The Untold Story Behind JESUS: A THEOGRAPHY – The Struggle to Co-Write a Book

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.”

~ Winston Churchill

The title of this blog post is the title of my new podcast episode which is now available for download or streaming.

In it, I talk about the behind-the-scenes story of how Len Sweet and I wrote our new book, Jesus: A Theography.

The podcast includes our struggle to co-author this titanic book, how long it took us to write it (which is both comical and scary), and why we deliberately chose not to have any endorsements.

I think you’ll be surprised by various elements of the story . . . including the first-rate New Testament scholar we asked to tear the book up with his critical remarks before we “flung the monster out to the public.”

(You’ll have to listen to the audio to find out who that scholar is . . . and yes, we incorporated all of his critical feedback into the finished product.)

Like many of my other episodes, this new broadcast has a good dose of humor sprinkled into it. So if you don’t have a sense of humor . . . finish your coffee, exit out of this window (or email), walk away from your computer (or smart phone), and forget that you ever read this post.

Also, my 5-part series on Colossians has also been uploaded to the podcast. 

Click here to listen to the episode on iTunes

Click here to listen to it on the podcast site

Click here to listen to it on RSS Feed

See also Co-Authoring: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

P.S. One final word about Jesus: A Theography. So far, people who are N.T. Wright fans (especially his work on Jesus) and people who are John Piper fans (especially his work on the Bible) are loving the book. That might be a good gauge for many of you who are undecided on whether or not to get a copy right now.

Order the hardcover on Amazon

Order on Kindle

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Comments

  1. Angela says

    Get a copy right now, everyone. I am reading it and it is wonderful. Really, really unique Christ-centered presentation, never dry, and sometimes the prose sings!

  2. Pat says

    Just listened to the podcast.Funny!!! You know Frank, a lot of people don’t believe that God has a sense of humor. I know he does. Love your humor also!

    PS Love the Appendix

    • says

      Thanks. We have a whole section in the book about Jesus’ sense of humor. Something that’s often missed because of the barrier between 1st century culture and 21st century culture.

  3. Ant Writes says

    I didn’t listen to the podcast yet because I’m too busy reading the book! After reading JUST the introduction, the footnotes can be an entire book in themselves! I’m getting all excited as I’m reading!

    You guys have done an amazing job. I’m praising Jesus Christ at every unfolding of scripture!

    Ant

  4. says

    Frank, I appreciate your sincere report regarding how you and Leonard wrote this book. As a writer myself, I’m familiar with the process. But I have a question: what in your experience enabled you and Leonard to connect with the Spirit who would make your process more than just that of a major research report, as might be done for a graduate level degree? I’m sure that you are more than just a highly crafted writer. I would sincerely like to know more about your spiritual experience in this process.

    • says

      I appreciate this question. While Len and I have our disagreements, when it comes to Jesus, we share a great deal of common ground. We prayed for one another through the project. And we were both in touch with the Lord throughout.

      I talked about that intangible element of co-writing the book “Jesus Manifesto” here: http://frankviola.org/2010/06/08/the-writing-of-jesus-manifesto/ and that same element was at work with this project also.

      But “Jesus: A Theography” was much more difficult given our differing writing paces as I explained on the podcast. And I turned from being a plodder to a crammer.

      With any book, I’m heavily relying on the Lord. And I really don’t know how we were able to do most of it in 6 weeks without the Lord’s enablement. Readers will have to decide if it’s anointed or not. Especially in that I wasn’t able to re-write the number of drafts I typically do before turning in the manuscript.

      • says

        Thanks for your response to my question. I believe that the Spirit was engaged in your writing process, and the evidence of his anointing engagement will be seen in the “fruit” that is harvested for God’s glory from the reading of your book. Rewriting is probably more of a process of your writing craft than a process of your anointed gift. I’m sure that Jesus is more glorified by your “fresh” words than by your revised ones. I think that is the way the Spirit works with his anointed writers and teachers of divine Truth. I will probably get your book, because I’m pretty confident that it is anointed and not just well crafted.

  5. Jim Kilson says

    I am excited to get the chance to read this book. I’ve been checking the mail every day in anticipation of my review copy. If it’s as good as what I’ve read before from both you and Leonard it will be a joy to read!

  6. Jennifer says

    Hilarious!! Thanks for making me laugh this morning. I was going to wait to order the book but after hearing this I had to order it this morning :)

  7. Jeff says

    Fascinating podcast and the commercials had me rolling this morning! Love your humor, man. Just ordered the book on Amazon. I want to see what you guys did in 6 weeks!

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