I got the letter yesterday. InterVarsity Press said that I “write well and have good insights here. However…..” They have declined publication. I’m not really surprised. And this is certainly not my last effort. It means the path is longer and the dream is tested under more patience. From what I can read in the letter, they won’t publish me because I’m not famous enough and they are unwilling to risk limited book sales, in this economy, with an unknown. That’s fair. And good stewardship on their part. I’m sad but still determined. I believe God wants this stuff out there.
So what is “this stuff”? I have noticed a huge disconnect between what a person (specifically a Christian person) understands with their heads and lives in their hearts and lives. Have you? I mean how many Christians are having affairs? Or letting anger take over their lives? How many church-attending people cheat on taxes and have trouble with the law? I’m not talking about people who are new to the church scene. I’m talking about people who are in leadership positions in various volunteer positions. I mean, they volunteer at church…so they must be righteous, right? They know a lot of stuff in their minds, but they don’t know how to live it in their hearts.
Most often, in the Church at large, we address this problem as behavior issues. The cure: obedience. If we just act in obedience, we believe, then our hearts will change. Now I am all for obedience, but these are heart issues. We cannot fix our heart issues. The broken, fallen, human heart is trying to cope with its brokenness and the result is sinful behavior. So what if God is not trying to get us better at “sin management” but is, instead, trying to bind and heal our broken hearts?
Paul, in Romans 7, hits a wall that we all need to crash into: “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” (verse 19). We need to acknowledge that trying to behave and do “godly things” does not work outside the context of our relationship with God. When we get to the end of ourselves and our feeble attempts to obey completely, we get Romans 8:3: “What the Law could not do, God did!”
My book is about what it looks like for God to transform us. It is not self-help in that I do not believe we can help ourselves with this. And so, I believe that one day, God will get it out there. I believe that He wants to heal hearts, including yours and mine, more than he wants us to behave well. If God has healed the need to cope with brokenness, there is no more need to sin.
By the way, the word “saved” and “healed” are the same in the New Testament.
Thanks for reading. Blessings on your day.