My labor of love finally gave birth to a book!
Which reminds me of an old joke: They say that writing a book is similar to giving birth, but it’s not. Books have edges.
What does that joke and the publishing industry have in common? Both are being rendered obsolete by ebooks! (Not really or least not yet.)
Although it’s been available for a few weeks now, I haven’t had the opportunity to write much about Train For Something Greater (TFSG). My energy has been channeled in other directions, like accepting a new job with the Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas! Before we move in early July, I have a few weeks to catch my breath and catch up on some long overdue blogging.
I started writing TFSG in early 2011. We had just shut down the church plant. I didn’t have a job. I wasn’t sure I’d ever preach again. And I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I started devoting some serious time to writing. Whereas in the past I had dabbled in it, I started spending a good chunk of each day in front of the computer, pouring out my thoughts, questions, and frustrations. After a few weeks of pure “brain drain,” writing whatever came to mind, I decided to start exploring the connections between physical and spiritual fitness. This was a logical choice. It combined my experience as a pastor with my passion for CrossFit.
I wrote several chapters and then set the project aside to work on a couple of little books that bubbled to the surface of my consciousness and demanded to be finished first. Postponing my work on TFSG was risky. In many instances, “postponed” is really just a coward’s code word for “abandoned.” In this case, setting aside TFSG turned out to be a wise decision. The book I started writing in early 2011 was much different than the one I released a couple of weeks ago.
The first version of the book was too negative. I used my experience with the way CrossFit facilitates life change as a club for critiquing the church and the lack of changed lives I’ve seen in many congregations. My primary audience was church leaders, most of whom had never heard of CrossFit, but whom I thought would benefit from reading about it. When I went back and read over my first draft, much of what I had written left me cold. I couldn’t get excited about finishing it.
Frankly, I have grown weary of books that keep pointing out the shortcomings of the church, and yet that was the kind of book I was writing. I decided I didn’t want to write a book about CrossFit addressed to church leaders; I wanted to write a book to CrossFitters about spiritual fitness. This shift in focus energized my writing.
I scrapped several chapters, reworked a few others, and then started writing from a fresh perspective with a new audience in mind. TFSG is a much better book as a result. It’s about CrossFit. It’s about Spiritual Formation. It’s about life change. Indirectly, it is still about the church, but without the negativity.
I left plenty of white space for perceptive readers to fill in the blanks and come to their own conclusions about lessons churches can learn from CrossFit. And based on the feedback from early readers, that is exactly what is happening.
So, why should YOU read Train For Something Greater?
1. It is a great introduction to CrossFit. You’ve heard about it, read about it, seen it on TV or you have a friend who won’t stop talking about it. In TFSG, I give a detailed, up-close and personal description of what CrossFit is and why it is so easy to fall in love with.
2. It offers a fresh perspective on Spiritual Formation modeled on training for physical fitness. Just as Paul uses athletic imagery in his letter to describe discipleship, I take lessons learned from CrossFit and apply them to the pursuit of spiritual fitness.
3. It offers insights as to how faith communities can facilitate long-term life change. I won’t back off my initial conviction that I voiced several years ago on this blog. In my first year of CrossFit, I saw more life change than I had in over a decade of working with churches. Just as churches continue to learn lessons from the twelve-step movement, there are important lessons to be gleaned from CrossFit.
4. It has some hilarious footnotes. I agree with Bill Simmons. The proper use of footnotes is for dropping jokes and humorous asides, not for citing page numbers in academic journals.
5. It is hands down the best book I’ve seen on the intersection of physical and spiritual fitness written by a CrossFitting Preacher. I expect this to continue to be the case as long as it is the only book in this category.
Please go download Train For Something Greater from Amazon right now. I’m quite proud of it.
If you would prefer to read TFSG in a different format (PDF, epub, Nook, etc.) here’s what we can do. First, go buy TFSG from Amazon in Kindle format. Give it to someone else as a gift if you like. Then send me your receipt or drop a comment below and I’ll email you a copy of your preferred digital version.