Theo-storying Again

Okay. I finally finished working on my wife and my have struggled

New Edition a few weeks awaybook,

with, off and on, for close to three years, Dynamics in Pastoral Counseling and Training.  I have decided to start updating and fixing my previous books. I have decided to start with Theo-Storying: Reflections on God, Narrative, and Culture. Although it has actually aged fairly well as far as I can see, there are reasons that I am starting with it.


#1.  This is the only book I have written that was not written because I am teaching a course on that subject. I wrote it because of the love of the topic.

#2.  I had actually started to write a sequel to Theo-Storying. However, in the end, I decided to take some of the ideas from the sequel and bring it into an early revision of the book. Since then, however, there are more things I would like to add. Most importantly the role of Theological Reflection, and its connection to Midrash Aggadah.

#3.  I had also started to write a book on Missions Theology.

The early version of the cover of a book I never finished.

I actually made good progress on this one. But in the end I lost interest in the project. But I did not lose interest in some of the topics covered. Some of the ideas were moved into Dynamics in Pastoral Counseling and Training, but some really belong in Theo-Storying.


Hope to be done soon. I think I can get it done in the two week break between semesters here at PBTS and ABGTS. I will keep you updated.

A New E-Leaf

One of my favorite movies of all time is “A New Leaf” (1971, Elaine May and Walter Matthau). It has been described as a “Dark Comedy.” The story revolves around a

A New Leaf
A New Leaf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

hedonist, Matthau, who decides to marry a rich heiress botanist (May). His goal is to have her die so that he can return to a life of decadent singlehood, but now with the financial resources to maintain the depravity. In the end, he finds that he has changed, and the movie ends on a more sentimental note. Obviously, the title “A New Leaf” has the double meaning of a botanist in search of a “new leaf,” and a man who “turns over a new leaf” (slang for making a major and positive change in one’s life).

So a leaf can refer to a part of a plant, a change in life, …. or a page in a book. I guess that I am looking to turn over a new leaf myself. I spent several years on my dissertation and finished it. Then I turned my dissertation into three articles and several blog posts.

So what should I do next? I mean, outside of some teaching and preaching, and administrating a counseling center in the Philippines.

I decided to start writing an “E-book.” That’s my new leaf. But what to write about? I am tired of writing about medical missions. I could write on counseling perhaps (with my wife Celia, a certified Pastoral Counselor). Maybe later. So I decided to take a poll of sorts. I looked at which blog posts of mine have had the most hits over the last few months. Below is the table.

Title Rank
Home page / Archives 2315
From Power Encounter to Love Encounter 1 188
About Me 182
Missions “Thinking Outside of the Box” 2 147
Christian Missions: Destroyer of Cultures? 3 135
St. Boniface and the Peregrini (Part 2) 4 131
Medical Mission Events in the Philippines, Part IV 5 127
Church Acculturation in Missions 6 119
Asian Theology? 7 115
What View Should The Christian Take of Non-Christian Religions? 8 93
Fallacies and Questions Surrounding Redemptive Analogy 9 86
Who is the Contextualizer 10 85

I immediately removed “Home Page” and “About Me” from the ranking. I can quickly remove the item ranked #2 “Missions Thinking Outside of the Box.” That is because I knew from other research that people hit that one because they “googled” the phrase “thinking outside of the box” not so much because of the topic I was writing on. I can also cross off #4 for a similar reason (the term “peregrini” is a popular search engine item). I can also cross off #5 because, as I said before, I am tired of writing about medical missions. I have to cross off #7 because I, sadly, am not competent to write a book on Asian Theology… yet (or ever?).

This leaves topics on

-Power Encounter Missions (something I generally oppose)

-Role of Missions and Culture

-Response of Church in face of a dominant culture

-Role of Christians interacting with other religious cultures

-Role of story and metaphor in missions

-Missions contextualization

The dominant theme could be said to be “Contextualization of the Christian faith and message within other cultures.”

That’s nice but WAY TOO BROAD.

However, I have written on topics regarding the role of myth and parable within contextualization. I have been especially interested in the role it may have within counter-cultural contextualization. If one took the hits on posts specific to that, the combined would rank it at #2.

So I think that is the way I am going.

My title (until I change it for something better) is:

Theo-storying: Beyond Contextualization to Counter-cultural Resonance

Yeah it still sounds a bit obscure. Hopefully, I will be done with it by years end, and perhaps by then, the title will have improved. When I do I will make it available on this site. No charge. No obligations. Okay… time to start writing again…