Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Most Googled Statement in My Online Book ‘Making Life Decisions’

Most Googled Statement
This quotation from Frederick Buechner (pictured) is the most Googled statement in my online book, Making Life Decisions: Journey in Discernment.

“Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Frederick Buechner

Over 7,000
Since I launched the book online one year ago (November 2007) more than 7,000 people have ventured on this site. I am not claiming that all 7,000 have read the book but the online mode certainly gives wide international circulation and accessibility.

Currently Being Published
You might be interested to know that Making Life Decisions is in preparation for traditional publication and will hopefully be available early in 2009.

Heaps of Stories
In addition to stories from Frederick Buechner, Making Life Decisions contains stories and statements from these people, many of whom you will recognize:

Karl Barth, Joan Didion, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Carl Jung, Thomas Merton, John Claypool, Judith Viorst, Sam Keen, Joan Chittester, Augustine, Richard Foster, Richard Rohr, Albert Schweitzer, Teihard de Chardin, Mrs Betty Bowers ('America's Best Christian'), Parker Palmer, Warren Bennis, Robert McAfee Brown, Abraham Hershel, Chaim Potok, Charles Handy, Neil Armstong, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Kosuke Koyama, Gregory Peck, F W Boreham, Graeme Garrett, Umberto Eco and Stephen Covey.

Even if you choose not to use the book for the purpose for which it is intended you will find in it more than 25 great stories.

Importance to Theological Education
I have written in the Introduction to this book about the connection between discernment and the business of pastoring and theological education:

“I would be rich if I had been given $50 for every time someone asked me the question (or a variation of it): “How can I discover God’s will for my life or in this situation?” As a pastor, this is the question I have been asked more than any other. Sharing the weight of this question and its consequences has been a significant part of the privilege of being a pastor.”

“When my vocational journey took a new twist in which I served as a consultant with Australian Baptist Churches, I came to see that the issue of corporate discernment is pivotal to local churches and denominations in discovering their unique personality and mission.”

“My path turned later in the direction of training and leadership, first as a lecturer and then as Principal of Whitley College, the Baptist College of Victoria, and I discovered that student interviews and course planning were vitally connected with matters of discernment.”

“In recent years I have relocated with my wife to the Arabian Peninsula and I am testing out new vocational directions. Daily we are being confronted with questions of discernment. This book, therefore, does not come as a last word on discernment because one never actually nails it as one might solve a Sudoku puzzle. The issues of discernment change from time to time and from person to person because they are about the dynamic way that God relates to each individual in their uniqueness.”

This is the book I wish I had had to give to the thousands of people who have asked me as a pastor and theological teacher about how they might discern God’s will in their life, their church or their seminary.

Link: Making Life Decisions: Journey in Discernment.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The most Googled statement in my online book, Making Life Decisions: Journey in Discernment.”