Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cut & Paste: Recent email exchanges

Brian wrote on 10/15/2009 regarding Chapter 4:
Okay – here’s a substantially revised version of chapter four. I threw out the introduction and the final section of the chapter, moved a middle section to the front to create a new introduction (which I’m not sure I’m happy with – are you?), smoothed out some transitions, retitled a couple of subsections, inserted most of the material on indwelling sin from chapter seven, and added a (hopefully) clarifying chart showing the relationship between our position and practice in Christ. This revision completely changed the set up of the chapter. It’s now not focused on a problem (whether legalism or license, though I mention the latter), but on how we are to take the resources of the gospel (positional sanctification/union with Christ) and apply them to our lives by “living in sync with the gospel” (progressive transformation). I’ll be curious to see your critique. I’m sure it still needs work!

Brian wrote on 10/16/2009 regarding Chapter 4:
This is slightly revised from what I sent yesterday. I clarified the chart to use the same language (once-for-all-ongoing, definitive events vs. ongoing, personal, practice) that I revisit in chapter 6. Here’s one more idea that I’ve had – should we consider swapping around chapters 4 and 5? There’s a very key link between 4 and 6. But on the other hand, there’s also a key link between 3 and 4. Chapter five, while important, seems somewhat out of the logical flow of the argument. Have you noticed this? Do you think it matters?

Kevin replied on 10/20/2009 regarding chapter sequencing :
As you suggested, I think I am inclined to reverse the order of chapters 4 and 5. That would give us the following progression:

The Gospel --> Justification --> The Heart --> Sanctification

The chapter on the heart has to be somewhere in the book, and prior to the holiness chapter. I understand what you're saying about links between the justification chapter and the sanctification chapter, and then between the sanctification chapter and the holiness chapter. But in a very real sense there are and ought to be links between every chapter. Our task is to present the material so that those links are always clear.

I like putting the chapter on the heart between the justification and sanctification chapters. It gives the reader a break from closely reasoned and somewhat abstract, heavier theological material, and does an elegant job of explaining an area that is at some point puzzling to every Christian. For some (many?) readers this new order may give a more tangible context to the application portion of the sanctification discussion.

I am now looking at the Union with Christ material in the sanctification chapter vis a vis the Applying the Gospel in the Pursuit of Holiness section in chapter 6. It may be that these beautifully dovetail with one another in terms of emphasis, or there may be significant redundancies. Maybe both. I have only just glanced at the latter section, so this might prove to be a non-issue, but if you have thought about it at all let me know.

Brian wrote on 10/16/2009 regarding Chapter 6:
And here is chapter six. Wow. I never would have thought I would cut so much, but I did – over 800 words from my original version. As I started working it, I could see the problems you saw. The chapter was jerky in its progression and (I think) redundant and repetitive in its second half. So, I sliced and diced and this is what’s left. I think it’s quite a bit clearer now. I eliminated a lot of the subheadings and tried to condense the material in the last section. I think it’s more unified now, but there’s a section of about 1500 words without subheadings. I kind of like it – because it’s really all explaining one basic point (applying the gospel in the pursuit of holiness), and I thought other headings might distract from that. Let me know what you think.

A couple of other notes.  First, I haven’t written any kind of intro for part two of the book. If it’s okay with you, I will attend to that later, maybe even after chapters six-nine all take better shape. And second, I didn’t write a definition of spiritual formation. I’m inclined to do that in chapter 1 (in my first draft there is a simple definition in the footnotes where I say that I’m using the term synonymously with spiritual transformation, but maybe I should expand this and put it in the main text). Later we can write in some references to that definition in some of the subsequent chapters, or maybe in the intros to each of the three parts.

I’ll probably not start working on chapter eight until at least next week, but that’s what’s next in my plan. How is chapter seven coming?

Kevin replied on 10/20/2009:
I completely agree that it is better to wait and write the introduction to the various parts of the book at the end, for the same reasons it is usually best to edit the first chapter only when the final shape of the book is obvious.


bonnie.lc October 22, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

I think footnotes should be used as little as possible. I have been reading a book that has a lot of essential information in the footnotes and keep wishing that most of what is contained there had been included in the body of the text.

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