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What I Learned By Writing This Book
08-06-2009, 08:10 PM
Post: #1
What I Learned By Writing This Book
The book is Evil, Anger, and God, and I learned many things by writing it.

1. Learn By Writing. I learned that writing is an exacting teacher. Beliefs can be merely tacit. Thinking about beliefs requires only minimal mental verbalization. Telling others your beliefs, it is to be hoped, demands more verbal clarity. But writing one’s beliefs for publication and review is an exacting teacher who demands maximum verbal clarity.

2. My Offspring. Evil, Anger, and God gestated in my brain for half a century before its birth. Its delivery entailed the labor of pondering personal and public evils in relation to my anger and to God as portrayed in the Bible and then converting a billion or so of my brain cells into print as my offspring. Chap 1 “About This Book” outlines what I wrote and why. (You can read parts of the book for free by going to Google Books, searching for “Evil, Anger, and God” and reading in the Preview or going to Amazon’s Look Inside, but the pages that can be read are limited and vary.)

3. Evil. My years have witnessed many evils: Nazism and the Holocaust, useless wars in Korea and Vietnam, terrorism, as well as the inevitable tribulations suffered by everyone. Stepping back from the factual human or natural causes, I asked the transcendent Why? question. The question can be ducked with an “it just happened” reply or answered with words like Fate, Destiny, or God. My book tells how the biblical God became my answer and addresses that answer’s attendant questions. Chap 3 covers “Evil: Biblical Meanings” 10-16.

4. Anger. Evil denotes events that frustrate what we consider good, and frustration evokes anger. Illness and death in my family, social injustice, and poverty: I reacted to such evils with anger, too often hurting inappropriate targets. I wrote about how I learned to prevent anger or direct it at God rather than inflicting it on other people in Chap 4 “Anger: A Common Reaction to Evil” 17-19 and Chap 11 “Preventive Deliverance from Evil” sec “Preventive Deliverance from Anger’s Evil” 88-91 and Chap 12 “Alleviative Deliverance from Evil” sec “Alleviating Anger’s Evil” 108-110.

5. God. The book contains an understanding of biblical language that portrays God as doing things, including inflicting evil, that allows me to use the language meaningfully without denying what is known about human and natural causes. Thus, I learned how to resolve the needless conflict between such faith-language (i.e., religion) and scientific knowledge. I wrote about this in “Understanding Biblical Language” 27-39.

6. Humans. As a matter of fact, it is humans who perpetrate most of the world’s evil, and language about God as inflicting evil in no way denies this fact. I wrote about this in Chap 8 “Humans as Evildoers” in a way that helps me understand my own sometimes evil (hurtful) behavior.

7. Self-esteem. For many years, I did not believe that I was really ‘by God’ esteemed. The affirmations I received from family and friends were not enough. I felt that I must prove I was OK, but I could never be right enough. Even if others thought so, was I really ‘by God’ esteemed? In religious terms, I could not justify myself “by the works of the law” because I would always fall short. Because I often tried to prove myself right by proving others wrong I inflicted the evil of suffering on others and in return suffered their distaste: all because I could not believe that I was ‘by God’ esteemed. But through a wise psychotherapist, I finally got it. I wrote about what I got in Chap 11 “Preventive Deliverance from Evil” sec “Preventive Deliverance from Guilt’s Evil” 91-106.

8. Reviews thus far indicate that what I learned by writing this book can be of value to other people. There are reviews posted on and on Books. Following is an especially gratifying review that is not posted. It was written by John H. Rodgers, Jr., a Professor of Theology Emeritus.
“This book is best read through patiently and with pen in hand; it is not light and breezy. Whether or not you agree with the author at all points, and this reviewer does not, you will find that in the end you will have wrestled with the deep things of God and that you will appreciate the Lord more profoundly, know[/i] yourself better and also be a better care giver and/or pastor when suffering makes its presence known, as it surely will.” Trinity Journal for Theology & Ministry, Fall 2008

These are some things I learned by writing this book, and they are of great value to me. If you read any parts of the book on Amazon or Google or in the book itself, I would appreciate knowing whether what I learned is of any value to you also. Thank you, Milton Crum
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