Korean translation of Down in the River to Pray

John Mark Hicks, one of my seminary professors, a good friend and co-author of Down in the River to Pray: Revisioning Baptism as God’s Transforming Work, just emailed me this morning to say he hopes I didn’t mind if he wrote the preface for a Korean translation.

I’m very happy to hear about the Korean translation and grateful to those funding it, publishing and promoting the book. May it produce kingdom fruit.

I would think translating a book like ours would be very tedious. Writing it came with much prayer and fasting . . . and re-writing. Leonard Allen is my editor and friend, and he helped me work through draft after draft. And as much as I ripped JM for any hyper-theologese, he would rip me for my inattention to theological precision. I think we’re saved by/through/in/because/for grace through/by/in/heretofore/ faith . . . but apparently the placement of those darn prepositions matters, so I’d go back to write more closely what Paul said, what sound theology would have me write.

Writing River was painstaking. My training is in journalism and theology, and those two things ought to serve writing well, but writing about such a big sacred cow in Churches of Christ and knowing those things would go far and wide was fairly new to me at the time. I was pretty engrossed. My family and co-workers noticed and told me about it as needed, and I appreciate that. I was in over my head in some ways.

Writing with John Mark was a great honor, but I had been his student! Still, I wouldn’t trade that experience or time for anything (uh, well, maybe if all that prayer and fasting and 18 months writing instead produced fiction that the NY Times called “the best novel in the English language” I’d have to think hard about that :-).

But when I hear of people who read our book and are set free from legalism, from line-drawing, and they launch a new journey in Christ . . . I feel our paths are meeting on the way to Jesus, and I’m set free again.