Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Year's end writing inventory

My Year in Writing
2006-2007 School Year

Some of my Tuesday Column readers don’t know that it is my practice writing... most past students know that. To me, writing is like playing the piano—one gets better by practice. When you read my columns here (or on one of my other blogs) ..when people read my Tuesday Column or blogs they are peeking into my practice room. I make mistakes, write and revise even after they are posted. I’m often simply “doing runs” to keep my writing fingers nimble. All this is practice is for my serious “concert performance” –writing for books and curriculum.

I’ve just wrapped up another year of writing (September through August). I’ve completed my own inventory of the year’s writing and publishing and it is here I do an annual inventory mostly to keep myself motivated, like looking back at the grass you’ve already cut to know you’re getting something done. I know some budding writers read this column so I’m also being accountable to you. So, in case you are still reading this, here are some of the “concerts” I’ve written or published this year:
(the original inventory has books pictured --it is located here

1. Walking the Trail of Death
Published summer ‘07. During the spring I finished up my journal of last summer’s walk from Indiana to Kansas. It is a recounting of the story of the original journey of the "removal" of the Potawatomi Indians from Indiana to Kansas while blending in my own story as a white man’s re-tracing every foot of the 660 mile journey—I was the first white man to do so since 1838. Studying the original journals and letters as I walked, and often sleeping at their actual campsites I pondered larger issues of injustice, sin, restitution, and penance. I didn’t think this book was good enough to publish the regular route so I self-published it through LULU.com and it is available there if you want to know what I did last summer—click the picture to see the Lulu page.

2. Knowing God
This neat booklet came out this year. My publisher has a cool series for churches to hand out to people—sort of “evangelistic tracts” but done with real class—something you’d be proud to give a friend, not those cheap newsprint tracts that holler at unbelievers with a turn-or-burn style. Writing an easy-going friendly pocket booklet that would nudge an unbeliever toward God without beating them over the head was a cool challenge. I had a manuscript from 21 years ago that was still sitting in “inventory” so I got it out and reworked it for this booklet. My friend Chris Bounds was not real happy with it (it was too Quaker-ish for him) but no matter, I was happy with it, the publisher was happy, and the churches who are buying them in quantity seem happy so here it is—“what is written is written.”

3. Listening to God through Romans
This was a typical “writing assignment” someone gets who is faithful to do what the Publisher asks, does it fairly well, and delivers the manuscript on time. The project is part of a new series of Bible studies designed along the lectio divina format and I enjoyed writing it. Romans came out last summer and missed my last year’s inventory list. Of course, I’m not a Bible expert, let alone a Romans expert. What I did was go to lunch with Ken Schenck (who is both a Bible expert and a Romans expert) for several weeks and pulled his trigger and let him talk for an hour while I scribbled furiously. Then I went and wrote that week’s assignment and scheduled another lunch before writing the next one. So blame Schenck for anything you don’t like in there and thank me for whatever you agree with ;-) Lectio Divina is a sort of fad in Bible study recently so if you are into Bible studies you might like this. It came out this year.

4. D-Series: Baptism and Communion
This was a fun write… part of a new discipleship series coming out by my publisher. About 7500 words… four “lessons.” I like curriculum writing. They tell you exactly what to write (e.g. “a 5-7 word title followed by 125-150 word introduction” or “50-175 word “to think about” paragraph” etc.) This sort of writing is “writing on demand.” You sit down and follow the directions… your “creativity” comes is in the way you write things, not in the design or format—that’s already done and you are expected to rigidly follow the format. This will be published in this coming year.

5. Light From the Word
Another write-on-demand assignment—a week’s worth of devotionals, all very short. The hard part of this kind of writing is writing so few words (only about 200-250 a day) and packing in something to “haunt” the reader all day (who often reads this in the morning during…well, in the morning). I enjoy this sort of writing and “my week” in Light from the Word will appear this coming December 13-19. (It will also appear online here)

6. Chapter—Classic Holiness Writings
Jeremy Summers and some other emerging ministers are putting together a book like Foster’s, only of classic holiness writings. I had William Law in this book and selected a section from Law’s A serious Call to a devout and Holy Life and wrote a short introduction to it. This was an easy assignment but it will be a neat book (Wesleyan Publishing House—this coming year). I forget the name of the book, but I’ll mention it when it comes out.

7. Chapter 3: the Church Jesus Builds
Wesleyan educators (VIA Kerry Kind, head of education for Wesleyans) and the Wesleyan Publishing House do one book a year written by Wesleyan educators to help and support pastors. Joe Coleson edits them (Nazarene Theological seminary). The first book focused on preaching. This second one was on ecclesiology and it came out this year. I did chapter 3 in this book—The Church is Holy. This is a neat book…and after the disastrous tragedy of Barna’s Revolution, a good ecclesiology cannot come too soon. It is now available, though I wrote my chapter last summer.

8. Chapter: new Holiness book
Part of the same series as above—this one comes out June ’08 in time for General Conference and the related colloquium on holiness at that time. Done by Wesleyan educators, I wrote the chapter this summer on Receiving holiness in this book.

9. Chapter: new Worship book.
A group of evangelical Worship educators are putting together this book that will be published by Abingdon this October under the title The Message in the Music(Amazon page). This book is edited by Robert H. Woods & Brian D. Walrath (Spring Arbor). It takes the most popular songs used in worship today (from CCLI license data) and asks what these teach. I wrote chapter 3 in this book— I’m Desperate for You: Male Perception of Romantic Lyrics in Contemporary Worship Music. With a qualitative study of young adult males, I studied how contemporary “love songs to Jesus” come across to young adult males. My chapter follows a wonderful chapter (I wish I had written it!) by Jenell Williams Paris on how worship songs tend to follow the model of God as the “leading man” and humans as the “leading lady,” all consummated by God scooping up the worshipper and “riding off together into the sunset.” When I read Janell’s chapter I gave up and tried to get out of this assignment…she said everything I wanted to say. However, Robert Woods suggested I test the effect on young adult males so I did the qualitative study. This book will rock the worship world when it arrives.

10. New book: Common Ground—where all Christians agree
My major writing this year has focused on this new book. I spent most every week writing on this new book (about 12 hours per week) and turned in draft 16 in August. It focuses on the unified doctrines that all Christians at all times and in places agree on—the Apostle’s Creed. Last year I read and researched all year and I did the writing this year. While it won’t come out for another year the writing is done. Now the editor does his work and the publisher decides what to call it and designs the cover etc. I’ll have to go over the edits and galleys through this coming year but the hardest work is done on this one now. It should be out by next summer. I’m really happy with it. It may be the most important book I’ve written (which doesn’t automatically transfer to making it the best selling, of course). I’ll keep you posted on its progress.

Well, I think that wraps up another year of writing. Of course it is not may “day job.” I do writing on the side… mostly from time I save from not watching TV, raising children or having any hobbies and free time through the school year. That is why I don’t write the Tuesday Column in the summers. I need summers to waste going backpacking, watching movies and fiddling around in my garage and garden. Summer is about to close and playtime is over… thus this inventory of the last years writing and publishing… now its time to get back to work.
--Keith Drury
August, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Paul & Brooke Kind Wedding Sermon

Lasting love

Paul and Brooke, from the beginning of scripture God has had plenty to say about the union of a man and woman in marriage. Marriage was established by God and God blesses marriage. Later on in this ceremony as your minister I will bless your marriage… Your parents have already blessed it and the entire body of friends and relatives have traveled here today to bless your marriage. Most of all in this ceremony today though, we will ask GOD to bless your union of love. It is love that will keep you together.

Back in 1975 when I was only married a half dozen years or so the number one hit song was by the Captain and Tennille “Love will keep us together.” They were right—it is love that will keeps your marriage together. But, what kind of love? That is my first question--what sort of love will keep you together?

It is not just chemistry-love. Recent science has shown there really is a chemical reaction in people “in love.” The chemical is adrenaline. It gives a jolt, a high, and makes the heart speed up and flutter. However. those same studies show that after about a year and a half the adrenaline quits spiking—what then? This kind of infatuation we call “Romantic love” or “puppy love” Lasting love is more than this chemical reaction producing attraction or desire. Passion passes—at least this initial kind of passion. Love is more than passionate feelings. So, what kind of love will keep you together all your lives.

The answer is in the Bible, but first, let's consider some lines from “The Fiddler on the Roof” on the same subject. I’m sure you recall the story of the philosophical Russian milkman Tevya. Times were changing and that affected Tevya’s Jewish family traditions. Rather than using the traditional matchmaker’s arrangements, young people were now getting married out of love, including Tevya’s own daughters. It was a new idea—marrying out of love. The notion challenges Tevya and causes him to reflect on his own marriage.

One day Tevya asks his wife, “Golda, do you love me?”
Golda replies: “Do I what?”
T: “Do you love me?”
G: “Do I love you? With our daughters getting married and this trouble in the town, you’re upset, you’re worn out, go inside, go lie down, maybe its indigestion.”
T: “Oh, No Golda, “I’m asking you a question. Do you love me?”
G: “You’re a fool.”
T: “I know, but do you love me?”
G: “Do I love you? Well . . For twenty-five years I washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked your cow. After twenty-five years why talk about love right now?”
T: “Golda, the first time I met you it was on our wedding day. I was scared.”
G: “I was shy.”
T:“I was nervous.”
G: “So was I.”
T: “But my father and mother said we’d learn to love each other and now I’m asking, Golda, ‘Do you love me?’”
G: “I’m your wife.”
T: “I know, but do you love me?”
G: “Do I love him? For twenty five years I lived with him, fought with him, starved with him, twenty-five years my bed is his, If that’s not love, what is?”
T: “Then you love me.”
G: “I suppose I do.”
T: “And I suppose I love you too. It doesn’t change a thing, but even so, after twenty-five years it’s nice to know.”
Golda’s kind of love is often dismissed by today’s feeling oriented, adrenaline-addicted world. We think she needs a lesson in loving. But Golda was actually closer to the Bible’s view of love than we think. IN the Bible loving is action. It is put this way in 1 Corinthians 13…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-6)

The Bible agrees with Golda’s view: love is more than a feeling—it is action. Love is a commitment to act lovingly. Love might begin with feelings of attraction and pulsating bursts of adrenaline but it continues by commitment and loving actions. Lasting love involves making meals, washing the dishes, repairing the car and taking out the garbage. It has periods of passion but it also sometimes has periods of routine. Marital love of the lasting variety is a commitment to love another person in this way for life. The way you will put that in the vows you wrote to say in a moment is, “wherever our journey takes us; in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; as long as we both shall live.”

Too many believe romantic love automatically brings the lasting kind of love the Bible speaks of. It opens the doorway to it, but does not make it happen automatically. Lasting love requires work. And it works only as you work it. Real love takes effort.

Paul and Brooke, we pray that you will work at being patient and kind, not being envious or rude or arrogant. We pray you will daily work to not insist on your own way, to not to be irritable or resentful. Some days you will have to work harder than others, but we pray you will make this Job #1 for the rest of your lives.
This kind of love—lasting love—will keep you together in the future. Your commitment today is not just about your past or present feelings. It is a commitment to action in the future—a commitment to work at really loving and to keep doing those kinds of things wherever your journey takes you. That is my first point: today you are committing to working at loving --really loving, the lasting kind of love that will keep you together...and keep working at it throughout all your entire lives.

My second point is to remind you where you will get this kind of love. There is only one way to have a marriage made in heaven. That is to draw on God’s power for loving. God is the Source of lasting love. Your love for each other—real love—is but a reflection of God’s great love for each of you. The writer of I John said it this way: My dear friends, let us love one another,because the source of love is God.This is what love really is: not that we have loved God,but that God loved us first.

Your love is not self-created—not real love. Real lasting love comes from God who first loved us—with real love, of the lasting variety. The vows you exchange today are not just between the two of you, or even between you, the state, and this gathered group. You have made God a witness and your view are made in the presence of the God who will enble you to keep on loving.

All of us here today want you to be more in love in ten and 20 and 40 years from now than you are today The Captain and Tennille still are together in their 60’s… and they are still singing love songs to each other (though I don’t expect people under to 40 to know this). We here expect Godly love—the lasting kind—to be even more true of you, Paul and Brooke in the future as your love grows. We know you are committed not only to each other but to God the Source of lasting love. This is the kind of loving marriage God blesses. Your lifelong commitment tis what we come here today to bless along with God.

Paul and Brooke… we all love you. And our prayer for you today and throughout your marriage is found in Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 3: 12
"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you."

Keith Drury
August 10, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Family update

A bit of family news from my family this summer:

Dave is now executive pastor at College Wesleyan in Marion. They are living in a rental while they build a new house. We'll get to see Dave and Kathy (and their kids--Max, Karina and Lauren) more now.

John and Mandy are pregnant with a little boy, due just before Christmas. Both of them are now in the PhD program at Princeton--he is in theology she is in youth ministry.

Sharon loves he new "dream job" teaching in the doctoral program in leadership at IWU...and to boot she has most of July and August off... which is why we're heading our next week for a hundred miles of hiking on the Colorado Trail before school starts again.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bourne made me sick

The Bourne Ultimatum made me sick—literally. It was a great movie I think--but the hand-held herky-jerky camera style and the constant out-of-focus panning of the camera r(especially during the action shots--which are 95% of the movie) was actually nauseating to me—I almost used the popcorn bag as an air sickness bag. I sat too far up front for this movie. I finally had to start closing my eyes periodically to get reoriented (which made me realize there was virtually no dialogue to listen to).

If you go to Bourne show up early and get seats in the back row if you have any tendencies at all to get carsick. Or maybe take a Dramamine before you show up.

If they do a Bourne IV I hope they drop the Buffy-style camera work… I want to watch Bourne be disoriented, not get disoriented myself!

After the movie I started the book which I got for my birthday from my son, John... and the book is superb. Indeed, the plot of the whole series is great--I discover "who I am'" from looking to the past... "identity is found in memory." What a great truth for the "holiness movement" who has apparently gone through a similar experience as Bourne. Great book. I bet I would have loved the movie more if I had sat in the back seat.