The Eagle Has Landed

lunarmod.jpegI sent my completed manuscript for How to Keep Your Inner Mess from Trashing Your Outer World to the publisher on Sunday afternoon.  Thank you to everybody who prayed, encouraged, and helped along the way.  Here are tons of ultra-fascinating details:

  • 61,300 words
  • 257 pages (8 1/2 x 11)
  • 16 chapters
  • Part One (chapters 1-8):  Meet Your Inner Mess
  • Part Two (chapters 9-16): Make it Stop Trashing Your Outer World
  • typerwriter.jpegNext steps:  editing, cover design
  • Publication:  March 2009
  • Binding:  I don’t think this has been determined (hardback vs. paper)
  • Distribution:  US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, etc.  Wherever English is spoken. Wow!
  • Type of book:  Non-fiction, Christian living.  Many Christians live frustrated lives because they don’t know how to deal with the flesh, the Inner Mess.  This book shows how its tentacles stretch into every corner of life and what to do about it.  I illustrate the Inner Mess with a running story of a bus driver who has to deal with a surly passengers who irritate, and ultimately fight each other.
  • Key verse:  Jas 4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
    printing-press.jpeg
  • Weekend:  I’m brainstorming and Inner Mess Weekend, in case a church would like to have a special weekend…
  • CAN YOU HELP?  If I were to speak at a church, say a Saturday night, Sunday Morning, Sunday night (3 sessions) on the Inner Mess, what might that look like?  Leave a comment!  Let your creative juices flow:  name, costumes, message themes… If you’ve heard the sermons, please help me out.

Chapters include:  Your Inner Sinner, Inner Saint, Inner Jerk, Inner Dummy, Inner Thug, Inner CIA Agent…bus.jpgHow do you handle the Inner Mess?  It doesn’t work to fight it, punish it, guilt it, shame it, or hide it.  You can’t contain it–you’ll shout it from the housetops if you do.  The only solution is to GRACE it.  I hope lots and lots of readers make that discovery and transform their lives.  I’d appreciate your prayers for that.  I should receive the first round of edits in about 6 weeks.I’ll keep you posted.  Thanks.

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13 thoughts on “The Eagle Has Landed

  1. Bill,

    I really like your approach of mixing theology with visual images (and so you end up building story-like parables).

    Was that idea yours…? (smile)

    One possible theme or story line (that you could possibly consider using) is something along the following… the Prodigal SONS. I said, “sons” as in plural.

    Everybody has heard this parable of the Prodigal a million times, but often the emphasis is ALWAYS on son #2 (“the dissolute rake”). The story told by Jesus was addressed to Scribes and Pharisees, and so, as the listeners of this story, they were identifying themselves with son #1 (“devout adherent”), who stayed at home with his father “in his house.” They were not identifying themselves with son #2 (“the dissolute rake”).

    The point here is that people may think that the Inner Mess is son #2, when, in fact, it also includes son #1, who had no grace in his heart.

    Just because son #1 remained with his father, the result was NOT that son #1 became the image of his father — quite the contrary, the “Inner Mess” of son #1 was ANTI-GRACE. He was the opposite of his father, and, by analogy, the Scribes and Pharisees — who held Jesus in contempt — also were ANTI-GRACE as well (because they did not possess the image, character, or values of THE FATHER).

    The point is not to reiterate an old parable we’ve all heard a million, bazillion times — instead the point is to show how the Inner Mess is ANTI-GRACE. That is the idea, since both sons were equally lost as illustrations of the Inner Mess.

    I was thinking about the “old man & new man” or even the “Old Adam and New Adam” as possible “types and anti-types” for a presentation, but these tend to be very theological (as Paul was in his writings like Romans). The story of the prodigal SONS, however, provides a more relevant, contemporary, story-telling approach (that people enjoy), however, your emphasis is on son #1 — and not so much on son #2, which is what 99% of sermons on this topic will always discuss.

    You can mention that the Inner Mess tries “to work” for grace (because, as you will remember, son #1 reminded his father how much HE WORKED). You could also say that son #1 believed that he had “earned” a slaughtered calf, but son #2 did not, and so the “Inner Mess” (again) is TOTALLY anti-grace.

    Usually, and sadly today (and oddly, too), son #1 and son #2 both coexist in the same person. That is, Christians tend to condemn themselves with hate, while trying to maintain an aura of spirituality — son #1 and son #2 in one enchilada.

    I was thinking of some kind of medieval motif — gothic characters that were both (and at once) glamous and hideous — as “stage props,” but then, how do you weave the story-line into (restored) relationship with God…? How can grace become evident, if there is no protagonist (such as the Father that we find in the story of the lost SONS)…?

    Anyway, these are just thoughts — by no means am I trying to delimit the scope of your project (certainly very challenging). As I read other posts, perhaps I can “jump on” other ideas as grace permits.

    Grace.
    Joe

  2. BG,
    Since all of the characters on my bus are from the Seinfeld show, here’s my proposal:

    Your weekend in Chicago would look like this:
    Arrive Saturday in time for lunch at Portillo’s…meet and greet at the Church. Yada yada teach yada yada book-signing at the church. Then a late sausage and pepperoni at Lou’s.
    Sunday: Yada yada Church Service Yada yada sign more books. Then Lunch at Smokey Bones. Quick run to Garrett’s in the Loop, back to church for the evening session. yada yada more teaching, yada yada more book signing then down to Central Gyros for a nite-cap.

    So, based on the above proposal, is my church Billworthy?

    BG

  3. Bill,

    I forgot to mention something else.

    In Luke 15, the “Inner Mess” values material possessions more than people.

    In the parable of the lost coin (and even the lost sheep), Jesus had asked the Scribes and Pharisees in verse 4, “What man among YOU…”

    The Scribes and Pharisees were provided illustrations of a lost coin (and a lost sheep) to illustrate how THEY (Pharisees and Scribes) place value on visible, material possessions.

    The point is that the “Inner Mess” places more value on money (lost coin) or even on pets (lost sheep), than on people (parable of the Father and his two lost SONS).

    Do remember when hotel heiress Leona Helmsley left upteen millions of dollars to her pet dog when she died…? It’s animals over people.

    The “Inner Mess” places the value (of material possessions) above people. “Inner Grace” (as depicted by the Father) places the value of people above material possessions (“… in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents…”).

    When you give you discussion, the earmark of the “Inner Mess” toward others is placing them beneath the values of material possessions or even animals. It’s a tough concept to swallow, but it is true.

    Grace.
    Joe

  4. Just some ideas for you…

    Characters
    Meet your inner Toddler – you know, that part of you that really does believe everything is yours! (Or at least that it should be.)
    Meet your inner Chicken – the part that’s too afraid of life to get out there and live it

    For the weekend, if I were to go, I think I’d want to hear more of how to grace the mess. I know I have an inner mess. What I want to know is what to do about it.

    Perhaps the first session would be on identifying your inner scoundrel(s). This session would be for people who don’t have trouble knowing thier messed up and for people (like me) who like to think they’re perfect.

    Second and third sessions would have little bits on defining the inner mess but more on how to grace it, what that means and really living it out.

    I’ve been in church my whole life. I know there are plenty of people out there who will help me bring out all of my inner garbage and then try to explain how Jesus can help me clean it up. People need to hear that Jesus isn’t their janitor. He wants to transform and renew not just mop up. You have a gift for speaking the truth of grace. The message of grace is HUGE… and people need to hear it in a way that allows them to get it.

    Ok… this is your blog so I’ll stop. So excited about the book! Congrats!

  5. Hey Andrea – right on, girl! I’m so with you on what you said!

    I have to tell you, Dr. G, that the Inner Mess series was my least favorite of all the series you have given. You KNOW I’m your best fan and love you beyond measure, so please don’t get your feelings hurt. I crave hearing your words on the Bible and living by grace – CRAVE it! But, (there I go again with the buts…) Andrea has hit the nail on the head describing my feelings perfectly. Living the grace life, learning to grace everything, sanctification – now that’s where I really need help!!!! Of course, I know that’s up to God, the Holy Spirit and me to discover and experience, so you’re really off the hook, but she did get to the root of my heart.

    Discovering grace and salvation is our mandate for sure. There is life after salvation, though, and that’s the challenging part to most of us maturing Christians.

    Where will you get the time to put on seminars in other places???????

  6. Steve…
    I haven’t read Dallas Willard. What does he say that you think is really good? I did read some NT Wright, I think I sent you an email to that effect. Did I?

    Jean…
    Ouch. Owwww. Ouch. Especially after I poured my soul into that book. Owwwww.

    Bill

  7. So sorry, Dr. G! But, of course, you pour your soul into everything you preach…

    Grace Lineup was terrific – Daniel saved my sanity – Galatians (around the Inner Mess, of course) was marvelous indeed!!!

    Your book is going to be a winner. That’s because it relates to the entire human race – very wide audience! You have my congrats and best wishes.

    Oh, it’s still my least favorite….

  8. Bill,

    I listened carefully to the messages, but I’m not comfortable with your instructions to grace my inner mess. Isn’t Paul’s instruction to “put to death” said inner mess (Rom. 8:13)?

  9. Janet,
    I would have at least hoped for a minor “Congratulations! Bill” before I got my first online negative review…

    Please note the Scripture your cited:
    “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Ro 8:13.

    What are we to put to death? What is the object of the verb? THE DEEDS of the body. That’s right up there with “Loving the sinner but hating the sin” don’t you think?

    Bill

  10. Forgive me for being ungracious. I am impressed that you wrote a whole book and submitted it to a publisher–in Oxford, no less! You deserve major congratulations.

    Thanks for the explanation; it makes sense. “Hate the sin but love the sinner” doesn’t get very good press these days. It makes sense to me if I think of a concrete example such as a kid on drugs.

  11. Thank you Janet. And your illustration of the kid on drugs is right on. Imagine your inner being as a collection of troubled youth: a kid on drugs, a girl pregnant too soon out of wedlock, a fatherless thug taking out his aggression on others, and an abused girl who hates herself, pierces her body, and becomes suicidal. Then ask what Jesus would do for each of those youth. He would love the sinner and hate the sin. That’s what I mean by gracing your Inner Mess. It is a) sharing God’s attitude of grace toward the broken down parts of your soul; b) applying God’s power of grace toward healing and victory so that you can indeed “put to death the DEEDS of the flesh.”

    Bill

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