Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wonders of Collaboration

My blog has had no new postings for a couple of weeks for a very good reason! I have been buried in my basement study trying to finish the last five chapters of my book on worship. My wife Carol went to visit the grandkids in UK and left me to single-minded writing, hour by hour, day-after-day. I said to a friend it has been a little like taking multiple exams every day. Winston Churchill was right: writing a book begins as an adventure, becomes a mistress, then a master, after that a tyrant, and finally, just before you are ready to come to peace with the chains, you "kill the monster and fling him to the public". I have been at the tyrant stage!

However, I have not been alone. I don't just mean that this is a spiritual exercise and that God has promised his presence, strength and wisdom. That's the greatest reassurance. But, in addition I have had my six readers who have faithfully read chapter after chapter, and then sent back their comments including encouragements and constructive criticism. Each of them has come alongside over the past six months in very significant (contrasting) ways just when I needed them.

This past week, for example, I have been in continuous contact with one colleague, David Schlafer, who has sent me over 20 emails. Some of them run to four pages single-space typing! I told him how his insights and energy have so invigorated me and that he has helped me far more than he realized. Not just what he has written but his willingness to journey with me and wrestle with my ideas. I am in a place now that I could not have imagined a week ago because of his love and care.

My students are used to me championing COLLABORATION in Christian ministry. My message is well- worn: God has given us each other to belong in Christ's body so that we can listen and learn from each other and so grow together. Yet, again, my personal experience testifies to the invaluable role of collaboration.

I am still working through the manuscript and am (still) some way off completion. But I praise God that he has brought me this far and given me such collaborators. To all those who are praying and supporting (in many different ways)- a profound thank you.

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