Today I’m very happy to announce my next major writing project, what I think is the next logical step in a progression of books on my favorite Christian tradition:
My co-author Mark Pattie and I are due to deliver the manuscript for Hope for Better Times: Pietism and the Future of Christianity to InterVarsity Press by the end of October 2016. So hopefully you’ll be able to read it by mid-2017!
Of course, it’s exciting anytime anyone wants to publish your book. But I’m especially tickled about Hope for Better Times for three reasons:
1. It’s the Pietism book I can really recommend to everyone.
Now, people have been incredibly supportive of my two previous Pietism projects. Even if they found The Pietist Impulse in Christianity (2011) too eclectic or academic, my family and friends were too happy for me to say so. And if The Pietist Vision of Christian Higher Education (2015) didn’t exactly address a topic of immediate relevance to them, even acquaintances at church still found a chapter or two to like.
With this book, Mark and I have the chance to recommend Pietism to the widest possible audience. While it draws on resources from the past, let me stress that Hope for Better Times is not a history. Instead, it is meant to address problems and suggest possibilities for Christianity today and in the years to come. Though short in length (maybe 130 pages or so), it will touch on everything from the Bible to prayer, preaching to education, the common priesthood to the common good.
No doubt I’ll be sharing pieces of the project here as it comes together, but to get a sense of what we’re after, here’s part of our pitch to IVP:
Rooted in a conviction that the God of the Resurrection is making all things new, Pietism holds out hope for the renewal of individuals, of the church, and of the world.
With its emphasis on the integrated, all-encompassing nature of Jesus’ call and the gift of his spirit, Pietism offers Christians a faith that connects meaningfully and decisively with the head, the heart, and the hands. With its conviction that our shared mission trumps doctrinal disputes, Pietism reminds Christians that the Church’s unity is its first and best form of witness. With its commitment to make faith active in love, Pietism encourages Christians wearied by culture wars and frightened by secularization to serve the world — not to rule, mimic, or withdraw from it.
Hopefully you’ll be as intrigued as the publisher.
2. It’s a chance to work with IVP again.
Speaking of, I’m honored that InterVarsity Press would take a second shot on me, and grateful for David Congdon’s advocacy on our behalf. I had an excellent experience with IVP on the Pietist Vision book, and I can’t imagine a better fit for our book than a publisher whose “identity is rooted in our affections for and allegiance to God,” a publisher that “[aims] for integration of the whole person—our hearts tutored by truth, our minds shaped by godly affections, our bodies and souls surrendered with joy to God’s good purposes.”
3. I get to write it with a friend of mine.
I’ve been thinking about this project for over a year now, but things didn’t really take off until I got the idea of asking Mark to write the book with me. Excited as I am by the topic, I’m also eager to work with a good friend — and to introduce one of the best preachers and most prayerful people I know to a much wider audience.
While the book itself won’t be out for more than a year, we’re going to give you a chance to preview our work — and to help shape it — starting next month. Stay tuned for that announcement, coming Thursday!