Let’s Write a Book Together (You can help with your suggestions)

Let’s write a book and get it on the Christian Service Best-Seller list.

The working title:  How To Minister Among The Poor With Jesus.

Chapter Headings (topics the book will explore)

  • Bearing The Image of God
  • Worship
  • Getting Past Our Contempt
  • The Role of the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus As A Model
  • Jesus’s Words As Directives
  • Unlearning Broken Ideas

 

Okay.  There’s a start… the seeds.

Now I invite you, the blog readers, to criticize it.

What to change?  What to keep as it is?  What to get rid of?  What to add to it?  What order should we rearrange?

It’s all fair game.

Please, be my consultants.

 

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23 comments

  1. Agent X · 8 Days Ago

    This comment sent in anonymously:

    The Impact of John Calvin and Predestination on ministry to the Cursed – Chapter
    Modern Ethos of the Poor as Cursed – Chapter
    The Impact of the Constancy of the Poor “What’s the Use” – Chapter
    The Impact of the Master-Apprentice Abuse on Unemployment/homelessness- Chapter
    The Impact of Farm Land Takeaways and displaced/unemployed farmers – Chapter
    The False Impression the Down and Out – Don’t Want Work -Chapte

    Like

    • Agent X · 8 Days Ago

      I am reasonably sure this critical input from the anonymous source has in mind dealing with the topics found recently in a paper posted on anothers blog dealing with these things. The paper was very informal, not well done at all, actually. Even the author said as much by the end. However, it makes a very interesting rough draft that could/should be developed further. I would concur with that much – definitely.

      You can find the original post here:

      http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/17/151118/752

      and in fact, I will see about reblogging it on this blog.

      Thanx for the input.

      Like

    • Agent X · 7 Days Ago

      Another comment from the anonymous commentator:

      Greetings,
      I first encountered study of Calvin/predestination and their impact upon the thinking on the New England Christians under the leadership of Richard T. Hughes back at Southwest Missouri State University circa 1977.
      I think in fact he mentioned the disenfranchised (modern nomenclature) were under the bale of predestination as the “damned”. After all there were only two groups “the saved” and “the damned”.
      With that in mind two things are powerfully true.
      1. You will find a very formal discussion of Calvin etal in the writings of Richard T. Hughes. He is a potent scholar.
      2. It could be useful to reconsider street ministry, yea even ministry to the LGBTQ folk as “Ministry to the Damned”! Albeit I am sure those folks will reject being called that. Nevertheless that term better reflects the ethos of the mainline church/Christians and their adverse or aloofness toward this broad, fuzzy category of folks who are still treated as lost and virtually unredeemable therefore basically unworthy of evangelistic efforts and minimal or marginal material resources.
      Last these thoughts study and presentation may not fit well on bumper sticker blogs. Nevertheless careful thinking suggests there is power in going to this place of pain and shame. BTW I see it as undergirding my own continuing efforts on behalf of the LBGTQ folks with the same gospel as was preached at Corinth.
      I offer these words to say my suggestions for Chapters in your “Book” are not offered as some offhand remark or merely some informal suggestions.
      Blessings
      Keep up the ministry to the lost … the Great Physician did not come for the “healthy” Jesus said… so you’re doing his work. Hallelujah

      Like

      • Agent X · 7 Days Ago

        As I see it:

        Your interest in Calvinism’s influence on current disregard for the poor interests me too. I don’t know a lot about Calvinism beyond the belief in a stern predestination – applied in modern times to individual believers as whether they will go to heaven or hell when they die and how that it is unalterable. I have no doubt that applied as such, it was a mistake. And as I see it, most of modern/post-modern, American Christianity of the last 50 – 100 years has rejected “predestination” along these lines exactly. I don’t know a single Protestant, much less a whole group, who believes that now.

        That said, there is still plenty of cause to think that this old dusty view of God and faith still has it’s influences (especially regarding the poor and so forth), thus the informal paper struck a nerve with me too.

        Calvinism, in fact, is so belittled in my experience that it only got passing mention in my studies in the academy, and even then it was practically made fun of… as if it were ridiculous and indefensible today. A joke, basically, a joke that people used to take seriously, but now we ALL just KNOW better!

        But N.T. Wright, in recent years has begun to rehabilitate Calvinism for me (what little I know). And the thing Calvinism has going for it is a profound respect for the Sovereignty of God. Where as we modern/post-modern Protestants of the last 50 – 100 years all embrace St. Augustine’s Free Will Theodicy, Calvinism embraced God’s Sovereignty, and I personally think that is lacking today… the embrace, not the sovereignty.

        Point being, even with negative influence still felt by this otherwise rehabilitated way of viewing God and life, it is all very complicated stuff. Does it have bearing? Yes. I think so. But a HOW TO book is probably to simple for it all.

        Suffice it to say, we have contempt for the poor. There is no doubt Calvinism helped to influence it, but it is unlikely very many people whose contempt I would want to confront would be willing or able to cope with unraveling these behind-the-scenes influences on their thinking.

        I guess I wonder if there is a way to simplify the gist of the point for the purposes of THIS book. And I imagine it would be subsumed in the chapter on getting past contempt. I can imagine it having footnotes that would send those insightful readers looking for more depth in that direction, but I don’t see this book being scholarly really. I imagine it being more a manual for guiding ministry among the poor that would counteract the garbage put forth in When Helping Hurts and similar books that likewise use a lot of complexity to negate rather simple directives and examples from Jesus and the early church.

        I just took the Seeking Shalom class that spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy exploring “the causes of poverty”. I don’t mean to say there is NO value in such a study, but I think in this case it amounted to making a complex smokescreen behind which we can hide our contempt for the poor. We wound up theorizing that giving the poor goods, services, and/or money disempowered them/enabled them and a lot of stuff like that that Jesus never says. And the mantra/slogan it all boiled down to was “Stop Meeting Needs; Start Seeking Shalom”. An idea you definitely don’t find in Jesus!

        Jesus sought Shalom by/through meeting needs!

        But in the hands of these clowns, that idea got thoroughly hijacked with a lot of complexity that was not even necessary for a class such as the one we were taking.

        So, I would want to temper that problem in this book.

        btw…

        I AM NOT REJECTING your point by saying this. But I hope to shape it so that it fits the scope I am looking for in reaching the Bible class and the people therein that I was just among. That is an idea that drives my suggestion for writing a book to begin with…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. T. F. Thompson · 8 Days Ago

    I see nothing to argue with your resolution. Either you do it or owe up to it and say you will NOT do it. How you justify that as a Christian, I have no idea. Among other things, Jesus was a straight shooter and called the cards for exactly what they were. No, we do NOT like poor: we hate them mostly which is why we moved them to where we can’t see them. The same is true with prisoners. Out of sight…out of mind. The temple leaders of the day were identical. They were way up their in the temple and didn’t want to be contaminated or defiled by the lowly masses. Today, they are not the masses, but still in numbers enough where we want our distance. Yes, we love and pray for them up in heaven but not here on earth.

    I ask only this: let the good Christians give up what they pay for their stupid smart phones to pay for the poor. They are to forfeit their lives, but no, they won’t even give up their stupid phones that run about $200 a month for a family. So you see, the life of one person is not even worth the price of a crummy cell phone, much less the sacrifice of their life. When it comes to snakes and vipers, we are in GOOD company for all we need to do to meet them is look at us: each other. And I say, call a spade a spade. Here at the Gates of Eden no one is worthy to enter except those of whom we despise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great start. Not sure how collaborative you want this book to be. There are different approaches with a single author to multiple authors with an overall editor etc. Do you have a sense of the direction. If you want multiple authors, there are some tools that can help facilitate that effort.

    One topic that we may want to pursue is what I would call “Poverty as a lifestyle choice”. Or something like that. There are those who choose to be poor, in support of the mission of Jesus. Is it just something that happens or do we have a certain level of obligation to live that way?

    Be blessed!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agent X · 8 Days Ago

      To be forthright, the post was a lark. I do not plan to actually write the book. I really want the feedback on it though. And if it gets enough steam, I might think about it more seriously.

      At the moment, the post is really taking off. Getting some hits and some feedback. I am loving the ideas. Perhaps there is something here to work with for real???

      At the moment, let’s just roll with the feedback and see where it goes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ha! Call me gullible! 🙂

        Be blessed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Patrizia Blondett Veen · 8 Days Ago

        I am writing my book now and know nothing about being able to help you. I gave you my thoughts and I hope you took me seriously because I am a straight shooter. If you want feedback from me on a specific subject just tell me on the Reader, if not God Bless you and do it! I am been obedient. If it is from God you must write it. Mine is a call from Him

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Patrizia Blondett Veen · 8 Days Ago

    Humility and Joy in Giving.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Patrizia Blondett Veen · 8 Days Ago

    Do without to give!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Patrizia Blondett Veen · 8 Days Ago

    as a Silly Example, it just hurts to give someone my favorite shirt but, that is giving!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Agent X · 8 Days Ago

    I have written several unpublished books over the last decade. A couple of them I would like to move forward with publishing with traditional publishing.

    When it comes to this topic, I have a hard time thinking another book of this kind will be particularly helpful, and I don’t want to see it join the ranks of When Helping Hurts and such books. I would rather write a challenge to that book. But I have my hands full with other things these days.

    That said…

    I might be persuaded to pursue it, especially if this post helps develop the idea seriously.

    On the other hand, I am cool with someone else taking this book and writing it. There is no reason it has to be me. If I write it, I will not put my name on it anyway. So it may as well be you… or you… or you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Patrizia Blondett Veen · 7 Days Ago

    I have no idea why God opened the door for me but I understand I must obey.If all goes well, I will have to put my name most likely because is a testimony of God’s love and Grace. I am writing it, she will when I am done put it together I guess. She is a wonderful gentle but strong woman.

    Like

  9. Patrizia Blondett Veen · 7 Days Ago

    LL I am not a writer, I am just a simple woman with a story, a serious story to tell and I hope when done 5 years from now, LOL will help others and give hope to some. That is all I ask.

    Like

  10. Patrizia Blondett Veen · 7 Days Ago

    I cannot find a Teply box for your new post so, I just want to let you know that, I do not believe in predestination.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Debi · 5 Days Ago

    I am not a writer, and yet I write sometimes. I have, however, been an editor in a past life.

    I would re-order as shown:

    Poverty as a lifestyle choice (what about those who “choose” to be poor (NOT to minister to the poor?”)

    Getting Past Our Contempt (or this could be 1st)

    Unlearning Broken Ideas

    Bearing The Image of God; Jesus As A Model; Jesus’ Words As Directives
    (these 3 sound kind of the same to me, unless I’m off on a completely different tangent than you)

    The Role of the Holy Spirit (or this could be 1st or 2nd)

    Worship (how to do it; what to include; what to exclude)

    Poverty as a lifestyle choice (addressing those as suggested above – the ones who become poor one way or another in order to minister to the poor)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · 5 Days Ago

      I am so glad you responded with this. Maybe I only fantasized this kind of response, but yours is very near the voice in my head talking to me.

      Like you, I think about challenging contempt first.

      It makes sense. If contempt is there needing to be addressed, and I think it is, then there is no point starting anywhere else. In fact, I have been reflecting on how obvious contempt is, yet how overtly addressing it is missing from the books and seminars I have looked into. We just accept that it is not our problem, but that is probably denial. I began thinking how appropriate it would have been to address it, and how it would sound, if it had been, coming from the professionals who produce those books and seminars etc. I think it could have been done, should have been done, and been done a lot more charitably than I am apt to do it.

      I like the way you subsume Jesus as model and Jesus’ directives etc under bearing the image. That shows me you are thinking about this critically. And I can see that all being part of the same chapter too.

      Thanx for this. You put some real pep in my step with this!! This is blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. laceduplutheran · 3 Days Ago

    How about starting with God as the center and work your way out. I’m specifically talking about the order of the chapters. Start with God as the foundation, then move to the problems we have and then how to deal with them (or rather how God works through us to change us and deal with the “problems.”

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    • Agent X · 3 Days Ago

      Excellent point. I like it. Will do some thinking along this line… Would love for you to offer a list of chapter headings and order them the way you think… and maybe even give a sentence description of each etc… (If you care to invest that much time and thought into it) Would love to shape this up with your help…

      Liked by 1 person

      • laceduplutheran · 3 Days Ago

        How about this:
        1. Intro – start with some stories/a story of one individual that you could follow through the book. Stories are what will keep people. Ultimately, the book is about the humanity of the people that so many people miss seeing. The poor/homeless end up being a project or a mission or something else – a means to an end, rather than people. I envision this being the purpose of the book.
        2. Bearing The Image of God the Father – The Father is the Creator. I imagine this chapter would talk about the Imago Dei and how this relates to the poor and homeless also being in the image of God, not just those who have resources. This would relate to the idea that everyone has value – it’s a matter of tapping into the value of each person. They may not even realize their own value.
        3. Jesus As A Model. There’s a ton here. You could talk about Jesus commands, his ministry of spending time with the outcasts of society. It stems first from his relationship with the Father. If we are followers of Jesus, then it is important for us to see what Jesus did. There is plenty of scripture to pull from on this.
        4 – Follower of Jesus or following Jesus? This moves us from Jesus as just a model to what it means to actually follow Jesus and what he commands us to do. It moves us from just wanting the label of Christian to actually living it out. I could see a focus on Jesus call to many people to “Follow me” as he says. He didn’t say, “memorize the right theology.”
        5 – The Role of the Holy Spirit. The “third” person of the Trinity. What is the Spirit and how does the Spirit act? I envision this being like what Acts is to Luke – the continuation of the story. This sets us up to move outward to how this relates to us today.
        6 – Worship – Great stuff here. I envision talking about the Ordo – the order of the liturgy. I come from a more liturgical background, so excuse me if I love this section. First you could talk about what liturgy is – “the work of the people.” Then you could talk about the four parts of the liturgy – gathering together, hearing and talking about the Word, sharing the meal, and being sent. This sets you right up for understanding the next chapter…
        7 – Who is serving who? Several topics to consider here – what is service and why do we do it? If you are doing for selfies to post on Facebook only, then you aren’t really serving someone. If you are doing it to accompany people on their journey of life, then you are also being served. There is room to talk again about the value inherit in people and how they can be a blessing to us also. I know you don’t like When Helping Hurts, but there is one section in the book that I think has value – the idea that we all have broken relationships with God, it’s just a matter of what relationships are broken.
        8 – Unlearning Broken Ideas. I envision this chapter being on unlearning the really bad stereotypes that exist around poverty and homelessness. Here there is room for plenty of stories of people who shatter the stereo types.
        9 – Getting Past Our Contempt. This seems to be a continuation of the previous chapter. The last chapter maybe is more focused on our thoughts and this chapter might be more focused on our actions.
        10 – Uncomfortable and inconvenienced. Maybe this turns into some kind of practical application/concluding chapter. Maybe something like acknowledging poverty and homelessness in the reader’s area, and some initial steps to do something about it. Who can be helpful. I think people will want to do something after reading the rest. That’s the idea anyway. Make people uncomfortable and inconvenienced enough to get up and get moving. It’s the idea that we can’t keep driving past all this and claim to be a follower of Jesus and just keep driving. What we claim to believe should make us so uncomfortable and inconvenienced that we must respond – we are compelled to.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Agent X · 2 Days Ago

        Wow!

        My first reaction is Wow! I think I need your input for this alright. First off… Thanx for caring enough to respond as thoughtfully as this.

        Then… after that… let me try to engage your offering here bit by bit. Will probably take me a while. Lots here to think about. Try some on, look it over… try some other… come back to the first, weigh it out…

        And to all others watching/reading here… feel free to jump in… If it gets too chaotic, its okay to step back. But this post seems to be entertaining quite a lot of traffic. I presume that means the interest level is both hi and (based on some of the comments) deep. So, let’s push this and see where it gets.

        Also, I think that since I originally posted the idea, that it’s my book… but not necessarily. As I stated before, I originally posted this on a lark. Kinda see if it gets a bite… and it has… But honestly, my readers are welcome to make it theirs, if the interest level is that high. Just please let us know…

        Okay… Lets get into this…

        For now I will respond to point 1/Intro.

        Stories. Always a good idea. I agree. The only thing… as soon as I say I wanna write one, I go blank. If I have one to tell, I can just tell it, but in this project, I have a project to write and want to support it with stories. But at the moment I don’t have them.

        Should I uses stories I have told here before? Get entirely new ones? Should they be mine? Or someone elses? Should I feature my own experience as the focus and let the substories of others come in and out along the way?

        Sorry, I sense complications in this, and maybe they aren’t really there, but I sense them.

        That said, I agree. Stories will draw people in and hold their attention… get them invested at deeper levels. I can imagine that a good story at the opening 0f the book would be a good hook. I never forget Tony Campolo’s book, The Kingdom of God is a Party. The whole first chapter is a story about throwing a birthday party for a hooker in the middle of the night. That chapter is the most memorable part of the book and well worth the price. In fact, I have some, but little, use for the rest of the book! That story is the guts n glory of the book.

        I know that for my own purposes, I would like to keep this project at about the same caliber as Campolo’s. A pop Christian/Christian-living book. I don’t want to write a scholarly book. I would prefer to keep footnotes at 5 or less per chapter. I don’t want to argue extensive philosophy/doctrine and so forth, and stories will fit in that realm just fine.

        And I like your idea of starting the book with a story (moving a story to the opening), but I think the chapters need to reflect the logical outline (road map) of the book, and I sense that I should start the writing of that first. If that is right, then I should probably write the story/ies after I get the clear outline established – or at least started.

        I will come back to respond to other points as time and thought allow. Please feel free to respond to this response in the meantime.

        All are welcome to respond. I just ask that you give it the heading “point 1/Intro” so that I know where we are in this cumbersome conversation.

        Thanx

        X

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