So far, the two most common questions I’ve been asked are (1) why did you and Len write the book? (2) you both have very different writing styles, so what was the process of writing together like?
I answered the first question yesterday. Here’s the answer to the second question.
While our writing styles are different, Len and I have one thing in common that made this project particularly fun.
We both heavily employ the use of metaphor in our writing. Among other things, Len is largely known for inventing new terms and using a single metaphor to describe a particular idea.
My writing is commonly peppered with word pictures that are intended to create vivid images in the minds of the readers. I like to paint with words. This penchant comes through strongly in my book From Eternity to Here and throughout many of the chapters in Reimagining Church.
So both of us had fun smithing word images together. It’s no accident that each chapter of the book is built around a single metaphor that serves as an image depicting some aspect of Christ.
Those of you who read this blog are aware that I view writing a book very much like creating a music album. Though they were before my time, I grew up listening to The Beatles. So their work is very much etched into my subconscious. So I’ll use them as a metaphor.
Writing Jesus Manifesto with Len was like composing an album together, hammering out each of our tracks on the anvil of Scripture and the English language.
The book fits more into the literature category, since it meshes together escalating prose and poetic rhythms. It tries to communicate to both left and right brains simultaneously. But more, it’s directly aimed at a person’s heart and spirit. We’re trying to communicate vision to the reader – a vision of Christ. (I’m not referring to a physical vision; but to a “revelation” of Jesus by the Holy Spirit as Paul prayed in Ephesians 1.)
In some chapters, Len is singing lead and I’m harmonizing, like the song Wait, where Lennon sings lead and McCartney harmonizes. In other chapters, I’m singing lead and Len is harmonizing, as in Drive My Car, where McCartney leads and Lennon harmonizes. A few chapters are a combination of two different tracks that Len and I composed on our own. They were then spliced together to create one uniform chapter, as in A Day in the Life, where Lennon and McCartney wrote two separate songs and they were spliced together to create a single track (HT to George Martin who made this work.)
As we edited each other’s chapters, we sought to enhance what the other person was attempting to communicate. “Writing chemistry” was present, and instead of dragging one another down, we helped bring out the best in one another’s writing. It reminded me of some video footage I saw years ago when Lennon and McCartney were in the studio together plying their trade and crafting a Beatles’ tune. Each of them would make suggestions to one another for tweaking and improving different parts of the song.
The Beatles’ solo work could never compare to the Lennon/McCartney duo. That combination was unbeatable. While I know of no one could surpass the talent of Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting abilities, their joint work does illustrate that there’s something to be said about the team concept. Two is often better than one.
Tomorrow I will post our second interview.
Disclaimer 1: This blog post is not an endorsement of the views, lifestyles, beliefs, practices, lyrics or music of The Beatles as a band or any of the members therein.
Disclaimer 2: This blog post is not suggesting that the authors of “Jesus Manifesto” compare in talent or gifting to The Beatles as a band or any of the members therein.
Disclaimer 3: I am not a proponent of backward masking or subliminal manipulation. u s h o u l d r e ad j e s u s m a n i f e s t o
Disclaimer 4: More of an observation: Isn’t it interesting that disclaimers of this sort must be made to a Christian audience in the 21st century?