. But I did something that I am ashamed about. The first book I helped market online and on the direct marketing channels was a photo book of nude young women in questionable positions. I called them ‘sun-drenched’ and ‘seductive’ among other things. I got those pedophiles and porn addicts going with my exaggerated words. I possibly encouraged a few to buy books so that they could stare at these slim what seemed like 15 year old’s breasts and touch themselves to it. You name it, nudity is rife in art — Mapplethorpe’s hyper-sexualised pictures made my gut curl and the female artists that were revolutionaries plastered ‘object’ all over the female body, using it in various ways in what they called art. Meanwhile I believed fervently that the body is a vessel, a sacred vessel which holds the Spirit of God. And there I was seducing people to buy into it. As good as pimping prostitutes. The problem with publishing is that companies have to publish at around 40 books a year to be substantially profitable, and these books have to be mass-marketable. So the majority of the books one would be working on would be far from one’s interests. I am sorry but I do not want to sell a book about underground clubbing which is filled with pictures of people on drugs having sex or banging their heads on the pavement. HINDSIGHT: Well here I had the chance to choose not to market these books, but I did anyway. I came up with the words and I contacted the wretched Sunday Sport to get them to run a competition. I should have avoided these books as I had the option to. It is important, as I said before, that the compromise not be on your beliefs. As the popular saying goes, ‘if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything’. This is the easiest way to get sucked into the Godless system.
And the job I just left, the one that would have probably led to another great publishing job in a well-respected company, was so full of red flags I found myself becoming so disillusioned that I was rendered speechless — sitting at my computer, not saying a word, just getting on with it. It wasn’t the content this time, because there wasn’t that much nudity, it was the way things were run. I had to get more books sold through my marketing and sales wisdom teeth, but after thorough investigation I discovered it just could not be done under the current circumstances and practices. At least not in the substantial way that my boss expected. And when I did something wrong (mostly very minor) my boss, always valuing profit over people, did not hesitate in treating me as though I am unintelligent scum that had no need to enjoy the 40 hours I spend in his office, turning his gears, the gears of the company that he started 20 years ago which he has been keeping alive through numerous threats and assertions of power and authority. This job brought me to the point in which I think I could no longer tread the path of the minions. I was so disturbed by where compromise and selfish ambition had gotten me that I couldn’t sleep for weeks and I was so spiritually dry that I have had to spend four out of five lunch times reading the bible and praying for the last five months. HINDSIGHT: I believe I made the right decision here because I prayed about it a lot. I sent my boss a long email that explained all of the things I think could improve, including developing the human resources (staff) he already had and looking for new channels for growth as old ones were being exhausted. I spoke out on what I believed and as a result got him to agree to doing things he was reluctant to do before. And I believe that my letter has made him reconsider things and think about his operation. We have to stand up for what we believe in, sometimes by silence and other times by being loud. We have to consider always the best way to make positive changes and decide on our compromises thenceforth.
I concluded the original article complaining about capitalism and even mentioned the illuminati. I asserted that we must follow our hearts. YES. But the danger of ‘following our hearts’ is that the heart is an organ of emotional callaloo which can be very effective in confusing us. Sometimes we actually need to do things that we don’t love in order to help make the changes for the one we love. When our joy comes from the Lord, sticking with a job or a situation because we believe He gives us the strength to change it will bring us tremendous satisfaction.
And when we do stick things out in order to be catalysts of change, we must not push and force change, but lovingly inform, be patient, let our passion and our lives speak for the necessity of that change, and in the process never compromise our beliefs nor stop loving those around us with a game-changing sort of unselfish love. I know this sounds really difficult. I only figured this out after writing my last blog.
Finally, I changed the Bible verse to go along with this as I realised it was a different lesson I was meant to learn here. God calls us not to hide away, but to be the salt of the earth. And while doing that, be cautious in never losing out saltiness by wrongful compromise.
‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ Phil 2:12-18