Did You You Know that Dietrich Bonhoeffer Was a Youth Pastor? [Book Week]

Last Friday I was wandering through my old stomping grounds, the National Youth Workers Convention, in Sacramento. Beside me was Andrew Root, a friend since we were both Ph.D. students at Princeton Theological Seminary. Later that day we would sit together on a theological panel considering the state of the science-and-religion dialogue, but at that moment we were wandering through the conference book store.

Andrew Root

Root is among the top rank of theologians working in youth ministry today, and he is undisputedly the most prolific author in the field, often publishing two books per year. Virtually an entire table was committed to his books, but one book was no where to be found. Root’s latest book, Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker: A Theological Vision for Discipleship and Life Together was sold out, and the conference wasn’t even 24 hours old.

The popularity of Root’s new book is testament to a couple things, not least of which is the ongoing interest in Bonhoeffer, a 20th century theologian, activist, and martyr. Root has long studied Bonhoeffer, and he’s used the content of Bonhoeffer’s unfinished masterpiece, Ethics, to argue that relationship is not a means to an end in Christian ministry — relationship is the telos of ministry, since that’s where Christ enters the human situation.

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10 Tips for Working with an Editor [Manuscript Monday]

This post is sponsored by Grammarly. I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because so many people have accused me of stealing my theology from Pope Francis.

A month ago today, I was in Chicago, meeting with my editor about my next book. I’ve known him professionally and as a friend for over a decade, but we’ve never worked together before, so I didn’t know quite what to expect. Over the course of a day, sitting at his kitchen table, we talked about everything from what I see as my role in the wider world to what should be my “voice” in this book to how the table of contents should flow.

As a result of our meeting, the table of contents is, in fact, completely different. I had written about 23,000 words of the manuscript prior to our meeting, so we also went over some passages, talking about my voice, my writing style, etc. All in all, it was a great meeting, and I’m fortunate to be working with him.

With a dozen books in print, I’ve worked with almost that many editors. I’ve also worked as an editor, both in my role at sparkhouse, and in a couple book projects. So, from my vantage point, here are my Top Ten Tips for Working with an Editor:

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When Divorce Is Not the End of the Story

Laura Truax

I met Laura Truax a couple years ago. She’s a force of nature — high spirited, joyful, loving. She pastors a church in Chicago that, as unlikely as it may seem, was founded by Moody Bible Institute as a place for its students to attend. That church has changed significantly over the years and, suffice it to say, with a woman pastor and an openness to GLBT persons, Moody no longer recommends it to their students.

When we met, Laura told me that she was writing a book, and we chatted about the writing process. We did not, however, talk about the content of her book. So after my initial impression of her as ebullient and joyous, I was surprised to get her book in the mail last week and find out that it’s about failure and brokenness.

And then I was really floored when I read the opening lines, about her divorce. Yes, I was hooked.

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From the Archive: A Top Ten List

Originally published April 3, 2005:

This Tuesday will mark the last time ever that I will sit in a class as a student (maybe that’s why they call the Ph.D. a “terminal degree”). I’ve read an enormous amount over the past two years, so I thought I’d look back and try to rank which books have been most influential on my thinking. Since I couldn’t narrow it to ten, here’s my shot at the top eleven:

11. Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church by Kenda Creasy Dean

10. Simulacra and Simulation by Jean O. Baudrillard

9. Making Social Science Matter: How Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again by Bent Flyvbjerg

8. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel Huntington

via A Top Ten List | Tony Jones.


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