The Elders at Bethlehem have graciously given me an 8-week writing leave that starts today, Thursday, February 5, 2009. I like to think of it as a “writing assignment.” It is part of my calling as an elder at Bethlehem. I am working—probably harder and longer hours than when I am not on writing leave.
At this point, I am still praying about what projects to make a priority. There are so many things I want to write! Below are the possible projects. Prioritizing requires some extended reflection and prayer that I will do in the first days of the leave.
- Make a serious beginning on a longer book on divine providence, perhaps called something like Sightings of the Sovereignty of God.
The idea here is to encompass all of Scripture and show from it the hundreds of ways God reveals his absolute sovereignty over all things. This would probably take more than one writing leave.
- Write a shorter book called perhaps Reasoning with Jesus: Thinking for the Glory of Christ.
I have most of the raw material for this already on paper in several messages. The idea would be to provide a plea, perhaps especially to younger people, to devote their best mental efforts to understanding and living out the Christian faith.
But it would be for everybody and would be different from lots of books about the intellectual life in that it would be largely expositions of Scripture. What does it mean to love God with our minds? How important is education (which is not the same as “school”)? What are people doing with their minds today that makes Jesus angry?
- Preparing the Ruth cycle of Advent poems for publication without Christmas endings so that in the next year we can put together a suite of materials on Ruth including the book I just finished (Ruth: A Sweet and Bitter Providence) and a set of video messages on the book to be recorded next December.
- I dream of writing a children’s book. It may be as small as one of the old Arch Books, retelling biblical stories in poetry form. Or it may be a little longer and more substantial in parabolic form.
- There is churning in me a book on issues of race and ethnicity in the church and in America. If I live, it will be done. It’s a matter of timing. I never feel qualified to write it. But, as with marriage, I may just have to do it anyway and let the chips fall where they may.
- I might be stirred to do one more book on justification.
What needs to be done to complete the picture I have drawn in the first two books (Counted Righteous in Christ and The Future of Justification) is a biblical exposition of how “works” function in relationship to justification. This would involve a treatment of the nature of the faith that justifies, and how it relates to works.
- Make a serious beginning toward publishing the Romans sermons in four volumes, possibly editing one volume per year for four years.
Please pray for guidance, for truth, for creative and compelling expression, and for disciplined energy.