Monday, November 29, 2010

Welcome to the challenge of living faith out loud!

This page is - as of today, November 29 - shifting focus to that of "place-holder and welcome." Simply put, the majority of people go directly to my daily blog @ or my website @

So it doesn't make sense to blog here, unless there are direct questions and comments about "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian". The book's facebook page is still active, and I'll certainly respond to people reading the book who come to this page, but I'm not going to try to make regular entries here any more.
  • Connect to my blog
  • "Like" the facebook page
  • Direct others to this page
  • Visit my website at
  • Check out my author page at Amazon...
And be blessed. Follow through on rejecting the status of part-time Christian. And by all means include me in your ongoing conversation.

PEACE - Derek

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kindle-ing Logos

I want to put in a word, this morning, for the word. For The Word. Logos.

The ancient Greeks used "logos" for speech, order, reason and discourse. Aristotle put several key ideas together and used logos to cover the general discipline of reasoned conversation and intelligent dialogue. The Christian writer John finessed the concept to that of God speaking all things into being, and went on to describe Jesus as the physical embodiment or "incarnation" of logos - Christ The Living Word.

The Word, LOGOS, for Jesus followers in the 21st Century, and for me in particular, means "the animating truth" - it means the fact of God speaking life into all of Creation.
  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus is light. The Word brings light and life. And, while God is certainly not limited to the kind of truth which can be comprehended via spoken or written language, so much of the truth that penetrates all the way into my soul tends to come at me via text.

So this is one reason why I'm so excited about my new toy! Rebekah and Andrew (along with help from Naomi and Craig, long-distance) took me out to dinner last night and presented me with a "Kindle" book-reader.

They had preloaded it, thoughtfully, with a couple of my titles. And I must admit it still gives me a tingle of excitement to see my work available in any new format.

Then, in the mail, I received my copies of the Guideposts annual Christmas book "The Heart of Christmas". I have a couple of stories in the 2010 edition.

And so today I'm recommending that we soak ourselves in Logos. I'm suggesting some extra time spent in communion with truth via the written word. Get into some Bible! Swim in the life-charged wonder of "it is written."

... I want to put in a word, this morning, for the word. For The Word. Logos.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Once in a while I'm able to place an article that takes a key idea or principle from The unmaking of a Part-Time Christian. This week the following article appeared in FOCUS magazine in Central Florida. It's a good one to share with friends who are maybe struggling with the idea of God, miracles, and why so much in faith is difficult to understand.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Do Not Be Afraid of the Omelet!

Typically, I won't just paste in a post from my other blog in this space. But I'm liking this message for The unmaking of a Part Time Christian. I believe it's one to pass around.

First, a disclaimer. This is not my omelet! First off, it's far too neatly made. Then, most importantly, it's almost impossible to photograph an omelet you are cooking, serving and also involved in eating - there's simply no time!

OKay; here's the set up: Men's Bible Study, Wednesday evening; pre-class talking; exchanging stories, checking in. I'm telling a couple of the guys about the awesome omelets I cooked for dinner.

So Chris, in all seriousness, asks: "So what's the secret? How do you make a good omelet. I can never do it."

Me - in all seriousness: "Don't be afraid of the omelet!"

Chris: "What?"

Me: "What I mean is, just go for it. The moment you begin to worry about texture, evenness, technique etc., then the omelet will not/cannot work! Prepare your ingredients ahead, get the pan hot, make sure it's not going to stick, and then treat the omelet like a big scrambled egg. Once you get it going, throw in all the good stuff you have prepared ahead of time, fold it over when it's 75% done, and don't overdo the cheese."

The way to cook a good omelet, I was trying to explain, is all in the commitment. Or, as Yoda would say, "Cook the omelet or cook the omelet not. There is no try; only do or do not."

The conversation actually comments well on the scripture in Philippians 4 that we've been studying. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

The principle is to proceed, always moving forward, without allowing anxiety to take a foothold. Living a victorious life is not about God making things easy, about putting more "Ws" in the win column, or about achieving technically perfect results. The victory is in the journey, the placing of one foot in front of the other, in a belief that borders on naiveté, in serving with faithfulness and in the sure knowledge of God's love.

Don't worry! Trust in God! You make sure to take care of the fundamentals (daily devotions, constant prayer, a spirit of thanksgiving, being active in a community of faith, serving others etc...), so throw it all in the pan, keep everything moving, for goodness sake don't get stuck, and live your faith out loud already!

... And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

- AMEN to that!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanks... "maybe": well-placed book review turns out to be a mixed blessing...

  • It's one thing to write a potentially cutting edge book.
  • Then it's a huge step to snag the interest of a publisher and to see the manuscript come into print.
  • But it's something else entirely to present the finished product to people outside the immediate circle of close friends and family, for the book to sell more than a handful of copies, and for the great ideas that launched the book in the first place to be exposed to anyone at all. You know what they say about a tree falling in the woods....
So I was very excited to hear that a major denominational news journal planned to run a full-page review of "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian."

You can't buy that kind of exposure. Well, my publisher can't buy that kind of exposure! Upper Room Books are great, but they simply don't have the resources.

Yesterday afternoon the magazine I'd been waiting for - The Presbyterian Outlook - arrived in my mailbox. I couldn't wait to find the review and there it was; a full page, thorough, well written and pretty-much 100% positive!

BUT... and this is a big but... there at the top of the page, the prominent 48-point bold-face headline had the title of my book wrong! Good grief, who could possibly screw up the title of the book under review???!!!

Don't make the mistake of blaming the book-review writer. This had to be editorial. Copy or page-design. I've had that happen to me in the Tampa Tribune, and everyone thinks it's the writer. Fact is, most errors are introduced after the article leaves the writer's desk.

Oh well... You win some... Regardless, here's the review. Read it, it's actually pretty good.

by Derek Maul; Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2009.
reviewed by Judith Fulp-Eickstead

Derek Maul, award-winning columnist for the Tampa Tribune, issues an invitation to anyone looking for a deeper level of commitment to Jesus Christ in a culture where “doing just enough to get by defines life for too many people and in too many contexts” (p. 17). The book consists of stories of people and communities who have transcended that "clock in-clock out" mentality to exhibit authentic discipleship. Maul shares transformative elements of his own faith journey, which includes experiences in a variety of church and para-church organizations, and experience as a young adult in a controlling religious organization led him to conclude that “religion based on fear is contrary to the invitation to follow Jesus, and I believe such a path serves to kill faith in many vulnerable followers who are manipulated and deceived” (p. 51).

As Maul reflects on the church, he cites many of the same problems other authors have pointed out, such as the fear of change and the tendency to venerate tradition and even habit. He recalls the often quoted seven deadly words, “We’ve never done it that way before,” and in response offers seven life-giving words, “I can do all things through Christ.” That reliance on Christ is the focus of the full-time faith Maul advocates throughout the book. He recalls conversations from a class of energized young adults who are able to be truthful about their doubts and unbelief on their shared path of discipleship, invites us to be “flies on the wall” at a senior banquet where parents and youth share meaningful memories and real faith. The author points us to Christ, who meets us wherever we are on our pilgrim journey and invites us to the next step. This kind of authentic faith cannot be made into a formula and is not easy to define. But it is the essence of what it means to be “emergent,” says Maul.

I would have liked more reflection on what it means to be an “emergent church,” especially within the larger culture of the Presbyterian Church, and too often the book follows well-worn paths, such as the section on the Bible as "guide book."

Maul offers a challenge, however, to “live as if you mean it,” and engage in a journey that challenges our perspective and sets us on a deliberate path of pilgrimage. The challenge is best met, according to Maul, with the support of other Christians in faith communities, in intentional small groups, and in our own families. Having real conversations about authentic faith and a shared prayer life with a consistent group of companions is a source of encouragement and accountability. But the call to engage goes far beyond such intimate circles. We are ultimately called to engage a broken world with God’s promises and God’s purpose — relationship, restoration, and reconciliation. This book is very accessible and could serve as an excellent resource for small groups or adult education classes, with Scripture, prayers, and thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter.

JUDITH FULP-EICKSTEAD is associate pastor, Trinity Church, Arlington Va.