Monday, August 23, 2010


a few years ago i signed a book contract with a christian publisher for a project called "jerm."

it was my attempt to try and make sense of christian spirituality for the layperson - to try and take the wisdom of the ancients (spanish mystics, desert fathers, etc) and colloquialize them into the language of 21st century southern michigan.

i just felt (and still feel) that most of the writing on spiritual formation is written by a certain kind of personality for a certain kind of personality, and if you're going to get much out of it you're probably going to have to hate sports and begin listening to folk music.

but the interior life is so important - the teachings of john chrysostom, athanasius, john of the cross, theresa of avila need to be understood and incorporated by normal folk.

but normal folks are never going to be able to read that stuff.

so i wrote jerm

my first draft was just shy of 300 pages.

during a long and frustrating process, i lost the contract with the publisher and jerm was never published.

fast forward 3 years and i am now writing the september teaching atlas for the good folks at the winds. i'm (re)writing jerm, now called "shadowing god."

after revisions and cuttings and clippings and rewritings...i'm left with 34 pages of the original manuscript.

to be fair, at least 2/3 of the jerm manuscript i discarded simply because i didn't like the direction in which the publisher had nudged me; so, probably i've only pared down the manuscript from 100 pages or so into 34.

but still...

anyway, suffice to say this book has been long in the making. my ambitions for the project remain the same: i want people to know how to live the life for which god intended them.

not following steps or using 7 easy keys,
but walking with the spirit
paying attention to nuance
and looking for signs of god's activity in the world.

and then following suite
and shadowing god

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