Daily grace and writing as a means to doctrinal discovery.
For several years now I have been on somewhat of a “writing journey.” (Gosh, that sounded pretentious.) I started blogging in 2013 with the sole intention of finding some space to “think out loud” and process the theology that was working its way from my brain into my heart and life. What I found, however, was that writing provided a deeply cathartic experience, one which has provided an asylum to which to which I have resorted on countless occasions over the last half-decade. This eventually led to my first self-published book in 2015, which furthered my endeavor to find writing as a means of spiritual self-examination and doctrinal discovery. In fact, in the introduction to that book — titled, Grace: So Much More Than You Know and So Much Better Than You Think — I explicitly state:
The goal in writing this little book . . . is not for shock-and-awe, or to garner attention, or to become “famous” amongst evangelical circles. My aspirations were not to sell millions (or even thousands) of copies or be a New York Times best seller. As amazing an accomplishment as that would be, my intentions were not so superficial or egotistical.
I wrote this book for the mere fact that I needed to read it. I wrote this book for me, for my own benefit, that through the course of study and prayer and meditation, has come to draw me nearer to my Lord and Savior than I ever thought possible.
I stand by those words, even all these years later. Indeed, such is how I have operated in the intervening years since then. Whenever I approach the blank screen and begin to compose another article, I am not motivated by some notion of “writing the piece that changes world.” That has never been the prevailing factor when it comes to how I write or what I write about. Rather, it has always been about discovering the boundless depths to which grace goes. I don’t mean for that to sound overly pious or anything. Of course I would love for the things I write to have more eyes on them. But I can honestly say that that is not a consideration which receives much attention prior to writing.
You might be wondering where I’m going with all this — and I know I’ve probably buried the lede, here — but I wanted to preface this little announcement with a little insight into my heart, which remains to explore and exalt the timeless truth of the gospel of “grace upon grace.” (Jn 1:16) Because, you see, as writing became less of a hobby and more like an intricate component in my ministerial life, a goal began to develop: to one day be an officially published writer. And with the recent release of Mockingbird’s second yearly devotional, Daily Grace: The Mockingbird Devotional, Vol. 2, I am delighted to say that that goal has been realized!
It has been a true honor contributing the ongoing ministry of Mockingbird, whose quest remains “to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.” Dave Zahl and his motley crew of #seculosity savants publish a daily stream of resources in which grace (and its absence) are noticed all over the wide spectrum of spheres in which we live and operate. Daily Grace is but an extension of this grace-saturated ministry. The editors even offer this comforting invitation in the introduction:
Our prayer is that you will be able to open this book, to any page, and find relief. That you’ll find real hope in something beyond yourself. That you’ll be reminded of news so good, in fact, that you might be suspicious it’s too good. But what we’ve put together is not a fine fancy. Theologically speaking, it’s robust and carefully considered. With contributions from over sixty writers, this devotional represents a diversity of experiences and voices: women and men, young and old, from a variety of denominations. We have students, parents, teachers, writers, and pastors who have spent lifetimes ministering to people across demographics.
What do we all have in common? A belief in the surpassing grace of God — and the forgetfulness of human beings. We believe that the gospel often goes in one ear and out the other, and that we need to be reminded of it constantly. Which is why our organization is, after all, called Mockingbird. We sing the same gospel song repeatedly.1
Indeed, like a bird that incessantly echoes its song, I am happy to preach (and write about) grace till I die. I pray you will pick up a copy and saturate yourself in daily grace in the year to come. Thanks go to CJ Green, Todd Brewer, David Zahl and the host of Mockingbird editors for allowing me to play a small role in this project. Soli Deo Gloria!
CJ Green, editor, Daily Grace: The Mockingbird Devotional, Vol. 2 (Charlottesville, VA: Mockingbird, 2020), 2–3.