Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Your Own Handwriting Intro

I'm working on a book and decided to post the Introduction here for comment, criticism and ideas on where you think it should go. FYI, the book's primary target is 18-25 year-olds raised in Christian homes, though others may find it helpful as well.

Imagine if everything you’ve ever learned was placed in three-ring binders.

All you know about math, history, the Internet, video games, the opposite sex.
Everything.In binders stacked all around the room, each one labeled with the subject matter.

As you look around, you see a folder labeled “Faith,” and you pull it out from its stack and open it.

Sure enough, it’s your faith journey. From the Bible stories you learned as a preschooler to the sermon that got your attention in ninth grade. It’s all there.
Then you notice something: None of it is in your own handwriting.

Some is in your mom or dad’s handwriting. Some in your pastor’s or youth leader’s or priest’s. And while you don’t recognize it for sure, the story of David and Goliath is possibly in the handwriting of the person who first taught you that story in elementary school.

Here’s the thing. This is normal.

Most of us absorb our faith from the people around us. And as we reach our late teens and early twenties, we often find that the faith we possess isn’t really our own.

It’s the one given to us by others.

Which brings us to a challenge and the reason for this book.

When it comes to faith, one size definitely does not fit all. No one else’s faith—even someone you love and respect dearly—won’t work for you in the long haul. It will fall apart in difficult times and will keep you spiritually uncomfortable for the rest of your life. Or lead to you living a marginalized faith, or living a life entirely without faith.

And that’s where this book comes in.

This isn’t a book to convince you to replace the faith you inherited with the one I espouse. This is a guide book to help you personalize your faith. Make it your own. Take out the stuff that doesn’t fit you. Add in some things that fit you well. Forge an authentic Christian faith that matches your passions and personality.

Help you re-write your faith in your own handwriting.


Barry said...

I like it. The target audience is good for obvious reasons. I look forward to seeing some topics and/or table of contents.

amanda said...

Its a great idea...as I was telling you earlier this year, I thought I had what I believed down pat, but when questions came up from friends, I didn't have anything to tell them about what I believed that was "in my own words".

Its so easy to be brought up in church and to just go with the flow, and never really look at the issues and ideas that are the foundation of your faith. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, there have been several things that I have changed my views on since growing up and moving into my own life.

I know that God will guide, and you will speak His words, and I look forward to reading it myself someday!

M. Anthony Carr said...

Great concept! This is exactly what I went through in college, but didn't have a way to label it so I could process it. Will you deal with EACH tab - work, faith, sex, culture, morality, etc.? or is this primarily about faith?

Keep me in the loop.

Steve Davis said...

My concept is to focus on the essentials of what it is to be you and the essentials of what it takes to be a true follower of Christ, and merge those two into the unique follower of Christ (masterpiece, Eph 2:10) God created us to be.

(By the way, I'll probably boil Christianity down into four boxes: The Reality of Jesus (incl death, bur & res); The Authority of the Book; The Necessity of Grace (incl our sinfulness); and the Need for Community. The idea is, if you look at every manifestation of legit church, those are the things you'll find in common, so those must be the essentials.

The plan is for the book to walk through those while at the same time helping the reader discover what makes them tick. At least, that's the goal.

Nelson said...

You may want to think a LOT about the last paragraph. Letting people determine what 'fits' and what should be taken out can be very dangerous.
A better method may be to help them determine how your 'boxes' apply to them personally.

Steve Davis said...

It's dangerous unless you keep the four "poles" of Jesus, Bible, Grace and Community. As we develop them in the book, there will be tons of room for stuff to be added/removed while still staying totally orthodox--even if highly uncomfortable for many existing believers.

Anonymous said...

Steve: I am aware of your passion for youth who fall away from the church as soon as they feel it is no longer relevent to them but I don't think this problem is specific to this age cohort. I do think that the most critical time for youth-and their parents- to address this problem is before they leave home though; other wise this generation will raise their own families with out any faith at all. The time to work towards addressing this is now!