Thursday, December 26, 2013

Scribere Orare Erat... Letting it Go

Three and a half years ago, as I was transitioning from my work at Christ Church in Alexandria and preparing to come to St. John's in Grand Haven to be their new rector, I took down my old blog. While on pilgrimage at the Isle of Iona, I slowly went through the whole thing, editing it into book form.

My old blog was an important part of my life for quite a while. For six years, those who followed that blog followed by journey from Bible major at a small college in Michigan, to seminary in Texas, to disillusionment with the Churches of Christ and discovery of the Episcopal Church, to Sewanee, and then to my first cure at Christ Church.

The community that read that blog supported me during that time in more ways than anyone will ever know. To this day, I count people I met through that blog as some of my closest friends.

I submitted the manuscript to a couple publishers but no one had much interest. I got some very kind letters back, particularly from Church Publishing, but blogs turned into books are a dime a dozen.

I thought that maybe I'd do some more editing and try submitting it again... but it languished for all these years I've been at St. John's.

So, I finally decided, to heck with it.

I had said in my final blog post on that old blog that if no publishers wanted it, I might wind up just making the book form of it available on for any who was interested in it. And I realize that a handful of people will probably read this post and roll their eyes slightly, thinking, "Why would I want a book of this blog?"

I wrestled with that question myself over these past three years or so, as the edited version of this has rested in my laptop...

Then, today, I decided that I was going to stop trying to answer that question. I was going to stop saying I would get around to going through and editing this book into something else. This represents only a snapshot of my life, of my journey, but it represents a journey that was profoundly difficult for me. Who knows if anyone will buy it. I don't think that's even the point.

So, I finalized the proof today and uploaded it to If you would like to read it, you can get either a book version or an e-book version below.

As I did the final work on it to get it up today, I re-read some portions of it. I found typos, things I would say differently, but I left the majority of everything as it was edited during that pilgrimage. I didn't go through and try to perfect it. The flawed nature of it is important to maintain at this point, I think. I wrote the preface for it at the end of my pilgrimage on Iona... to change that or anything too significantly at this point would be to create something different.

And if there is one thing I learned during the six years that I wrote what turned into this book, it is this: to look as honestly as you can at yourself is an immensely important experience. Indeed, not only is the writing a form of prayer (as the title of the book indicates), but the trying to stand honestly before God... well, that's perhaps my favorite definition of prayer.

Paperback Version~ Scribere Orare Erat: To Write was to Pray
E-Book Version~ Scribere Orare Erat: To Write was to Pray

In 2004, a young Bible Major at a small evangelical liberal arts college in Michigan packed up all his belongings and moved to Texas. He thought he was going to pursue a Masters in Divinity degree and start a career as a minister in the conservative Churches of Christ (a cappella). However, during his sojourn in West Texas he became increasingly disillusioned in his church tradition and began searching for an expression of Christianity that was more ancient. In a stone church in Abilene, Texas, he discovered just that. Though it initially seemed like a 180 degree change from the tradition in which he was raised, he discovered within his new tradition the home he had always sought. Edited from his blog entries over the course of six years, this book tells the story of searching, finding, and unexpected return.

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