Monday, January 4, 2010

Writing a Book is Like a Master Who Found His Laborers Slacking

I have taken January and February off from helping other people with their books and articles to free up my writing time to draft the follow-up to Your Jesus is Too Safe. I actually outlined the project last Christmas(!) but have been too swamped to begin writing it in earnest. But by the first of March I plan to have a submittable draft for what I'm tentatively calling Postcards from the Revolution: The Parables as Sabotage. I hope it will be a blessing to many, Lord willing it is published.

As if a kick in the pants to get going, I woke up this morning to an email from a guy who is currently reading YJITS asking me what I thought the laborers parable in Matthew 20 meant. Here was my take:
As for the kingdom parable of Matthew 20, I think it's immediate referent is Jesus' bringing in of "sinners" to the kingdom, not just faithful Jews. The laborers got paid the same, whether they'd worked one hour or all day. This is Jesus' way of saying God is generous and that his kingdom is for everyone who trusts in Christ, not just people who've grown up religious or always been well behaved, etc. The grumbling of the long-laborers at the end is like the older brother's grumbling to the father in the parable of the Lost Son.

The wide-frame referent is that the kingdom is for prodigals and older brothers alike, and you don't get in by "working hard" or some sort of seniority program but rather by being "hired by the master." So whether you've grown up in the church and been a good boy all your life or whether you were lost as a goose only to repent and trust Jesus at the last minute, all that God has is yours in Christ.

1 comment:

Matthew Anderson said...

Sounds like a cool project.

I just announced my own project a few hours ago, and someone already sent along this word from Winston Churchill:

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.”

Seems appropriate, I think. At least from what I hear, given that I haven't written mine yet.