My new book, Heaven’s Muscle, launches on November 24, and my advertising blitz begins December 1. I’m so thankful for the people who have given me pre-publication advice and who will be giving me reviews. I wanted to give you an inside view of how and why I wrote it.
I’ve been a writer since I was a teenager and a nerd even longer. I always knew I had books in me, especially religious books. But writing well is hard. And publishing makes you vulnerable. And generating sales takes lots of time, effort, and moolah. I also believed that I ought not write a book until I had something unique and important to say. A reader’s time is valuable, and I refuse to waste it.
But this year, I knew the time was right. My wife and I have emerged from a l0ng period of transition. We became parents three times over. She underwent a long struggle with depression. I went from being a campus minister to a law student to a lawyer. We changed churches. We moved to a new state. Having emerged from this chrysalis of travail and transformation, we now know who we are and what we believe in deeper ways than ever before.
Last spring we attended a convention for homeschool parents, where we met Rhea Perry of Educating for Success. Rhea has a divine calling to show home school parents how they can work from home and how they can teach entrepreneurship to their children. Rhea told one conference session, “you can write an e-book in three days. Just set three days aside and write it. Just write what you know.” I took that as a personal challenge.
In between jobs this summer, after writing and submitting some scholarly legal articles, I consecrated three days in mid-August. The week before my scheduled book-writing days, I spent two nights lying awake in bed. The first night, I felt like the entire outline of the book was being downloaded into my brain. I got up and typed the outline in one fell swoop. The second night, I asked God for a title. The title, and its accompanying metaphor, came to me from out of nowhere. Lydia also had dreams about my book. The book suddenly had an aura of destiny to it.
I ended up writing the book in four days (I was pretty fatigued on day three). But I also believe that “good writing is re-writing,” so the book has been in constant revision since then. I wanted total control over the whole process, so every aspect of the book has been DIY, from the cover design to the typography to the website-building to the ad copy.
The book essentially combines two things. First, I know people have found hope and comfort in our stories. On this blog, I’ve written about how I lost and regained my faith, but in this book I wanted to provide a broader picture of the amazing trajectory of my life. My hope is that my story will give others permission to ask questions and take spiritual risks. I also believe that learning about our deliverance from depression will give readers hope for a better future for themselves.
The second aspect of this book is biblical theology. In between my personal narratives, I share from the biblical narrative of God’s plan to redeem the world. These intersecting stories provide a skeleton on which I hang meaty globs of biblical theology. To use the technical terms, this book touches on Christology, pneumatology, demonology, and exousiology. But all this heavy biblical teaching is written in accessible language and conveyed mostly through the use of stories. As you read, you’ll get a lot more Bible than you realize.
Ultimately, this book is the outgrowth of one of my callings from God. The Lord has equipped me to help people transition from being simply religious to being truly connected to the Trinity. He has put many people in my life who feel wounded by their churches. Heaven’s Muscle gives people permission to leave bad religion behind and cling directly to the source of life. This is a book about discovering your identity in Christ and your gifts in the Spirit and becoming a powerful force of change in the world by aligning your will with the will of the Creator.
I pray that the book will touch lives, and also that it will sell tons of copies so I’ll be able to devote more time to telling people around the world about the awesomeness of Jesus, the empowerment of the Spirit, and the wisdom of the scriptures. I invite you to join me in that prayer.