This is my latest post for Feminist Studies in Religion. I reflect on writing my fifth book which is due to be published Summer 2014.
Several weeks ago I submitted my manuscript for my upcoming fifth book, Contemplations from the Heart: Spiritual Reflections on Family, Community, and the Divine (Wipf and Stock, Summer 2014). I submitted the final manuscript with lots of excitement as well as with some reservation.
There are certain joys and pleasures from writing a book. There is joy in having something in print with your own name on it. There is a sense of accomplishment when finally completing a project that you have started years ago and seeing it come to some fruition. There is a certain level of happiness that comes from pushing the “send” button on your computer to your publisher.
However, some may not realize the agony and despair that comes with writing a book. The ideas all seem clear in one’s head, but when it comes down to actually putting it on paper, it is a different story. Finding the right words to convey a certain meaning is troublesome and burdensome. Trying to rephrase a certain thought or sentence can consume one’s being, as it may take hours or weeks to do. So what appears to be an easy task for readers of a printed book is actually an agonizing, stressful, and painful process. Furthermore, writing a book may be a very difficult, challenging and strenuous process to complete even for the most disciplined writers.
After I press the ‘send’ button on my computer, I know that my book is not really finished. I know that when I begin writing a book, it is never complete. Writing can be an endless task of editing, revising or rewriting, but there comes a time when I simply have to surrender and just submit my manuscript to the publisher.
Furthermore, I also recognize that the book is never fully complete even after it comes out in print. A published book becomes an ongoing, living book that grows and makes its mark on people. I have come to know the power of books and the power of words. Books challenge, alter, and change people’s lives.
My upcoming book is a devotional, divided into three sections, “God,” “Environmental Concerns,” and “Church and Society.” I reflect theologically on these three areas and end with some “Reflections Questions” for further discussion. This is my first ‘non-academic’ book and I am therefore walking in new territory. I am not certain how the church or people of the church will accept my book. Will they embrace it or reject it?
The need to write a non-academic book has been gnawing at me for many years now. It is important for me to reach out to the academic world as well as the world of the church and the laity. It is important that it is not just a small circle of thinkers who are reading my books, but that many people of various backgrounds and interests are also reading my material. As my manuscript enters the typesetting stage before production and print, I hope that my words will be able to bring some delight, encouragement, joy and laughter to those who come to read them.
The back cover states, “How do we find God in a world where God often seems to be hidden? How do we love one another and seek social justice? This series of theological and spiritual reflections on family, and community helps the reader see the importance of the spiritual in daily life. The reflections explore global warming, environment, racism, child rearing, sexism, and the church. The reflections consider these and other current issues and provide suggestions and directions for living as faithful Christians.”
This book will become my small offering to the church—the church that has sustained me and given me hope, peace, community and love.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim is Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University. She is the author of 5 books, Contemplations from the Heart (forthcoming), Reimagining with Christian Doctrines co-edited with Jenny Daggers, Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit, The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology & The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology. She is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in Diaspora”.