[Note: Some time ago I wrote five  texts that I thought to collect together as a unified work, and so I would like to share it with you all. The whole work can be found here: Compendia.]
How does one go about writing a book? For most people, writing a book is something that they aspire to do someday. You will see such people chatting with others in cafes or huddled in break rooms with colleagues that they hope to write such a such a book someday. Maybe they have a topic in mind that they want to write about but think the task to be too daunting. Once they get around to actually writing a book rather than stating that they want to write a book, though, they often find that if they have the skill and the tenacity to write one book that they end up writing more than one book because the effort is contagious and inspiring. Once one has released enough of one’s internal drive to express oneself to have one book, it is all too easy to keep writing, since the more one says the more there is to say about what one has written, or to say about things that one uncovered while researching what one has written, or more to say because one has gotten in the habit of writing and being creatures of habit we generally wish to continue that which we are already doing, especially if it gives us pleasure or some sense of accomplishment.
As a result, many of us find that we end up writing books by accident. The historian David McCullough, for example, wrote a long and excellent and award-winning biography on the life of that grouchy but decent second president of the United States, John Adams. In the course of researching that life, he had enough material to write another book on the events of 1776 that led to the declaration of independence because to research John Adams was to research the lives of those who interacted with and affected John Adams, including such figures as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams’ articulate wife Abigail and many others. Once I fancied to collect the sermonette and sermon messages I had written, thinking it would be a short pamphlet-sized collection and found that it ended up being some 300 pages in length, quite a larger collection of writing than I had originally realized to be the case. Thinking to make a booklet of my writing and preserve it for posterity I found that I was the author of a book of sermonette and sermon messages, quite contrary to my expectations.
In this case, this particular work was inspired by a similarly random phenomenon. I had finished reading and reviewing an anthology of the poetry of the late William Stafford, a poet whose work I particularly enjoy and which has been particularly inspirational in my own poetry writing. In thinking about the compilation of his works I was struck by the fact that prolific writers often have enough material that one can easily assemble whole books from those materials without much trouble, so that a large degree of writing creates even more writing. I thought of a series of writings that I had written in late 2015 that had been divided into five (very large) blog posts and pondered that these materials might be a large enough collection for a book, and when I put them together I found that they were almost 50,000 words, a good size for a small book such as this one on a small set of interrelated subjects upon which I had written compendia. And so, given the fact that these works were both small in number, large in size, and tightly organized in sharing a genre as well as sharing a common thematic focus, I thought it would be worthwhile to put the posts together and share them with the world at large as a unified whole. Perhaps it is an unintentional unified whole, but it is a unified whole nonetheless.
Despite my wish to keep this introduction short, I would like to comment at least a little bit about the genre of compendium that these five short works are part of. As I note in my acknowledgements section (see below), the Compenium is a genre of nonfiction writing I found out about as a result of reading the Compendium of Ancient History from the late theologian Herman Hoeh. This writer had been an instructor of some note at the now-defunct religious organization of the now-defunct church where I spent the first thirteen-odd years of my life. What one will find below is a work that makes few pretensions to originality and largely consists of passages taken from the Bible relating to the Sabbath, Holy Days, as well as Jesus’ interactions with outsiders (in three parts) with some brief commentary about those passages. The work is therefore less a work of creativity on my part rather than a reference material that is designed to be of use. The first of these compendia was written thanks to a query from someone I knew in Southeast Asia who wanted to be able to knowingly discuss the Holy Days in a religious debate with some Seventh Day Adventists who share our practice of worshiping on the Sabbath but do not share our commitment to assembling on the Holy Days as per the command of God in Leviticus 23. The three compendia relating to the interactions of Jesus Christ with outsiders was prompted by the now retired pastor of the congregation I attend in Portland, Oregon, since I am unwilling to reject any assignment that may result in some insight as well as a large amount of writing. The fifth and final compendia included here was done on my part to serve as a personal reference for my own writing on the importance of the Sabbath in the Book of Acts as a refutation of the sundaykeeping practices of many professed Christians. I hope these various but related works may be of good use to you, in whose hands I place my works.
April 12, 2018
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