Monday, July 24, 2006

My Book - step 2 - Chapter Titles and Overall Heading

Right now I'm trying to get some chapter titles down to serve as something of an outline for my book (yes, I'm still not off that kick, though i'm foot dragging).

Feel free to make suggestions. notice that I have two different book proposals on the table.

The topic of proposition #1 is, generally, religion from the perspective of a Gen-Xer, and how I've come to view the problems in my own journey of faith. So far here's what I'm thinking of. The planned format is going to be like a mildly organized stream of semi-linked editorials. I don't want the book to be formal as it's meant to be a popular work to some extent (plus if you write in simple language, the readers often engage your more complex writing more closely when you do feel it's worth employing). Again, the point here is to solicit additions and critiques from you all, so please feel free to voice your concerns...

1. A Gen-Xer speaks for his own generation (Generally I'm going to make the point that every generation needs a kind of "Mere Christianity" that is appropriate to its own questions and issues. One unique feature about being Gen-X'ers is that we do not really have a single and identifiable, nor even a communally consistent, worldview, thus why I must speak primarily for myself, but which I argue is normal and useful for understanding Gen-Xer's.

Book I: The Religion I Can't have - (Deconstruction of some alternatives. i'm also going to wail on Apologetics for a little while under the premise that they're misused/abused, and also that some of them simply don't hold water).

2. "Miracle" religion (This is about how it's virtually impossible given our/my education that I could believe with a faith that starts with the basic premise that whereas cockatrices and giants were perfectly viable 5,000 years ago, they're rubbish now... and that's supposed to be fine and dandy).

3. Literalism Won't get Us There (Some quick observations on how easily an acute, and not even particularl meticulous observer can begin to punch holes in the easy-out Bible fundi mentality.)

4. Fairy-Tales won't get us there either (Changing gears, I'm going to thumb down theories that, having abandoned Literalism, seek to make Scriptures and Traditions virtually meaningless, or at best no more useful than any other literature and/or tradition of beliefs).

5. "Just Believe it Jesus" Just doesn't fly (Questioning the theodicy necessary for the "tell Jeuss he's cool and get to heaven no matter what" to be accepted, thus why I will not).

Book II: Where my secular generation and i agree.

6. Faith cannot be "proven". (The counter-punch for the intro)

7. The world was always basically the same. (This is the counter-punch to #2)

8. I accept evidence that I don't necessarily prefer. (An explanation of why Literalism cannot guide an educated and open mind, and incidentally why it makes no sense for the same people to insist on trusting our educations and objectivity in all realms of life EXCEPT religion - it's an addition to #3).

9. Religion must challenge and not coddle us (This tees off on the occasionally well-meaning liberal tendencies that inevitably seem to conclude from the #4 mindset. Once Christianity is just "another faith among many" or one stream to a massive well, etc. Or, alternately, once it's morally neutral and governs only "positive" religious sentiments with no boundaries or rules, why it ceases to be of value).

10. I Believe that What I Do IS (Basically setting up the proposition, in contrast to #5, that Gen'Xers rightly preceive that humans have a very works-centered vocation AND that quite honestly people my age call it how they see it when it comes to good and bad - charity, witness, lifestyle, etc. count for more than "theology", and why it's demeaning to both Man and subsequently God - being man's creator - to assume that our works are irrelevant.)

Part III - A little synthesis

11. What "faith" is and why our contemporary world, more than ever, shows that it needs to be none other than exactly that.

12. "Who Created all things, both visible and invisible" - Toward a more organic, both/and way of understanding the miraculous and mundane, the physical and the spiritual, and generally the ongoing and always existent interaction between the physical and spiritual realms. Going to concentrate largely on the idea of SEEING and INTERPRETING as the key differences between a faithful and agnostic brain, rather than the acceptance or denial of evidence as it stands).

13. Rewinding the DVD for currently Viewing (Ancient understandings of textual/spiritual "Truth". A general pondering on how something is spiritually "true" without necessarily having to correspond to physical "fact". the usefulness of allegory in reading and a life of faith. Try to introduce the concept by the beauty of medeaval religious art and architecture... perhaps include Schneider's joke about the puritan preacher who goes to Rome).

14. Christians Gone Wild (The radical faith necessary for Christianity to be a worthwhile product in the modern world. Centering on "zeal").

15. "Doing the Business" and the Kingship of God (slaves of God. Harkening to His Torah and doing His Will).

Epilogue: Living in Images and Metaphors

Proposition #2: On The Abuse of Christian Words and Concepts
This one is a little bit more of a manifesto. It has to do more with crappy conceptions of what Christians say and mean, and also it has to do with some stupid platitudes that we need a new view on. It's in 2 sections: Words & Conceptions and Anti-Pious Platitudes. Here I'm REALLY trying for the popular appeal, but with a little theological justification. I'm ultimately wanting to engage the reader and challenge the pre-conceptions of what Christians should mean by these words and how we should allow and disallow others to see them. This is also a bit for agnostics who are confused as hell (and rightly so).

Abused Words and Conceptions:

1. Love
2. Faith
3. Belief and Believing In
4. Salvation, aka. "Saved"
5. Family Values
6. The authority of The Bible
7. Angels and Demons - the Spiritual Warfare
8. Tolerance

Anti-pious Platitudes:

9. "The religion of Peace"
10. The Crusades
11. "Religious Cause Wars"
12. Separation of Church and State (with some Kudos for Barak Obama)
13. Being "Open-Minded"


Blogger a part said...

I like both ideas. The second one made me grin much more quickly though, so I think you should start with that. You could get a list a mile long there...

Hope things are goin well. I've been locked away trying to finish school (hence the no blogging). Almost done. It only took me 5 years. Well, I guess I don't have to count the 8 months I spent working, so we'll just split the difference and call it four-and-a-half. Nevertheless, I'm very ready to be done...

Now the secret is, you've actually gotta write the thing. You can't get 20 pages in and lose interest ;)

1:00 AM  
Blogger a part said...

dude, and for the record, "dorking" sounds absolutely glorious.

favorite beers?

1:03 AM  
Blogger Roland said...

I'll get it written. Knowing where to submit it will be the really hard part.

as for beers: Guinness. Newcastle. Murphy's. Beamish. All German Pillsners (which I had in
Europe, but not here), some Weisenbiers (a wheat beer from Germany, same
thing as with pills I haven't found a good one here). Boddington Pale Ale.
Actually Michelob High Life, Corona, and Tecate are all more than
digestable. One in a while I like a Mackeson's Cholate triple-stout, but I think after being a huge fan for a couple of years I sorta OD'd on that one - it's an occasional beer now. I'm a bit into Young's Olde Oatmeal Stout as well as Samuel and Smith's Oatmeal Stout. If I must drink a lager I guess Heineken is alright, though honestly I'd just assume have a corona if it's going to be like that.

Microbrews are always welcome. I also didn't include the little brown brew from a Belgian Monastary. It's expensive and comes in a liter bottle that is annihilated immediately after opening, but it's AWESOME... kind of nutty. Can't remember the name of it for the life of me.

In France I had a couple as well. One was also a belgian monastic brew, "Leffe's" as I remember.

y tu?

7:07 AM  
Blogger Roland said...

MM let me change my statement. I finally found a direct import for the Pillsners. Try Czech-brewed "Pilsner Urquell" if you can find it. I think it's not pasteurized, so it won't taste like crap. I found some, shockingly, at the Harp's grocery store in Arkansas.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I really like your idea. A book that reaches out to people but doesn't compromise or dumb things down is really needed. In that vein, using terms like:
Anti-pious Platitudes is a little to complex for something that should be informal reading with a true message behind it. Best of luck.

Gerald from St. Mary Magdalen NYC

8:26 AM  
Blogger Roland said...

I think I'll also include the punch-word "Hypocrites!". I kind of like to tee off on that one.

7:08 AM  

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