Today I finished the final draft of my 11th book. At this point I switch from heavy editing mode into light copy editing mode. The typesetting stage should follow soon thereafter.
This book is unlike anything I’ve done before. At 86,000 words, it is one of the longest books I’ve written. It is also most surely the most personal: while I’d be reluctant to call it a memoir, it does draw on multiple instances from my own life to weave a narrative of evolving understanding as regards matters theological and soteriological (that is, pertaining to salvation).
Currently the title is: Do You Know Where You’d Go If You Died Tonight?: Forty years of seeking salvation.
And here is the table of contents: ten parts, forty short(ish) chapters, and one long journey:
* * *
Introduction: What does it mean to be saved?
Part 1: Conversion
Chapter 1: Dear Jesus, please come into my heart. Amen
Chapter 2: A minister of the Gospel
Part 2: Doubt and Assurance
Chapter 3: Blaspheming the Holy Spirit
Chapter 4: Miracles
Part 3: Getting the Gospel Right
Chapter 5: The Four Spiritual Laws
Chapter 6: The Fifth Spiritual Law
Chapter 7: Street witnessing
Chapter 8: The Sixth Spiritual Law and playing “Stairway to Heaven” backwards
Chapter 9: Peter Gabriel or Jesus Christ
Part 4: Grace and Works
Chapter 10: Variations on the Sixth
Chapter 11: Don’t sin, be perfect, et cetera
Chapter 12: Serial killers who love Jesus
Part 5: Highway to Hell
Chapter 13: Going to hell because somebody goofed
Chapter 14: Hell by way of a gingerbread cookie
Chapter 15: Hell and noble intentions
Part 6: The B-I-B-L-E, Yes That’s the Book for Me
Chapter 16: Beyond the Bible Bread Loaf
Chapter 17: Interpret the Bible literally where possible?
Chapter 18: Leaving the King James Bible behind
Chapter 19: Why did Petra want to kill their old man?
Chapter 20: Jesus and the Disney Bible
Chapter 21: How I learned to hate my enemies
Part 7: In Search of a True Church
Chapter 22: Mormons and other people who believe the wrong things
Chapter 23: Speaking in other tongues (or not)
Chapter 24: On adding lightness
Chapter 25: Is “evangelical” a guarantee of quality?
Chapter 26: When you doubt can Mother Church believe for you?
Part 8: The Devil’s in the Doctrinal Details
Chapter 27: Did Jesus teach his disciples about the Trinity (and does it matter if he didn’t)?
Chapter 28: Do the requirements of belief change over time?
Chapter 29: Beliefs, doubts, and a healthy faith
Chapter 30: Maybe all dogs (and babies) go to heaven, but what about toddlers and teenagers?
Part 9: The Gospel Comes into Focus
Chapter 31: Love God or neighbor?
Chapter 32: The greatest story ever told
Chapter 33: God became meat?
Chapter 34: God was murdered?
Chapter 35: What’s this about taking up our crosses?
Part 10: The Gospel is Bigger and Better than I Ever Dreamed
Chapter 36: Caught between a dark and a dull place
Chapter 37: I’m still going to die, but at least I have hope
Chapter 38: Grace at the Gospel Mission
Chapter 39: You are awesome. Really, you are
Chapter 40: Looking for love in Las Vegas
Conclusion: The Gospel in a nutshell