Foreword

Foreword

Traveler on the Way is available in paperback on Lulu.com or as an Amazon Kindle ebook.

Zulu Women thatching their rondavel

Why is it important that I write? Why is it so important to tell the story? If “truth burrows in the body” (M.C. McEntyre), then buried deep within the recesses of my body and soul is importantly, vital, life-giving truth that it will take years of writing—the rest of my life to write. My story is the buried and unburied truth—the truth that sees the light of day and the truth that shies away—in face hides as best it can in the crevices of my soul.

Part of my call to the ordained ministry is to tell my story, my truth. On Sundays and occasionally on other days of the week, I preach the truth, but that is a different kind of literary animal. To preach the truth is to weave small bits of my own truth with the truth that is the inspired Word of God. Preaching is a conversation between God, myself and the gathered community. The conversation by necessity cannot be just between myself and God. Preaching is not enough to properly dig out my truth, to determine how deep I need to plumb. While preaching allows me to measure the soul’s ground, to determine how deep I might need to go, preaching only scratch the surface of the soul’s topsoil. Preaching gives me the knowledge that yes, there is a lot of hidden truth conveniently tucked away in the dark niches of my unexamined life. Preaching alerts me to the task at hand—the fact that I’ve spent a lifetime covering my essential truths with the rest of my life.

Down in the place of hidden darkness, in those cupboards shut up tight, there is betrayal and abandonment. There are hopes that are starving to death and life an injured animal, cry in the middle of the night for rescue. There is love waiting to beborn. Love waiting to be touched and awakened. The incarnation and the resurrection live in my darkness. The incarnation and the resurrection live in your darkness too.

And that is why I write. I write to uncover those truths deeply burrowed in my own soul and in your own soul. This journey into the dark places is not a new one—Augustine and Dante and countless other writers have taken this journey with pen in hand. Of course, this journey is what brings everyday folks through the church doors—or maybe to the thought of going into a church one day. For we all know it is a journey not to be made alone. The liturgies of the church are designed with his journey in mind. But like the Sunday preaching, the liturgies of the church does not do the job. Mind you, it identifies the problem at hand—the essential task of each human life. On Sundays and in prayer, we see where we are not honest, where and when we estrange ourselves from God and one another. But then what? What do we do when we are deeply betrayed by another—someone we love and someone we trusted? Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, but how in the world do we do that?

In my fifty or so years of living, what I do know is that we take the first step of our journey by telling our truth. To the only person that really matters. Ourselves. The hurtful action. The wish for revenge. The borrowing deep within. The covering up. The running away. For me, to tell the truth is to write. To take pen to paper. For some it is to paint. To compose music. To fight for justice in the courthouse. For me, it is to sit by a stream with the song of the birds nearby that give the solemn yet joyous assurance that even once the truth is finally and blessedly out, life will not be ended. It is to sit in the morning sun in my city apartment with the sounds of humanity close by and know that life goes on. Life goes on even when we tell the truth. For so long, I could believe that this is so.

I write first for myself. Then I write publicly so others can find the way to their own burrowed truths. What will this book require of you? To be open to the journey. To be open to explore your soul ground. To plumb the depths. Maybe to even dig deep. Once the truth is uncovered, it is to be willing to look—-seriously look for perhaps a very long tim—at the searing truth before you waiting to be born. My job as a writer is to implore you by my story not to give up, not to turn away from the expedition. My job is to give you courage to look directly at your burrowed truth and then gently to carry that truth in your arms, embrace it, and set it free.

“I am not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you’ve asked the way. I pointed ahead—ahead of myself as well as you.” 
– George Bernhard Shaw

Traveler on the Way is available in paperback on Lulu.com or as an Amazon Kindle ebook.

 

 

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