Friday, November 16, 2018

I Can’t Stop Writing!

Hi, my name is Marshall, and I’m an addict. No I am not a drug addict or an alcoholic. I am a writing addict. I realized it this week when I was getting ready to promote my newest book on this blog, on Facebook, and on the Sandwich Board (a Yahoo group for residents of our town). It felt like I had just done this recently. So I looked up the publication dates of my last four books and saw that I have published four books in the last six months.

That’s a lot of books in a short time! In my defense, one of them was written back in 1979, and I just updated and published it. There I go making excuses! Rationalizing my behavior. That is what addicts do. Even three books written in six months is a lot of books. I published four more in 2017. Apparently I have been busy since I retired in 2016. And there were more books before that - 17 in all. Whew!

That doesn’t count my blog, newsletters, and newspaper articles. I even tried writing poetry for a year in 2012. (Fortunately for the world all my poems were lost when my laptop crashed.) I can’t stop writing. The good part is that I am never bored. Researching and writing takes a lot of time. I wake up early and start writing before my wife is out of bed. I wake up during the night and scribble ideas on a pad of paper that I keep on the bedside table.

I can’t stop writing. The truth is I don’t want to stop writing. I love it. I can communicate to a larger and more diverse audience than I did when I was preaching. These days I normally sell between 300 and 400 books a month. That won’t put my titles on any bestseller lists, but it is a larger audience than I had when I was preaching.

For forty years I preached every Sunday. I loved preaching, and still do it on occasion. But writing for the public is very different than preaching to the faithful. I voice all those unspoken, controversial and half-crazy ideas which weren’t appropriate for a Sunday homily.

Most of my life I have teetered on the edge of controversy. Several times I fell over the edge and got myself into trouble in my churches, my denomination and the community for my ethical and theological stances. I won’t go into details. (You will have to read my books for those!)

My ministry has always been an uncomfortable fit with Christians who measure faithfulness by the well-worn ruts of orthodoxy. I have always seen spirituality more of an adventure than an apologetic for traditional Christian religion.

Anyway, now I write. I write a lot. More than I realized.  I get caught up in the frenzy of clicking a keyboard and lose track of time. Then I wake up six months later and discover I have finished four books. My most recent book is entitled “Christianity Without Beliefs.” The preface to the book starts off with these words:

Once upon a time there was a gospel without doctrines. There was time when Christianity did not have beliefs. It did not require its adherents to accept a set of dogmas or Scriptures. There were no creeds, confessions of faith or doctrinal statements. There were no clergy, priests, or pastors. No vestments or sacraments.…
In the beginning Christianity did not even have a name. It was not a religion distinguished from all other religions. It was just a way of life. The early followers of Jesus simply called it “the Way.”  The early church was not an institution or an organization. It was a community of pilgrims traveling a spiritual path. That is the way it used to be. It can be that way again….

As you can see, I am not going to receive any accolades from traditionalists for this book. If you are interested in reading something nontraditional, you can find this book on Amazon. Here is the link:

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