One of the great parts of writing non-fiction is the research, and delving into what others have studied. For the Glory book, I’ve recently been back in Michael Gorman’s insightful Inhabiting the Cruciform God. Gorman is presenting a view of Jesus that shows Him as exhibiting divinity when He lets go–that is, by facing the cross and death, Jesus demonstrates the nature of God. Gorman presses the point by dipping into water that swirls around Orthodox theology where theosis is a key concept: theosis, the notion that followers of Jesus become like God.
This doesn’t sound very new (conservative evangelicals often talk about being like God), except that this theosis idea takes becoming like God quite literally. That is, it speaks of a radically new nature for ordinary humans infused by God’s Spirit, such that they are like God while yet on this earth (pondering the metaphor of the body and its head, and using the phrase ‘separate but not distinct’ helps with grasping the concept).
A lot to digest there, and a concept I’m wrestling with as I ponder what it means to pursue glory. I’m grateful for Gorman’s passion on the topic, and for leads from his other writings that point to work by Finlan and Levison. But, Mr. Gorman has also been responsible for a delay in the finishing of these chapters, as has N. T. Wright, whose After You Believe offers another slant on this matter of what it means to be truly human with his discussion of discipleship in terms of virtuous character.
Meanwhile, I’m also trying to get Prime Target ready for its roll out as an e-book, which creates a different set of issues. For instance, what do I do about wanting to write both fiction and non-fiction? Do I have to choose? CS Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, Walter Wangerin, Anne Lamott–people like this managed to span a variety of literary genres, and so I know it can be done. Wouldn’t presume to be in their class as a writer, but they offer good examples–they draw me in this direction by suggesting that it’s possible. So why not try both?
For me, writing affords opportunity to discover what others think, clarify my own ideas, and have a rollicking good time to boot. That last point has tipped me over to fiction, but it’s also responsible for my more ‘serious’ work, since I find it to be flat out exhilarating to dig into texts, puzzle through complexities and then emerge with new understanding or a fresh way of expressing ideas. Strange, some might say, while others would think it obvious.
Isn’t it grand how much variety there is in the human community?