The Riverside had its final service yesterday, and it was a remarkably blessed time for us, especially for me. In the midst of the bitter self-recriminations that I have been muttering to myself, it was nice to hear that actual and lasting good was accomplished there. There was a moment during the service where I realized that I should not be disappointed with how little we accomplished in two years, but instead, be amazed that so much was accomplished in such a short time. Maybe not much on paper, but a lot in the eyes of God. Nevertheless, as of January 22nd, the Riverside is no more and for the second time in my adult life, I find myself in-between jobs – exactly what am I supposed to do with myself until then?
Well…I think I’m going to write a book.
I want to publish an account of my family’s journey through the past few years, from planting the church, to Jonathan’s birth, and beyond. There are a few reasons why I want to do this – first, I think it is a darn good story that begs to be told. “A young family moves out of the suburbs to start a church in Washington D.C., only to discover two months in that the wife has aggressive breast cancer that is spreading fast. Then, another blow: the insurance company pulls their coverage on a technicality. While being wheeled in for her mastectomy, a routine blood test reveals the unthinkable – she is pregnant with their third child. What happens next? Will the wife survive? How about the child? The church? And the poor husband/father/pastor, does he make it out alive??? See, a natural page turner, which is a solid premise for any book, I would think. It could even be turned into a made-for-TV movie, where I would of course be portrayed by the resident Korean actor in Hollywood…”Jin” from Lost.
There was a shirtless picture of him that I thought about using, but then I thought the better of it.
Part of the reason I want to do this now is that I need to record all of these thoughts before they become too distant for me to recollect clearly, which unfortunately is already taking place. Did this all happen two years ago, or three? What exactly did I feel at that moment, or the other? Even though those memories are permanent, their clarity is not. Also, I know that a new job will take nearly all my time and energy, and effectively make this dedicated writing impossible. So it seems that this a perfect time to put in a lion’s share of work on the book.
But most importantly, I don’t think that I have anything more important or inspiring to share. Sure, I could take a church position doing this or that, helping organize this ministry or that one, and don’t get me wrong, that would be good and beneficial work for me to do. And it is work that I hope I can return to at some point. But in all honesty, anyone can do that, and most likely, could do it better than myself. The greatest good I can do for God’s Kingdom right now is to share my testimony with as many people as I can, because I’ve seen that story give people great and rare encouragement in the midst of their own struggles, when nothing else could. I’ve seen light bulbs go on in the eyes and minds of Christians who had unconsciously fallen prey to the prosperity gospel, as they realized that God’s presence and love would not be dimmed in the slightest by even the hardest of circumstances. I’ve seen complete strangers stare at me slack-jawed as I shared my story with them, and then walk away one small step closer to God.
So for the next few months, until a new job materializes for me, I’m going to throw myself into writing and finishing this memoir, and finding a publisher for it. After that, I will be more than happy to fade from the spotlight and take a new ministry position, filling out excel spreadsheets or mopping floors for a church somewhere. But this is, at least for the next few months, my calling and my ministry! I’m a little excited, and even more apprehensive, and I could really use your help:
– If you have any connections in the publishing world (with publishers, editors, agents, whatever), please put in a good word on my behalf. From my brief experience with writing so far, it seems that it is all about personal connections and recommendations…of which I have absolutely none. So please talk to anyone you know who has experience in that world, and let me know what they say. I will include a reference to you somewhere in the book, I promise… a positive one, even.
– This may seem unrelated, but if you enjoy the blog, tell others about it – post links to your Facebook page, Twitter, email friends and family, whatever! Basically, the more hits that I get on the blog, the easier it will be for me to convince a publisher that there will be an audience for the book. So NO MORE SECRET READERS! Yeah, I know you’re out there, you creepers. What I really need at this point are not secret readers, but rabid and vocal fans who will tell all their friends about this blog, because I’m too much of a pansy to get the word out myself.
And I will do my best to upload new content to you daily (???) to make it worth your support and clicks.
– Please keep me in your prayers. I do feel very strongly that God is calling me to tell this story, which is ultimately not MY story, but HIS. But at the same time, I have never considered a career in writing, and do not consider myself particularly gifted in this field. I don’t read enough to qualify as a good writer, I would think. Consequently, I am very apprehensive about this, and coming off of a failed church plant, do not really have an enormous amount of self-confidence at this point. If you could please pray that I would write with conviction and humanity, and that I would always remember that the purpose of this book is to bring greater glory to God, and God alone.
And please keep me accountable to this last point especially. I don’t want this book to be about me, a potential stepping stone to my Christian media empire. If this is the last book that I write, I’m completely fine with that. I’m actually hoping that they don’t publish my picture on the dust jacket, as the years have not been particularly kind to me, especially in the dust-jacket sense. And if they do publish a picture, maybe “Jin” will stand in for me.
(Hm. That’s good stuff. I’ll have to include that in the book.)