But when I'm done with that book, I'd like to start on a nonfiction book that's been in the making forever, called How to Love God and Be Brave. (I was originally going to call it How to Love God and Not Be a Jerk, but I think the new title is more accurate and more sellable.) However---and I've mentioned this before---I also find that when I don't have a specific topic, I tend to circle back and repeat myself.
The book itself would ideally be a diagnosis of the ways in which well-intentioned religious people adhere to beliefs that are more or less predestined to bring out unpleasant behaviors---arrogance, sexism, know-nothingism, etc. And to propose ways of rethinking evangelical theology to avoid the worst tendencies of the faith. Not that I would then follow such a faith, but it's a way of at least making evangelical Christianity safe for an adult multicultural democracy.
Anyway, I'm proposing to divide the book into different sections, identifying things I'm trying to save. So far I have the following:
Saving the Bible (how to read prophecy without being naive; how to read scriptural contradictions without making absurd apologies for them; how to understand the way other traditions understand Bible texts, etc.)
Saving the Mind (how to be an evangelical and not freak out about evolution, homosexuality, etc. This could be a very long section!)
Saving the Soul (how to strike a balance between being open and accepting and being thoroughly naive; how to find meaningful worship without necessarily requiring hell or conversion from the outside)
Saving the Heart (how to be evangelical and have a reasonably healthy attitude toward sex)
Saving Atheism (or How to Be an Atheist and Not be a Jerk).
Note that I don't claim to know the answers to all of these questions (particularly that last one), but it's my hope that if I have an actual goal in mind, my writings on these topics will have better shape and come together more nicely.
So I'm asking: if any of you have any suggestions, or specific questions you'd be curious to see addressed, please let me know. (And for those friends of mine who just want to know about who I was and how I changed, I imagine the whole book will be about 35% autobiographical as well.) And with that, it's time for work.
Labels: Dave Update