Personal Blog

Personal notes and diary entries –



I’ve gotten bored with the rambling state of this personal blog…  but I still occasionally post a personal update (and an IWU update) mostly for former students who are always asking me “What’s going on now?”  “What are you teaching this semester?”  Any new profs at IWU?  How’d your hike go?  But I am tired of this formal personal blog—so all you’ll find here is old news.  When I do post a recent blog it is here:





Blogs I did before I got bored with this page me:


April 26, 2005   Headed out of town!  I’m overdue on updating my personal blog.  I just finished my grading for the Spring semester and have a few moments.  This has been a hard year for me—teaching an overload both semesters and producing three full books in the space of 8 months has pretty well wrung every extra moment out of my life.  I tucked the semester’s grades into the envelops for the records office today and sent off my third manuscript for a “pastor-edit” and I have hardly any energy left to spend.  I’m looking forward to a more normal year next fall.  As for now… I’m headed out of town.  Actually I’ll be headed out three times this summer—maybe four.  As soon as graduation is over I’m leaving town with four students to finish up the final 350 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in California.  I’ve completed 2250 miles so far and only have to walk across the Mojave desert and across three mountain ranges to finish up.  This is what I do to rest? Not exactly rest physically, but I rest spiritually and emotionally.  No phone calls, no appointments, no Internet, no email, no schedule, no committees and no preparation or grading.  All I have to worry about is where the next water will be and staying out of reach of the desert rattlesnakes. In three weeks when I get back I’ll be so wound down I will have to ask people what day it is and won’t even think to ask the time—I’ll look up toward the sky and guess.  Sharon prefers the post-hike edition of me, and that will likely be more true this year.  From may 22-June 15 I’ll be doing editing the third manuscript taking it from draft 4 to draft11 before I turn it in.  Then I’m headed off in June for a second hike on the John Muir Trail with my two sons, and a third time in July to hike 300 miles of the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire and Maine.  In August Sharon and I have a more conventional vacation planned before I return to the fall semester (I hope) relaxed and ready to burn the candle again (though only at one end next year).  I’ll update this blog and add some pictures of my hikes but right now I’m to exhausted to do much more than…well, what I just did.



February 13, 2005   Headed to Greece.  Spring break is here (at my University Spring break arrives quite a bit earlier than actual Spring.).  A group of students decided they wanted to visit Greece for Spring Break—wandering Corinth, Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens and whatever else excites them. Problem: students are too young to rent cars or vans.  Enter “Coach D” who is a sucker for such trips.  So I’ll be driving a van for these students but I’m not leading the trip. Hey it is my vacation.  When they consult their roadmap and say, “Turn right—I turn right (even if I know it is the wrong way.)  I’m just the driver—they decide where to go and the students have all taken a city where they will be the guide while I just saunter along smiling.  Will they learn as much as they would if I ran a typical follow-the-umbrella tour?  They won’t hear as much—but they’ll learn more.  Most tour groups assume that much learning comes from much listening.  This one assumes that much learning comes form discovery. I’ve done this 3-4 other times.  Yes students do crazy things—like Mandy Hontz crawling through the entire Roman sewer system at Corinth.  She missed some things in Corinth—but which tour bus enables students to be come experts on first century sewer construction?  Oh yeah—since I’ll be with poor students we’ll be sleeping on the ground in olive groves or beside the Mediterranean sea.  We’ll never visit a restaurant—just buy munchies in little ma-pa stores along the roads.  Total on-site expenses for the students run around $100 usually.  I’ll be back mid-March looking forward to a shower and real bed.  If you are interested in the sorts of places we’ll be going click here to read about a pre trip years ago.



February 13, 2005   I'm still sick…. Moving past the three-week mark now.   Hack hack hack… acute Bronchitis that say… {hack-Hack-Hack}  Now Sharon’s got it too—so it sounds like a TB ward here for sure now.  I go to bed totally exhausted only to get up in total exhaustion again the next morning.  So my “personal medical trainer” worried it might be more than the flu so I got to give her all kind of liquids for testing and get my Chest X-rayed and my heart EKG’ed.   Nothing—I’m just down with the flu (I am remembering that millions died of the flue before flu shots—which my government bungled badly this year.  S I ought to blame Bush for bungling the whole thing, or the Democrats for making taxes too high to make it cheap enough here in this country.  Whatever.  I don’t want to blame anybody  I don't really care.   Someone could be teaching heresy in Sunday school or molesting children next door or murdering preachers in Marion, or committing adultery while growing a church and I'd hardly notice.  Who cares?   When students come late to class I say, "noooooo problem."  I'm grading papers as if they are all good.   I have no opinions on anything at all.  Actually I can barely work up an opinion on Orange Juice or Kool aid.  "whatever" is my total attitude toward life... all I care about is me.  My headache, my cough, my aches, my pains, my schedule, my sleep, my life.  All I care about is me.  Which is why this may be an important lesson.   Lots of people live like this all the time.



January 25, 2005A Man For All Seasons  by Robert Bolt

I'm down with the flu and Sharon is teaching in Indianapolis tonight so I watched “A Man for all Seasons” again.  This time I watched it with an eye to why one of my best friends is so engrossed with the film.   I think I saw it fresh tonight as I focused on archetypes of powerful people, For what its worth here's is how the film gripped me tonight:


1. I deeply respect Sir Thomas' conviction--it reminded me of another film that affected me similarly--Gandhi.  Yet I readily admit I do not have his conviction.  I think I would have compromised, gone with the flow, "worked it out," made lemonade out Henry VIII & Cromwell’s lemons.  I admire Thomas and wish I were a man of such deep conviction yet at the same time I suspect he may have been a fool--given the subsequent history.  Is a man wise to sacrifice his life and family for a hopeless cause?   If Thomas were in the world today and able to see the subsequent history would he still have bent over the beheading block?  So I find myself both admiring him and wagging my head at his foolish stubbornness at the same time.  That haunts me—in a sense heroes like this are mirrors we hold up to ourselves to see if we measure up.  I don’t, but I think I’m right for it.  I think he is a hero but a foolish one.  Yet I can’t get him out of my mind.  He judges me and keep me thinking about defining what issues I might be willing to stand for at the cost of my life.  I kept wondering why he didn’t just go to Spain or somewhere else.  Did he have a martyr complex and delighted in being remembered as a hero of conviction—if so then he has his reward.  But I cannot escape him and his life judges mine.


2. I know some Cranmers too, though not many/ They are brilliant snakes--as wise as serpents but far more harmful than doves.  They know how to get "what's best for the kingdom" (or church or institution etc.)  Cromwells are predictable I too easily dismiss them—but I’m wary of them for they are poisonous vipers and will get you under the table.   Cromwells seem to make excellent seconds-in-command if they work for a righteous ruler… but they become evil despots when they gain too much power.  Cromwell reminds me of men I’ve known who do evil things for good purposes.  “It had to be done,” they sigh afterward.  They are like the final executioner in the movie with his axe—they regretfully destroy other men and women for the sake of the cause.


3. I’ve known a few Richards too.  Unlike Cromwells they act totally in their own self interest—not even on behalf of the church.   I don’t think Richards are even saved though we have them in the church sometimes.   They are illegal aliens in the church.


4. I’ve dealt with a few Henry VIII’s life too.  They are powerful and engaging people.  You love them and fear them at once.  One moment they are seducing you with affirmation, encouragement and flattery and the next moment they are shouting at you (in the church the shouting part usually comes ricocheting  through other people).  Henry VIII’s are actually more of a mystery to me than all the rest.  They know what they want personally, but they also know what “the people” need—in Henry’s  case an heir to the throne.  They do the good-cop-bad-cop routine by playing both roles.  They alternately cajole then bully.  Henry VIII’s are powers to contend with  Eventually when they are unable to flatter or bully their will on others they simply find others to do their dirty work and destroy their enemies who were once friends. 


Great movie!




December 16th 2004

Grades are in and I’m on Christmas break—while I usually put in 70 hour weeks while school is on I sure have fun when it is out—and right now I’m out until a week after New Year’s.  Today my day was, well, ordinary. I read the whole newspaper and made a second pot of coffee.  I did grocery shopping as such a meandering pace that I kept offering people to go ahead of me in line and took a bunch of carts back to the store besides my own.  If I weren’t so hurried all the time I’d be a better Christian—or at least appear to be a better one to others.   Tonight is the President’s reception at Indiana Wesleyan University. Jim Barnes is our President and he has been for about 900 years. When he took over this school couldn’t even meet the payroll each month.  It was on the ropes.  Now we’re booming.  So tonight I’ll see about a thousand people who are happy the school is booming.  They will show up to eat pretty little squares of candy and strawberries dipped in chocolate.  We come for the friendship with other staff at IWU and to get the food.  We also get a gift—a generous check form President Barnes. Nobody ever knows how much it will be for.  Some say it is based on how well the school’s doing.  That may be right since at least one year when we hadn’t grown so fast we just got a turkey).  But on many years it is like an extra week’s salary or even more.  Here’s what I like most about it.  (Warning—democrat leanings may be showing). The check is for the exact same amount for every single employee.  That means the lady who runs the sweeper in the hall and cleans the windows the students smudge in my building gets the exact same check as the Dean of the university.  I like that.  The rest of the year we all get paid according to “what we’re worth” on the employment market—but this week, the week we’re celebrating Christ’s birth we all get the same—sort of like grace. For those at the bottom of the payroll food chain tonight is a really big night.  Me too.  For me it is mostly to watch  those for whom the check literally makes Christmas gifts possible.  I watch them quietly slip to the side of the reception hall and glance in their envelope to see what sort of Christmas their kids will have this year.  When they see the amount I like to see their eyes light up and then I watch them go whisper something to their spouse who beams gratefully.  It’s neat.  I’m looking forward to it.  And I get to eat those fancy little sweets too.


December 14th  2004

OK had to come back sooner than I thought. Gee whiz there are a lot of grateful readers out there after all! See my response to these emails.



December 4th 2004

I’m going on strike—I’m weary for people shouting at me in emails.  I think I’ll stop writing until I get 1000 nice emails.  Sometimes I wonder why I write this column—the people who write hate the columns and those who like it don’t write. I’m going to put my energies into my day job—at least until I get 1000 responses..



November 25th  2004….  Thanksgiving day—Posted another “connections” column

I like this idea of “connections”—how our views in one area might be connected to our views in another area.  For instance I think I saw a connection between people’s view of evolution and sanctification, at least I uncovered a connection between people’s views on the size and power of secular government and the size of power of a denominational headquarters.  So I did another connections column.  his one going to make trouble so I’m glad I’m not on any church or institution’s official site—there are advantages to being on one’s own server.  Some folk won’t like my mentioning this matter at all—they’d rather keep it secret. So, here I go pulling off the bed sheets of another sacred cow.  This one is about the average evangelical’s  doctrine of welfare.” OK—I just posted it—now I’m going to go out and make a snowman.


November 25th  2004….  “Thanksmas” day

All the birds flew home for “Thanksmas” this year.  Dave & Kathy toted in their two kids—Max & Karina. John  and Mandy flew in from Princeton. We’re exchanging “Thanksmas” gifts since we will not be together in December  It snowed overnight in Marion so we ought to make a snowman today I think.  Each of us is writing in our “Drury family journal”—entries reflecting on last year and listing what we are anticipating for next year—sort of a “new years” thing, but done at Christmas (and every other year, “Thanksmas”).  It is fun to look back on what I looked forward to a year ago.  In fact we’ve done this for years—so it is neat to read back five years ago at what we were thinking.  OK, waiting for the turkey to finish—I think I’ll write another connections column—I’m feeling frisky.


November 22nd  2004….  Posted some preview pictures for May PCT hike


November 18th  2004….  Finished Draft 6 of the book

It occurs to me I ought to mention what I actually do in editing a book.  Most novice writers guess one merely writes a first draft and ships it off to “editors” who make it look great.  It is true that editors improve a manuscript, but any writer worth his or her royalty will learn to rewrite their own work over and over.  Anyone can write a first draft.  What turns a bunch of ideas in words into something pleasurable to read is the editing.  A first draft is like the framing of a house.  Editing is fine work but it is the only way to make a book a delight to read.  It is just plain hard work.  I usually do about ten drafts before I turn a manuscript over to the editor who guides another 3-5 drafts—that may be as high as 15 drafts by the time it goes to press.  Most beginner writers don’t have the patience to do this sort of rewrite.  Maybe some don’t have to, but I do.  I’ve never written a draft of a book that was worthy of publishing until at least five drafts, and then it would be “acceptable” but not a pleasure to read.  So I do about ten drafts.  But they are not all the same kind of editing.  Here are the drafts I have scheduled for the book I’m now editing:


Draft 1— First draft    --rough work not even spell-checked; I never back up and fix anything while writing a first draft

Draft 2— Length edit #1 –Finding the too-long sections and cutting them (in the current book 5,000 words)

Draft 3— Length edit #2 –Length editing takes a second work of grace—to cut words I still left/loved too much

Draft 4— Reader input edit—Taking marked manuscripts from scholars (Schenck, Lennox) and changing manuscript

Draft 5— Sand and polish edit –Now, it is time to rewrite the whole thing from first to last—15 hours

Draft 6— Sentence length edit  Another grunt trip thru—especially shortening too-long sentences but also sanding.

Draft 7— First line edit Just crafting the first line of every paragraph perfectly.

Draft 8— Reader input edit second set of inputters--student, theologian, historian, pastor, laity marked manuscript

Draft 9— Underliners edit Find and improve the phrase people should underline in every paragraph (a delight!)

Draft 10__ Read-aloud edit Read the entire manuscript aloud fast and rewrite any place I stumble.

Draft 11— Grammar edit Final grammar edit before the real editor gets the manuscript


November 16th  2004 (late)  Wrote up a piece on evangelical’s view of government

Oh boy—why do I keep meddling in politics and the chruch.  Oh well, this is really part of the new “Connections” sewries.


November 16th  2004….  Finished  draft 5 of book & my kick-off address for tomorrow’s colloquium

I’m slugging though editing my book due January 6.  I’ve edited in all the input from the first draft’s readers Steve Lennox and Ken Schenck.  I’ve also done several length-edits to pare down the size of some of the chapters.  Today I started draft 5—a “sanding and polishing” edit which is time consuming but relaxing work in a way.  It is like finish carpentry—a little bit of work makes a big difference in reading.  I ought to list the various kinds of “edits” I do here sometimes—remind me if I forget.  I also finished When Christians get in power –a shirt paper I’m delivering tomorrow to the IWU religion and faculty at our semi-annual colloquium.  I’m suggesting we take the teachings of Jesus seriously when we get in power.  Can we”  Can we really?  Is Ivan Pongracic is right—a real Christian can’t take political office and stay a Christian?  Finally to reward myself for a hard day’s work I wrote a little piece on Three Important [political] doctrines of Evangelicals.  HA! That was fun—the second in my series on “connections.”



November 12th  2004….  Why do I publish with a “little” Publishing House instead of the “big guys”

People sometimes ask me "Why do you stay with a smaller Publishing House like The Wesleyan Publishing House instead of going with one of the big publishers where you'd get more visibility?”  In fact pastors are sometimes disappointed that I've not "gone with the big guys" assuming that real success would be getting a contract with them. 

Here’s why I stay with my publisher.

1.      He cares about ministry not just profit.  My publisher has to make a profit but they really care about ministry.  I’ve done a couple of books with a “big guy” publisher but I never felt they really cared about ministry as much—in fact that publisher’s parent company was completely secular and they were just milking the Christian market. In fact notice I said “he” referring to my publisher—because my publisher is a person not an institution—his name is Don Cady and I even know his email address.

2.      They will invest advertising money in a book.  The big guys will invest in big writers like Rick Warren or John Maxwell but for little guys like me they’ll often simply add my book to their catalog and “see if it goes anywhere.”  My publisher may only do a half-dozen books a year so when they do a book it is almost as important to them as it is to me.

3.      My publisher doesn’t do “defensive publishing.”  My publisher doesn’t buy up manuscripts, doing a short run just to keep them out of the hands of their competitors.  

4.      They keep a book in print. The big guys are increasingly going for the instant book market—they like to get a hit, print it fast and sell bezillions in the first year then dump them to a salvage company and go find the next hot thing.  I don’t want to write “throwaway” books.  My publisher keeps one of my books in print even when it has drifted down in sales.  I like that.  I want to be a writer of lasting books.

5.      I believe God promotes a book more than a publisher.  You may scoff at this but I really believe advertising won’t make a book.   It can give it a temporary bump but it won’t be sustained.  But I admit fame will sell a book—why else would the books of X Y and Z sell so well (you insert their names).  But advertising alone won’t do it.  I’m not silly enough to think that quality will sell a book either—the closeout takes is full of quality books.  So what sells a book if you’re not famous?   God.  And word of  mouth in the “body of Christ” guided by the Holy Spirit. That’s what I believe sells books if you are not famous.  So if I had written the Prayer of Jabez I wouldn’t care that I was going with a tiny publisher (as he did) I’d just figure if God and the church decided the book was important my dinky publisher in Oregon would be able to keep up with the demand.   I really this.  I believe God does the (permanent) marketing.  I only deserve about 100,000 circulation of my books because that’s all God and His church have determined I deserve.  That satisfies me.  If I get better maybe I’ll get another 100,000 or a million or whatever—but I don’t believe advertising will make that happen—only God can, and the church.  If God’s and the church decide my books are worth more,  people will be able to get them even though I have a smaller publisher. My publisher can print millions of copies as easily as the big guys can—in fact when one of my books take off big time my publisher will go back to press overnight—it means more to them than it would to a biggie. If I believed publishing Christian books were merely a human effort and not of God why would I write religious books?

6.      The size of a publisher doesn’t matter like it once did.  My publisher has access to most of the market the big guys have.  It is true the big guys sometimes can “get shelf space” in Christian bookstores easier, but since I’m not already-famous person they wouldn’t give me much space anyway—and then not for long.  If God moves people to get my book they can get it.  If a Christian likes my book and tells another Christian—it is easy to get.  With the advent of and anyone anywhere in the world can get just about any book they want to anyway.

7.      I get personal care as a writer.  Dealing with my publisher is not like dealing with a large impersonal company it is more like dealing with a local church—they really care about my writing and my ministry and helping me get better.  My editor acts like a friend not an employee of a company that us using me as “raw material” for their industry. 


These are at least some of the reasons I don’t divorce my publisher and run off with a prettier one.   I’ve seen the prettier one without make-up and I like who I have now better.




 November 11th  2004….  Reflection on finishing the first draft of new book

Today I finished the first draft of the book on “Means of Grace” “spiritual Disciplines” or “Spiritual Formation” whichever the Publisher decides to call it.  I read it over today.  How do I feel upon reading the first draft?  I feel nothing.  I neither feel elated nor depressed with the work—I just feel numb.  I feel like the book’s been touching the hem of my garment and I’ve lost a lot of virtue to it.  Mostly I’m just exhausted.  I am neither proud nor embarrassed by the manuscript—I’m mostly just weary of it.   I need this weekend getaway with Sharon to defrag my mental and spiritual hard drive.  What’s ahead for me now?  I will rewrite the book eleven more times before the January 6 due date.  By then I will be able to recite parts of the book from memory and it will be as good as I can get it.  I’ll be so tired of it then I’ll never want to see the manuscript again.  But I will have to see it—for my editor, larry Wilson is a great rewrite editor and he’ll make it even better—but I’ll have to go through all his edits each time he then does another draft.  Finally I’ll get the “galley proofs” which are printouts of exactly the way the edited-upon-edited-upon-edited manuscript will look like in the final book and I’ll have to read every word, comma, and period a final time for after that we live with “Pilate’s truth” (“what is written is written”) and it may not be able to be changed for ten years, and only the if it keeps selling briskly.  All that to say that now that I’ve finished about 180 pages I really am about half way done with the work.  I wish I could just had in the rough draft and be done with it.  That’s what some of my students do ;-)




 November 9th  2004….  First draft of new book almost done—let’s go hiking!

 I’m close to finishing my first draft of the new book on “Means of Grace” or “Personal Spiritual Formation” or “Spiritual Disciplines” or whatever the publisher decides to call it…  I should finish up the last chapter this week—Thursday God willing. If I do I plan to reward myself by hiking some of the Knobstone Trail with Sharon this Saturday… Can’t wait to rustle through those oak leaves and climb those myriad knobs again!  OK I have 11 more edits to do before turning it in January 6—but the first draft is the big accomplishment…from here on it is merely sanding and polishing—the ideas are there.  You can see some excerpts here.



 November 8th  2004….  Flaps down, landing gear down, headed for the runway

One of the wonderful things about teaching is how it is neatly divided into semesters and actually “ends.”  Most other ministry I’ve done is really never done.  Teaching gets done each semester.  In fact there is THE DAY each semester when you sense  “we’re starting our descent for the landing.”   Sometimes there’s still a month left—actually about a third of the semester—but you’re descending anyway… you can feel it in the air.  It is a delightful day.  You started off in September climbing up from take-off.  Then you held the altitude steady for a month or so flying at a fixed altitude.  But now you’ve started the descent—the time has come to collect the glasses, return the tray tables to their places,stow away the gear and get ready to land.  Students and faculty start watching the altimeter wind down toward exams.  We all start listing “what’s left” in the course until Christmas. TODAY was that day for this semester.  It is a delightful day!  OK, now to land this thing well!


 October 18th 2004….  I’m cranking out book chapters

I’m getting emails form former students asking, “How’s the semester going?” reminding me I need to update my personal blog.  The reason I’ve said little is there is little to say.  But I’ll say the little here.  I’m steaming ahead full speed on the book mentioned below—faster than any pace I’ve ever had.  I wrote all day Tuesdays and all day Thursdays.  My writing day goes something like this:

6:30 Get up, drink coffee, read the paper, drink more coffee, take a bath

8:00 Read a few final chapters of other books that have dealt with my topic of the day—take single-word notes on 3/5 cards

9:00 Read research report from my research assistant, Nicole Bennett—take single-word notes on 3X5 cards.

9:30 Outline the day’s chapter by organizing the 3X5 cards on the floor in my “writer’s womb”

10:00 Begin writing, grind through the outline producing a very rough first draft

3:00 PM Usually by now the first draft is finished and I allow myself to eat “lunch”—“delayed gratification.”

3:30 Do second draft (usually meaning cutting out 500 words from a 4,000 word chapter—the first of many bloody cuts to come)

4:30 totally sick of the chapter by now I escape the computer and go do something silly or shallow


As to the “rest of my life” my courses are going great—perhaps the best ones I’ve had. I LOVE teaching “Local Church Education” which is the intro CE course for ministers—we are taking a “spiritual formation approach” which is just dandy!  I can’t believe the papers these students are writing—they are better than some of my first books!  I’m continuing to mentor students—eight of them this semester have standing appointments.   I’m going absolutely nowhere for fall break—since I’m chained to the computer every “day off” I am supposed to have.  HOWEVER I am doing absolutely nothing at all on Saturdays—not even shaving.  When writing the on the spiritual discipline of “rest” I got so convicted that I changed my lifestyle.  I have spent too much of my life using “rest days” as recreation days.  They were jammed full of things to accomplish so they were never “ceasing.”  I’ve made a new decision—and now consider whatever I “accomplish” on Saturdays a failure (in accomplishing my goal of “rest.”


My children Dave & Kathy,  John & Mandy along with grand kids Max and Karina will all be here for “Thanksmas” so I’m looking forward to that.  Not much else happening though… .except cranking through this manuscript… thanks for your prayers—I feel it as I write.



September-October-November 2004….  I’m cranking out book chapters

While backpacking this summer I outlined in my mind two new books. While hiking I commit to not write anything down so only what I remember lasts.  I remembered the outline and when I got home I typed up it up and sent it off to my publisher (Wesleyan Publishing House).  Well their book committee liked the ideas and I’m off writing now.  The first manuscript is due Valentines day, and the second one by the end of this summer—so I’m hustling now.  Both books are spiritual formation books.  The first is on the “Disciplines of personal spiritual formation” –how to grow spiritually personally—alone with God.  The second book focuses on the spiritual formation of others—the skills we need to develop to help a spouse, a small group or whole church “form Christ.”  I’ve written one chapter as the template: solitude.  I wrote a silence chapter this week but while backing it up I lost the whole thing—so I have to re-write that one now.  My outline idea so far:


PART 1---Disciplines of ACTION… (things we DO in order to place ourselves in the channel for God’s changing grace )
Disciplines like Confession, Forgiving, Giving/ Sacrifice, Hospitality, Journaling, Meditation, Prayer, Scripture, Serving, Study, Penance –do you have other suggestions?

PART 2--- Disciplines of ABSTINENCE -- things we STOP DOING in order to place ourselves in the channel for God’s changing grace.  Disciplines like Fasting, Silence, Simplicity, Solitude, Obedience/Submission, Self-denial, Rest  –do you have other suggestions?
PART 3--- Disciplines of RESPONSE  -- when things come our way—good and bad—we can RESPOND in a way that enables Christ to be formed in our character, or not.  These disciplines include responding to Enemies, Pain, Persecution, Rejection, Suffering, Temptation, a supernatural touch, Divorce, Success, Death –do you have other suggestions?

THE FINAL CHAPTER IS THE CLINCHER in this book.  Something like “The Trouble with this Book”  In that chapter I plan to remind us of the shortcomings of a focus on personal spiritual formation (works-righteousness, self-centeredness, pride, and a total misunderstanding of the corporate nature of spiritual formation).  I then intend to urge readers to move into the second book.

The second book will focus on the SKILLS FOR THE SPIRITUAL FORMATION OF OTHERS –this book will plough new ground in helping members of the body of Christ learn the basic skills of prompting another person to grow toward Christ.  I can’t wait to finish the first book so I can start this one.  Hope you’ll feel the same way when you study the first book in a group or class. 

If you have any ideas on any of this I’m still moldable--  Send them my way

 Sunday  September 19th 2004  On “losing faith”

While writing to a former student today I dug out this old journal entry to share with them. Of course I was too frightened to share it at the time with others.  I suppose however that one advantage of journaling is you can dig out old things and relate them to the struggles of others.  And it remind you of your own trials that we too soon filter out as we rewrite the history of our own spiritual lives.  That entry:

"I may lose all my faith through this.  There may be none left.  What then?  What will I do?  

I know. I'd preach the gospel anyway.  I'd work in the church anyway.  I'd lead people to Christ anyway.  I'd mentor people anyway. I'd organize people into groups so that they could become like Christ…anyway.  Anyway.  It may not be so important that I have faith than I give it.  That I do your work on earth with others, than I have your smile upon my head.  You've been hiding from me, Lord.  For two years now.  Perhaps I will never again feel your presence, sense your touch, or even have faith in you.  Perhaps I shall go to hell and in the end be rejected by you.  So be it.  You can pay me or not, I intend to work for you.  I will work at bringing in your kingdom even if you do not let me be in it.  In that sense I can't lose my faith--it is too stubborn, and it is not a feeling at all but the stubborn insistence that I am your son and your worker even if you never again look my way.

Recently I’ve gotten a dozen emails from former students or pastors experiencing such a “dark night of the soul.”  I don’t know if I can help them—they have to walk through that lonesome valley alone—not even God seems to walk alone, at least he seems to have abandoned us.   But I can dig out my journaling and share it to say that I got to the other side of that “threshing floor.”  It was not long after this writing that God returned in a felling-sort-of-way.  However I have never since then experienced the depth of emotions and feelings I had before.  It became a transition for me—I no longer work for the pay, I work for Christ because that is who I am.  I am his and I will serve him no matter what the emotional paycheck. 



Wednesday  September 15th 2004  Holiness Movement is Dead—a retrospective

That was fun!   Schmul publishing is doing a book called "Counterpoint: Dialogue with Drury on the Holiness Movement" using my Holiness movement is Dead address from about ten years ago. They asked me to write a footnoted version updating it with my subsequent reflections—sort of an annotated a retrospective.  I did the rough draft of today and posted it (in Word document format)


Monday  September 13th 2004  “Checkmate”

I remember the first time my son David beat me at chess.  We'd played every night at supper, and he learned the game by being defeated nightly.  He gradually got better (I didn’t) until finally one night he was able to announce in triumph at the after-dinner game, "Checkmate!"   I studied the pieces and sure enough he had gotten good enough to defeat his chess-mentor.  This was the beginning of a more even challenge and eventually a regular streak of David’s beating me at chess...until finally I was not longer a challenge to him and our nightly chess games disappeared. 

            That's the way it is with good parenting—you love to see your offspring rise to get better than you.  You are beaten--he's better at the game that you are, and you're proud.  That's being a dad.

            I remember when It happened at ping-pong too--the game where my son whipped me.  And I was proud. But beaten.  This is the sweet-and-sour role of a dad. 

            Tonight it happened again for me.  On the sun porch in the darkness of a quiet evening I listened to David’s expositional message on Psalm 91—on the subject of “rest."  I heard my son preach a wonderful expositional sermon packed with advice, wisdom and sensible instruction that fortified the listeners—fortified me too.  I nodded.  I was convicted.  I took notes with a tiny flashlight (to put this in my upcoming book). I was proud.  I was “checkmated.”  My son Dave preached a better sermon than me.  So I am surpassed by Dave’s preaching & administration, and to John’s knowledge and scholarship. I tip my king to them.  And I am glad. 


Wednesday  September 8th 2004  Start Classes today

Today is my first day of classes.  This semester I have five courses:

·        Church Leadership… a course I’ve taught every semester the last ten years,(though it is never the same)

·        Leadership Practicum… supervising the students in getting actual leadership experience in a local church.

·        Spiritual Formation in the Local Church… well it isn’t really called that—it is called Local Church Education, but I don’t tell the students that

·        Spiritual formation practicum… supervising their getting experience in Christian Education in a local church

·        Curriculum theory and development… another CE course!  This one right out of my past life and love.  I love CE… everything else I teach out of discipline, CE I teach out of love. This is the closest thing I do to a writing class at IWU.

I meet my classes later today.  I’m nervous.  Like preaching a candidate sermon, you never get used to it.  The first class is always forbidding to me.  I’ll sleep better after today.



Tuesday  September 7th  2004  Posted several new columns

I posted my outline on Preaching for a Verdict that I had lost for so long—Ken Heer found the notes and typed them up for me. Thanks Ken!  Also wrote about Paul Meeks’ pastoral prayers.


Monday  August 23rd 2004  Posted a new Tuesday Column

Posted my “loser church” article from this summer’s “mystery shopper” visit to a church in Julian California. It is a nice companion piece to the “Little Thriving church in Oregon” that has been so reprinted.


Previous Blogs

Summer 2004 (Summer trip, moving to new house, etc)