Next Saturday evening is my book launch, where I get to celebrate the creation of two very different pieces of work. I love them both!
The Future is Bivocational is a proposal for a different approach to ministry in the years that lie ahead. It is based on both personal experience and biblical reflection – written primarily for those who are moving into church leadership roles in the years ahead. That said I hope it inspires others to consider how we may re-invent this thing called ‘pastoral ministry/leadership’. As I look at this book now I feel like I hit the mark with what I wanted to say. You may not agree with it, but I feel like I managed to get on paper the ideas I have been wrestling with over many years.
The second is titled On Earth as in Heaven, but you won’t find it on Amazon or anywhere for that matter. For the last few years I have been producing a photobook of the beaches in our local area. It’s a personal project so it’s all funded by us until the books are sold and then the profits go to a charity in Bali. This year rather than just offer a book of photos I decided to also write some stories of where we have seen signs of the kingdom of God in our neighbourhood – stories of kindness, forgiveness, courage, beauty and other qualities that hint towards the world that Jesus invites us into.
Again I feel like it turned out very much as I had hoped. I have always wanted to have a book I could give to friends that spoke of the things that matter to Jesus but in a way that could be understood by the average Aussie. I have stumbled on a few along the way, but this one feels like what I hoped it would. As I look at the pictures and re-read the stories I feel satisfied that it will do the job I had hoped and along the way it’s profits will feed a bunch of struggling families in Bali.
Both books make me smile inside because they have captured so much of my own heart.
A few days ago I asked Sam if he was coming to the book launch. It’s a very busy time for him at Uni with exams before and after that Saturday evening. I may be there’ he said, ‘Is it, like, a big thing?’
‘Interesting question…’ i said ‘and as a matter of fact, yeah it is!’ I didn’t say that to give him the guilts. I said it because in that moment I literally realised that yeah… it really is a big thing.
And as I said it I realised that for me it is bigger than the two degrees I have completed. I didn’t even attend the graduation for my Phys Ed degree! It was a means to an end and nothing more. And then my theology degree was a decent achievement, but it was me following someone else’s plans for my learning.
Writing a book is so so very different. This is not completing a course and ensuring I have done enough to pass. This is a much more self directed, visceral expression of thought. Books flow from your own heart and head so they are deeply personal.
One book (Future is Bivocational) I would describe as reflective and hopefully provocative – the other is beautiful and inspirational. And they both capture the essence of who I am. In that conversation with Sam I realised ‘yeah… it is a big thing…’
In saying that I am offering no comment on the success of the books. I doubt either will reach a massive audience and if I ever recoup the time and cash I have put into these books then it would be miraculous… But I feel like I want to celebrate a significant achievement. I am prone to under-playing this kind of stuff and to just moving on to the next project, but this time I do want to make something of it that
And Sam… As much as I’d love to have you there, I really won’t be wounded if you do have to study – but thanks for helping me realise that it is kind of a big thing for me 🙂