The First Draft
Every week we host visitors in our church. Sometimes they just look at us and say "this is weird." Others can tell that something special is happening. The blend of tradition, Gospel, worship, Sacrament, outreach, hospitality, and compassion speaks to them. They want to know more, especially about this mysterious thing called "Anglicanism."
Visitors, new comers, and members alike often ask me for a book that will guide them. Unfortunately a basic introduction to living life as an Anglican Christian does not exist. Believe me, I've looked for it.
When they ask, I usually grimace and say "I wish." I recommend some books, I point them to websites and podcasts. Ultimately, though, I've been frustrated. This tradition is so rich and so beautiful! I want people to have access to basic information.
That's why I decided to write that book, the one I wish I could give people. I've had many first starts. Most of these have ended, at best, as blog posts. About eighteen months ago I started to really work on it. A year ago, when I began my sabbatical, I decided I wanted to finish a first draft by Christmas. Today, May 28th, I finally finished that first draft.
The manuscript is over 90,500 words long. That's about 360 pages. Some of it I haven't read in months, other parts are fresh in my mind. I can't believe I wrote so much. I call it "The Anglican Way."
Now comes the task of editing. I've decided to spend serious time this summer working this thing through. When it's closer to being ready, I'm going to do something very scary. I'm going to send it to a few Anglican priest colleagues for their input. Once they're done with it I'll decide what to do next. I've got some ideas, and at least one publisher who is very interested in it. I may decide to publish it myself. Hard to say at this point.
I feel nervous, but I also feel good. I know there is a lot left to do. At the same time, I've never done this before. I honestly didn't know I was capable of it. With God's help, I've met my goal.
Here's what I'm looking forward to. I'm waiting for that day when someone comes up to me after worship and says "I really like what's going on here, but I don't understand it. Is there a book you can recommend?" And I can say, "actually, yes there is."