It’s been rather quiet around here as of late, I know. And yet, I don’t really feel bad about it.
Writing a book is challenging, particularly being a rookie who really has absolutely zero idea what she’s doing. Everywhere I turn I learn, in more painstaking detail, all the things- in addition to writing the content of the book- that I need to begin, not to mention complete. For example, I need to write a well-developed book proposal. In order to do so, I first need to do market research and identify my target audience as well as those “competing voices” already in existence [that is, already in publication]. Also- and I mention this because I think it’s laughable- I must explain why it is this number crunching, cubical inhabiting, former accountant-turned nanny is “qualified” to construct creative, Christian non-fiction for the masses. Ha! I mean, I’ve made peace with my journey to be sure, but I still must acknowledge that it sounds bizarre to say the least, and perhaps rather unconvincing.
The above list, of course, is not in the least exhaustive; there are a slew of additional projects here and there I must begin, most of which don’t actually even involve writing the book itself- which is enough of a monster, I assure you- but I will refrain from unloading those here. You’re welcome.
Of much more importance is that which I have actually accomplished. That which I have actually begun and what it is I’m learning along the way.
There is an old Theosophic adage which states, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Regardless of its ambiguous, esoteric origin, it communicates a profound truth that has proven itself again and again throughout my journey, from the time I committed to writing this book to present. Doors keep opening. People keep showing up. Connections keep being made. Inspiration keeps striking. I keep feeling like I need to rub the sleep out of my eyes; this can’t really be my life can it? I can’t really be pursuing this wild, unpredictable dream, can I?
Presently, my days look a lot like me engrossed in a number of works by brilliant theologians much wiser than I, in an effort to help establish my underlying, but foundational premise, which, much to my surprise, is deeply rooted in what I understand and believe about eschatology. I think I knew that, and yet, I hadn’t really thought about it at length until recently. As such, I’ve been pouring through much by N.T. Wright and his contemporaries, in order to hone in on a mature, robust and developed theology on this issue. It almost seems silly, but this stuff makes me near giddy. Reading and absorbing content of this nature is a well of deep, immovable joy for me. I’m utterly absorbed in Wright’s “After you Believe” right now. I simply cannot get enough of this man’s brilliance and thoughtfulness.
I have an appointment scheduled in early January to grab coffee with a professor and pastor here in Portland whose knowledge, wisdom and insight I deeply value, respect and appreciate. And in an effort to not sound like a complete oaf in his coveted company, I’ve been studying like crazy, developing my questions and outlining what it is exactly I’m hoping to glean from him. What’s surprised me, however, is that throughout the process, I’ve watched my own ideas come into much sharper focus, my own stories become more clearly illuminated by what it is I’m learning.
Of course, I cannot spell all that out here, but here is the point- here is what I keep coming back to- the thing that compels me deeply and permeates my stories:
What you and I believe about eschatology deeply affects the way we understand mission [or purpose, if-you-rather] this side of resurrection. And what we understand about mission deeply affects how we live today, in the here and now. And how we live today, in the here and now, deeply affects the unfolding trajectory of God’s Kingdom story as set in motion and entrusted to us by Jesus all those years ago. That is to say, what we believe matters. It matters a great deal.
This reality is infiltrating my stories, but even cooler than that, it’s infiltrating my life. This journey is a good one.