Inside Out 114: Story Craft

07.01.11 | Kurt Goff

Book Cover: Story CraftThe culture in America can quickly swallow you up, Christ follower or not.

Cue the cliché: You can either light a match or curse the darkness. Couldn’t resist slipping that one in because it’s true. Think about it: It takes faith in a big God to light a small match in a tiny corner of the world. That match doesn’t look the same for all of us.

It may be your music, or the way you do business. Maybe it’s helping the hopeless with a smile or a check or a word of encouragement. The possibilities are as varied as the lives we wake up to every day.

We strike the match. We pray. But God keeps it burning. You may be familiar with the name John Erickson. He’s the writer of the hugely popular Hank the Cowdog books for kids which have sold more than 7 million!

What some may not realize is that John is more than a bestselling author. A musician? Yep. A rancher? You got it.

Most importantly he’s a committed Christ follower.

John attended Harvard Divinity School and soon got fed up with the liberal education that was slowly chipping away at the faith he grew up with on the plains of West Texas.

Back on the ranch, he felt God was calling him to light a match. A match that didn’t even look like a match.

Who would have thought God would use a cowdog to impact kids for Christ in an undercover way? At one point he even got calls from Disney.

CBS made a TV special featuring Hank and according to John, gutted the Christian worldview from the story. That ended his interest in selling out.

John is now mentoring Christian students at Patrick Henry College. He’s encouraging them to stand for Christ and engage the culture through the arts.

Writing is his obvious gift, and so he’s written an interesting book about his journey. It’s called Story Craft.

The soft spoken Texas writer is a joy to connect with one on one. He can’t get very good cell phone coverage at his 7,000 acre ranch. So he drove to a cell “hotspot” a few miles away to spend some time talking with me about his story, the role of Christians in the arts, and how a cowdog opened doors he never could have opened on his own.




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