I haven’t written about this on the blog yet, but my next book now has its own page, and its first endorsement on the IVP website (here).
I was honored to receive these words from Matthew Bates:
“Perhaps a meadow exists between dogmatism and skepticism, a fruitful space for cultivating beautiful truth. Perhaps Origen, Augustine, and Edwards can converse there with Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy. Perhaps instead of rehearsing or debunking information, we can foster theological imagination. Perhaps Joshua McNall’s wit and wisdom has pointed the church toward a better future. Perhaps we should listen.”Matthew W. Bates, author of Gospel Allegiance and associate professor of theology at Quincy University
Matt’s endorsement captures well the spirit my project.
In so many ways, our culture feels held hostage by the fringes: the shrillest voices on the Left and Right. And as we turn to questions of faith, that same polarization leaves many driven toward one of two extremes: On one side stands a yawning chasm of secular doubt, and on the other sits an increasingly angry religious dogmatism.
I’m not the first person to note this trend, but I hope my book sparks something of a renewed (and more gracious) theological imagination between pervasive skepticism and abrasive certainty. That’s what Perhaps is about.
It’s a strange book, because its fuses disciplines that are normally kept safely separate: It’s part fiction, part theology, part apologetics, and part cultural analysis.
Still, the big idea is summed up in this line from N. T. Wright:
To believe in providence often means saying “perhaps.”N. T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God
Here’s a brief snapshot from my Introduction:
The importance of what I define as “faith seeking imagination” increases in a cultural moment when the church is torn by two unsavory extremes: the force of crippling secular doubt and the zealotry of partisan religious dogmatism.
Rekindling a gracious theological imagination—rooted in orthodoxy, Scripture, tradition, community, and great works of art—is essential to confront the “resounding gong[s]” (1 Cor 13:1) of our day with something better than pervasive skepticism or abrasive certainty. In this blank space between unchecked doubt and dogmatism, Christians must relearn how to say “perhaps.”From the Preface
I’ll have much more to say about the book in weeks to come, but if you’re interested, here’s a few things you can do to help as I approach the September launch date:
- Pre-order. You can pre-order the book on Amazon (here), or on the InterVarsity Press site (here).
- Join my newsletter (here): Full disclosure… I’ve been terrible at keeping up this newsletter, so if you signed up and wondered if something went wrong, it did: I got too busy. That said… I’ll be offering some special perks through that email list to interested readers. Thanks!
- Pray. Pray that this book blesses the church and is used by God to speak not only to academics (it is lightly academic) but to college students and churchgoers who feel spiritually homeless.
Oh, and one more thing: The unsung hero of Perhaps is a seven-hundred-pound Galápagos tortoise, named Wilbur. He’s important for the plot, but he’s also dedicated to my 3 yr old son, Teddy Brian.
How’s that for a teaser?
Grace and peace.
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Want to support this blog? Here are some other things I’ve written:
- Long Story Short: The Bible in Six Simple Movements (Seedbed, 2018)
- The Mosaic of Atonement: An Integrated Approach to Christ’s Work (Zondervan Academic, 2019)
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