A book

I spent much of the day reading through my new book. That seems a little bit like either a bit of a self-obsessed sort of thing to do, or some kind of necessary editing task. Usually by the time a book is released the material has been poured over so much that the material has become a bit dry and stale.

This is a bit different. I finished writing it in September of 2008, right before I began my PhD studies. I submitted it and it was accepted. Soon after there was a editing burst by the Publisher of Barclay press, and I was quite engaged in responding to him, sharpening the work, ironing out the big issues.

Then it sat in a bit of a stasis for a while. Early last year there was an editing burst again, by the two very capable editors over at Barclay Press – Sierra and Paula — and I read through some changes and answered a long list of specific questions about passages, providing either answers or rewrites of small sections. I didn’t read through the whole book then, though.

So, today was the first time I’ve read it through in about two and a half years. I needed to read it again because as I gear up for book publicity I need to be reminded of what I said in the book, how I went about it, and hopefully build up some enthusiasm.

It’s interesting to come at one’s own book as though it were, mostly, new. I have, after all, spent the subsequent two and a half years engaged in highly rigorous theological study, expanding my knowledge and my understanding, writing all the while in a very academic approach. I really was curious if I would find any passages that would make me cringe, or wish I could update, or if something struck me as being naïve.

Turns out I like what I wrote then. I really like my book. Can I say that? It’s true. I like being able to say that. I wrote it because there was this huge gap in teaching on life in the spiritual wilderness. I knew, and still know, so many people who are going through all kinds of chaos in their lives and this chaos is amplified by their impression that God is nowhere to be found. I wrote this book because I was writing and talking to so many people about the same themes that I felt like something more substantive needed to be written.

What’s interesting is that not only did I not find anything that makes me cringe or feel theologically embarrassed I found again and again some areas of anticipation of my, then, future studies. A lot of what I have focused on in my formal studies are found, in a nascent form, in my book. Sure I had read a lot of Moltmann prior to writing the book — and the book really is entirely Moltmannian in its approach to suffering and hope – but even still, there was times in which I was surprised by what I wrote, because they’re things I thought really popped out to me only later on.

I like what I wrote. Indeed, I’m proud of How Long? and I really think it’s a book others should read. That’s fun. It’s encouraging. And it is, I think, a great spark for my continuing endeavors in both writing and academia. I have no idea how it will sell, and honestly I need to keep my expectations extremely low since I don’t have any built in massive audience or big marketing budget.

All I know is that How Long? took a very long time to get through the system. But now that it’s out, I see again the promises of God that I wrote about in the book, the promises that times of discouragement, of silence, of frustration, of things seeming to go opposite of where they were promised to go, are not the end of the story but tests of our own hope, faith, and perseverance.

I like not only the book is out but also that, for the most part, I stood in this midst of waiting with a sense of patience and grace. I like that too. Because it says that I too am learning what it means to live in the midst of wilderness and maybe even be a voice calling out of the wilderness to others who are lost.

Hope, I say. Hope.

If you’re interested in the book, you can order it on Amazon.

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