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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Your Dying Spouse 523 - Not An Expert, Just Here

I'm no expert.

Not a theologian, nor a philosopher, nor a medical doctor.

I'm just a dude in a place that's become kind of hard.

Today's blog from the Steve Laube Literary Agency (10/2/18) dealt with the subject of needed expertise in writing, as a prerequisite to acceptance by publishers and readers.

This was my comment:

"A lance corporal who has survived one firefight has more authority to write about combat than the most degreed and credentialled civilian professor of military science.
For myself, I have no education in theology; I came to Christianity through the portal of Zen Buddhism, and am still viewed askance by many, as if I’m not quite theologically hygienic.
But like the 19-year-old Marine clutching his M4 as the rosary it becomes, I’m holding to unspeakable pain and dread, and to boundless hope and trust, as I walk the twilight world of terminal cancer and faith.
Here, the words of the experts fade against the roaring from the darkness, and they pale against the Real Light that keeps the monsters at bay.
The terror is too great to be dispelled by Scripture, but Scripture tells the story that makes the faint footprints visible, of the One who walked this path before, showing that it can be done.
I’m no expert. I’m just a writer who happens to be dying, and who happens to be a Christian."

I can lay claim to the expertise of experience, but I'm hesitant to put it into a book. Aside from the fact that I don't have much energy for that sort of thing, the faith that has carried me through is 'uninformed', at least from an academic perspective.
I can write about the Grace that surrounds me and gives me both hope and purpose...but would this fly, spoken from a pulpit? I don't know.
I can write about why bad things happen to sort-of-ok people, but I don't have the rabbinical background of a Harold Kushner to make it stick. (Not to mention his personal experiene, watching his son die of progeria.)
And yet...the Gospels were not written by theologians. Matthew was a tax collector, Luke a physician.
Paul studied under the rabbi Gamaliel, and was broadly educated there in not only Judaism, but also classical tradition and philosophy (his writings show an influence by and something of an affection for the Stoics).
But after his Damascene road conversion, all that was prologue to something new.
I'm no Paul, but maybe what I am living is something new, as well.
Maybe it does belong in a book, because to learn that dying opens the door to living, that might just be worth handing on.
Your thoughts?
Dedicated to our dear, loyal reader Annie from the greatest Republic in the Union, here's Deep In The Heart Of Texas. Watch for the cattle dogs working, near the end. They're having a blast.

Please pardon my slow response to comments. I do my best, and your comments are really precious to me. Barb is answering many of them now. I'm running on fumes, if you don't mind a macho metaphor.

I'm grateful for the energy to have written this. I'm so glad Barbara's stepped in for many of my posts. I'm really not doing well at all.

Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Marley, the canine waif from Afghanistan, whom WE helped save, has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.

If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.


  1. (((((Andrew)))))

    I am so honored!
    And I was laughing and clapping along with the song.
    I'll show that clip to my third graders. (I'm in my 33rd year of teaching.)

    I read somewhere that Jesus deliberately called His followers from all walks of life so they could represent Everyman as a follower. Hence, the educated and the uneducated, the rough fisherman and the hated tax collector and the physician and the prostitute and even the betrayer. We are all called to HIm. And He loves us all.

    Annie in Texas

    1. ((((((Annie!)))))

      I'm so glad you liked it, and delighted that you'll be showing it to the kids. I was a teacher once, too.

      I love the take on Jesus' followers...that makes so much sense, and I'm delighted that you shared it.

  2. Would you consider sharing your testimony: how you came to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Your story sounds so interesting. And I love hearing how people came to the knowledge of the truth. <3

    1. Emily, I'll do that, in a future post. Thanks...I never really knew whether anyone would want to hear it or not.

  3. I hope some day God will heal you so you can write all those wonderful books. I think there's room for your 'take' on spiritual life. Some people would disagree, but that is to be expected. Others would be encouraged, and that is also to be expected. Experience has its place. Thanks for sharing. Interesting post. I like it when you share your considerings. God's best.

    1. Norma, my dear friend, thank you so much for this! I do hope that others will find my take useful. It's been a long road.

      Thank you so much for being here!

  4. Everybody is an expert in their own faith. So I consider you a full-blown expert, Andrew. Thanks for sharing your view of God from where you sit. That's valuable.

    1. Lisa, wow, I'm honoured! Thank you so much! :)

  5. You could compile all your posts here into a book. We all know it would be inspiring.

    1. Jan, that is perhaps what will happen. I'd like to make it more 'internally coherent', but I do want to get the words out there, for whoever might find them useful.

  6. The prerequisite? Just you and your life story experiences. They are more than enough to tell out the goodness of the Lord and hook readers with fascination and awe. Like the rest of us, Andrew, you are revealing a personal side and slice of trying to live a Christian life. It doesn't have to be perfect to be perfectly apt. Your words are a treasure to us all, especially those who are going through tough times themselves. It counts. Oh, boy, does it count! One day God will show just how much you blessed, inspired and encouraged others. Then tears will fall. Happy ones, of course..

    1. Joy, my gosh. I'm just overwhelmed by the grace in every word you've written, in the love-filled support you've given.

      Tears are falling now. Happy ones, grateful ones.