During this time away from the daily concerns of serving University Baptist Church, I am trying to transform my old research into a book. From 2007-14, I studied liberation theology, existential philosophy, Christian doctrine, and related fields. My audience was a handful of examiners. They read what I wrote and endorsed my entry into the club. By ‘club’, I mean people who have a PhD and can be considered academics. Having succeeded in jumping through their hoops, I set my work on a shelf.
Over the years, I considered editing my research for a wider audience. I have the words (156,243 of them!). They are coherent, or, rather, several examiners read my words and judged they formed a coherent argument. Why have I struggled to transform this work from a doctoral thesis into a monograph? The simplest answer is time.
Each week, important and urgent tasks fill my calendar. In this way, I am like many other people. With responsibilities come meetings, phone calls, appointments, writing jobs, and more. Either these things stand in the way of my writing, or I let them become an excuse for not finishing this project. Regardless, the result is the same. I have not turned my thesis into a book.
I am filled with admiration for the people who can juggle everything in the daily grind while maintaining a steady output of written work. Over the last several years, I have been reading the works of Friedrich Schleiermacher. Not only was he a professor at the University of Berlin, but he was a pastor with preaching responsibilities each week. While teaching at the university and serving the people Trinity Church in Berlin, he wrote some of the most significant works in theology. In fact, his book The Christian Faith kicked off contemporary theology. To me, this accomplishment is astonishing and reflects his calling.
I look back over my research and it still seems fresh. My challenge is to help others see how it is relevant and contributes to the way we can talk about God. Now I have some time. I can look at what I wrote and play with the sentences. This will not be a book for a general audience, but even specialists need readable books.
Now, it’s back to writing…