I have found it exceptionally difficult to write this week. Actually, I’ve found it difficult to work as well. I’m not sure what’s going on, really. So today I’m going to cop out and just share a few personal tidbits and try to come up with something more creative and more exciting for tomorrow.
Part of the reason I’ve been distracted this week is that I’ve been asked to lead a seminar at The Basics Conference next week (that’s the conference held at Alistair Begg’s church in the Cleveland area) and I’ve been preparing for that. The topic I was assigned was “Blogging Your Ministry.” Now I don’t really define myself as a blogger and don’t really want that to be my legacy, but I’m still happy enough to speak on the topic. Rather than putting together a “how-to” kind of seminar, I thought I’d try to dig a bit deeper and try to see what trends lie behind blogging and what blogging means to the church. It’s been an interesting time of preparation for me and I’ll share the content after I’ve delivered it (twice) in Cleveland next week. I believe they will also release the audio at some point. This will be my first foray into actually speaking at a conference and, while I’m definitely more of a writer than a speaker, I am looking forward to it in a sick kind of way. I’ve been asked to do some other speaking engagements in the coming months so it seems that I can’t avoid moving beyond the safety and security of my keyboard.
Speaking of writing, the publisher has settled on a title for my book and I’ve given my agreement to it. You’ll remember that my working title was The Discipline of Discernment and that, while that title neatly summarized the content, I didn’t find it awfully exciting. Well, a committee met and discussed things and they decided to change it, but not by much. The book will now be published under the title The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. It will be released on January 7 of next year and will likely be a 288-page paperback (if you’ve got a copy of Piper and Taylor’s Sex and the Supremacy of Christ you can see what a 288-page Crossway paperback looks like). I sent the book off to the publisher a month ago and don’t expect to have much more to do with it until later in the summer when the editing will begin in earnest. I do, though, have to work on a study guide between now and then. I haven’t heard back yet from any of the people who agreed to endorse it, but neither would I expect to for another month or two. I do believe the publisher will begin working on the cover art in the near future so that may be the next update I can give you. I’ll continue to keep you in the loop!
Changing from writing to reading, I just finished up a new biography of John Newton that should be publicly available in about six weeks. It is written by Jonathan Aitken who has previously written biographies of Charles Colson and Richard Nixon. I made the “mistake” of reading this book while pausing between the first and second volume of Dallimore’s great biography of George Whitefield. I suppose that wasn’t quite fair. I was struck by the difference between a biography written by a long-time Christian pastor who studied his subject for decades and who wrote about him over the course of fifteen years versus a man who is a more recent convert and who has clearly not researched his subject to the same extent. I mean this more as praise of Dallimore than as criticism of Aitken. The biography of Newton is good and I really enjoyed it. But it is certainly not in the same league as George Whitefield. This biography of Whitefield is expensive but it really is a must-have (Volume 1 and Volume 1). I’ll have a more thorough review in a week or so.
And that’s it for me for now. Customers and a seminar are calling me…