Monday, May 31, 2010

Editing is Like Discipleship

Editing is like discipleship. It is hard work. It is my responsibility. It is my Lord's will. Since my last post I have been editing my manuscript "Christian Mythology". I have been focusing on the crucial first three chapters as they go into the proposal There are two publishing editors and two agents waiting on this proposal. I will send it when God says it is ready.

How will I know when it is ready?

Like discipleship, the process works something like this:

A person becomes a disciple at salvation. We must choose to forsake all in order to be a disciple of Jesus. We may choose not to, still retain our salvation, but fail to progress in the Christian life. Immediately we give up our right to ourselves, the Holy Spirit begins to teach all the Jesus said and did.

Discipleship at this time involves the believer and Jesus. Eventually the believer is of sufficient maturity, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God's teachings that he/she is ready to teach another believer. The latter believer, a babe in Christ, is fed by the mature one. As an agent of the Holy Spirit, God uses mature believers to bring up the young ones. The young one is ready to become a discipler at a point of sufficient maturity, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God's teachings.

A disciple is successful when he has reproduced himself in another believer AND that latter believer has then moved on to capably teaching other believers.

If that sounds like hard work, it is. But the fruit is priceless.

Editing is like discipleship. It is hard work. But the fruit of these manuscripts has already borne priceless fruit in other believers. I believe God intends these works for a wider audience.

The work of editing is to turn what God taught me into a story. He is teaching me to tell the story, just like Jesus does in the gospel letters. The first drafts of my manuscripts were written exactly the way God taught me. They were full of Scriptures and very little of my words. I wanted to be sure God got all the glory and that my fallible words were few so that what I wanted to tell would not be in any way misconstrued.

But for a few reasons left unsaid in this post, I have removed most of the Scriptures from the manuscripts and edited in the story. God does not want these works to teach others in the same way He taught me. While I find that most strange, I am following the direction. Instead of Scripture, I am telling the story of how God taught me. The narrative examples of His leading, His teaching, the circumstances, the real-life examples are in there instead. I have not decided yet whether to footnote or endnote the Scriptures which are still critical to the reader. But it will be the narrative to encourage the reader to move on to read the Scriptures so that they will know the truth.

I am certain that my words are powerless to save or sanctify. But if God makes them powerful to lead the reader to His all-powerful Word, then so be it.

As I think back on the initial fruitbearing of those chapters, it came about not because my friends took the time to read them. It happened because of the time we spent together in fellowship and prayer making real those things that were written. Those are the stories I will tell. I pray the re-telling we be even more fruitful. I trust they will be what the editors and agents are looking for.

Over the past two weeks, I have completed five rounds of complete editing those first three chapters and one round of editing the proposal. I felt in the beginning that God would kind of let me do this on my own. Actually I was afraid He would. Because when the manuscript was written in draft for the very first time, God undoubtedly inspired me to put it all to paper. But like discipleship I find that God is with me in the editing as well. That makes it much easier and less dreadful.

How will I know when the manuscript is ready to pitch? When those first three chapters bear fruit from the words of others who are able. My prayer continues to be, "God, show me the remnant." Those who are awake are worthy to "read the scrolls."

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