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Q & R: What's ahead for 2013?

Here's the Q:

I've been wondering what your next book will be. Also if you have other goals for 2013. And if you ever plan to do any mentoring of emerging leaders.

Here's the R:
First, happy new year! Here's what I'm looking forward to in 2013.

On a personal level, Grace and are are thrilled that our family is expecting to add to our little flock of grandchildren this year. Not only are we thrilled with grandkids, but we're also so proud of our four adult kids, their spouses, and their good work in the world. A highlight of 2013 will be being with them - and in between, face-timing frequently.

As a writer, 2012 was completely focused on Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? The book got off to a good start in 2012, but I wouldn't be surprised if the book's biggest impact is still to come.

Between now and September, I'll be completely focused on my next book. The working title is "Catechesis," but I'm leaning toward this as an actual title - "To Be Alive: a (re)introduction to the way of Jesus." (Feedback is welcome on my facebook page!)

The book will have 52-plus short chapters, each written to be read aloud in about twelve minutes. Together, they'll give an introduction to Christian faith from a fresh/emergent perspective by giving an overview of the biblical narrative. They'll be arranged to line up with a modified church year. There will be Scripture readings, dialogue questions, and follow-up activities for each chapter, and maybe (later) a daily devotional to accompany the book.

My goal is to make the book accessible to people with no religious background ... and to make it substantive for people whose inherited faith has stopped working for them and need a fresh approach. I can imagine a lot of ways the book could be used (from a diocese or conference using it for a year of sermons, to a family using it around the table, to an emerging or new monastic faith community using it for a weekly meal, to ...) and I hope it will help catalyze some reconstruction in conjunction with all the necessary and important deconstruction that's been going on.

In addition to a full and interesting schedule of speaking, I'll be doing something really special with Life in the Trinity Ministry in 2013. I'll be coming to Dallas four times for some intensive workshops. Here's the description:

RETURN TO THE BIBLE: READING SCRIPTURE AFRESH

Some of us have lots of practice reading the Bible in fundamentalist, pre-critical ways - and others have ample practice reading the Bible in critical or skeptical ways. What we need today is a new, fresh approach to the Bible - reading it in post-critical ways, literary rather than literalist, sensitive to history, and focused on an over-arching narrative that focuses on Jesus and his good news. In this 2013, in four stand-alone but integrated sessions, we'll get an overview of the whole Bible from this fresh perspective.



Mar 22-23: Reading the Hebrew Bible Afresh: We'll dig in to the Pentateuch, the historical books, the poetry and wisdom literature, and the prophets ... in their historical context and with an eye to their meaning today.

May 10-11: Reading the Gospels Afresh: We'll explore Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John's portraits of Jesus and his good news of the kingdom of God.

July 15-21: Reading Acts Afresh: We'll get a fresh vision of the earliest disciples and their messianic movement in the Book of Acts.

Dec 6-7: Reading the New Testament Afresh: We'll engage with Paul's letters, plus the writings of James, John, and Peter, plus the Book of Revelation.

I'm often asked about mentoring, and my hope is that folks interested in mentoring will register for these four weekends. In each workshop we'll be grappling deeply with the Bible and its relevance to our lives and world today and tomorrow.

I'm also involved with a group of emerging leaders from around the world who are talking a lot about the vital relationships between institutions, communities, and movements. More on this later in the year.