Tuesday, February 15, 2011

VBT# Steve Schaefer - Living in the Overlap

Readers, today's VBT# is Living in the Overlap , I was supposed to do a review on the book, but somehow my copy never arrived - damn postage , I'm sure that they have lost a few book parcels of mine.
Alas, thou readers - Never Fear as all is not lost as I bring forth for thy Phantom Paragrapher bloggers , a synopsis of the book and an Interview with the author behind Living in the Overlap - Steve Schaefer.

Living in the Overlap: How Jesus' Kingdom Proclamation Can Transform Your World

Synopsis : Living in the Overlap - Steve Schaefer - June 2010

How should we deal with our doubts?
What should we keep in mind when we pray for healing?
How can we share the gospel more effectively?

Steve Schaefer contends that when we understand Jesus’ central message—the kingdom of God—we are better equipped to handle such issues. The Old Testament prophets predicted the coming of God’s end-time kingdom. But the New Testament reveals a surprising twist--the kingdom arrives in two stages. The first stage arrived with Jesus’ first coming. The second stage will arrive at his second coming. So what happens in between?
Living in the Overlap clarifies a topic that many Christians find mysterious, exploring the challenges and benefits of living in a kingdom that is both “already” and “not yet.”
As Schaefer says, “We who live in the overlap are amphibious creatures, navigating two worlds simultaneously as we begin our transition from one to the other. We are Jed Clampetts, tasting the splendors of Beverly Hills without having lost our Ozark accents or our fondness for fried possum and crow gizzards. Like Jed, we should not expect a seamless transition.”
A unique feature of the book is The Kingdom Dartboard, a full-color chart that illustrates 18 major characteristics of the kingdom of God as predicted by the Old Testament prophets. The chart may be downloaded from this website for non-profit educational purposes or personal study.

Living in the Overlap offers strategies for successful kingdom living, tackling issues such as:

•Praying for healing
•Walking by faith
•Dealing with temptation
•Being used by God
•Loving others

If you desire a deeper understanding of Jesus’ kingdom message, and if you want to explore the kingdom’s implications for your life today, let this provocative and enlightening book be your guide.

                                                 Interview With the Author:

These are great questions! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this.

1) Tell us about your book Living in the Overlap?

Living in the Overlap is an exploration of Jesus’ central message--the kingdom of God--and its practical implications for us today.

2) What was the inspiration behind writing Living in the Overlap?

I got a shock when I took a New Testament course during my junior year of college. I discovered that although I had grown up in the church, I had no understanding of Jesus’ central message. I had assumed it was something like, “You must be born again.” But the course taught me that Jesus’ main message actually revolved around the already/not-yet reality of God’s kingdom.

And as years passed and I wrestled with issues like how to pray for healing, I began to realize that one of the keys to dealing with such issues is to understand Jesus’ kingdom proclamation. So when I heard other Christians admitting that they had a certain fuzziness about what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God, I thought there might be a place for a book that would explore this topic in a conversational style that would appeal to a lay readership.

3) In writing the book, what type of Christianity research did you have to complete?

Would you believe I spent fifteen years researching and writing (and rewriting!) the book? I studied the Old Testament prophets to understand the major characteristics predicted about God’s end-time kingdom. There are eighteen characteristics, depicted in a full-color chart in the book. I also combed the New Testament to better understand the fulfillment of these kingdom prophecies. So this involved reading many commentaries and other scholarly works, in addition to Scripture itself.

Furthermore I read scores of books searching for quotes and illustrations that would help make the subject matter clear and interesting.

4) Has your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family?

Yep! The book is filled with stories about my friends and family members dealing with challenges such as loving others, keeping our focus on the kingdom, and being used by God. In a way my friends and relatives are co-authors.

5) Did you experience writers block? If so, what did you do to get rid of it?

Yes, and it can be frustrating. Sometimes if I just changed my environment--going for a walk or running errands--a solution would come to me when I wasn’t even thinking about the manuscript.

But other times I realized that the block was a symptom that something was wrong with the manuscript. Maybe I needed to rethink the outline of a chapter, for example.

And sometimes if I was blocked, I’d set the actual writing of a new chapter aside and focus on other necessary tasks such as researching a new chapter or polishing a draft of another chapter.

6) What are you working on now?

For many years I’ve been designing an introductory Old Testament seminar, and I’m outlining a book that would be used in that seminar.

7) What is your favourite section/chapter in your book?

May I pick two? The first would be the chapter on praying for healing. I’m a big believer in the fact that God heals today in response to the prayers of his people. But I think there’s a lot of inaccurate and even dangerous teaching floating around on this topic, and it’s so important to approach it with a thoroughly biblical foundation.

The second is a passage in the chapter Being Used By God. It tells of a woman who became a Christian because of my Dad’s influence. They worked in the same office, and he had no idea of the impact his faithful daily Christian walk was having on her. Dad passed away from cancer last March, and I regard that passage as a tribute to him and as a small example of his legacy.

8) Had you previously written anything?

Living in the Overlap is my first book. Years ago I wrote some magazine and newspaper stories. But my career in broadcasting led me to focus more on scriptwriting short video features. In recent years, though, I’ve written less and instead have been more involved in helping to develop other people’s scripts. So writing the book allowed me to scratch an itch that isn’t being satisfied by my day job.

9) Were there any scenes that were cut in the editing process you wish had made it into the book?

Actually, no. One of the advantages of self-publishing is that you have the final say about what goes into the book. I had the privilege of working with some of Christian publishing’s most well-respected editors. But everyone has his or her unique viewpoint, and sometimes certain editors didn’t agree with each other. One editor strongly disliked an analogy that appeared at the end of the chapter about loving others. He cut it.

I respected his reasons for doing so. It’s a jarring and unconventional analogy. But after careful consideration I put it back in. I guess the readers will be the final judges of whether it was wise to do so.

I should add that this same editor cut two other long passages in the manuscript and, after initially being unhappy, I realized he was right. The manuscript is much stronger because of his contributions. So you have to be willing to “murder your darlings” and keep an open mind when working with your editor.

10) Can you give us one fact we might not know about Living in the Overlap? Something about the story itself or the writing process?

People who haven’t read the book might be surprised at the humor that pops up from time to time. Elizabeth Sherrill critiqued an excerpt of the manuscript at a writers’ conference and encouraged me to keep writing with what she called “a light touch.” Although the subject matter is serious, I’ve tried to make it enjoyable to read. (For example, your readers may want to check out the story about something embarrassing that happened to my mother. It’s in the Chapter Five excerpt at www.livingintheoverlap.com.)

11) How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer or did you have another career in mind ?

As a child I enjoyed creating stories and I think I always knew that I wanted a career in which writing would play a big part. After I became a Christian as a teenager I decided I wanted to write for Christian broadcasting. I wanted to spend my life pointing people toward something that was so meaningful to me. In college I took every writing course that was offered, including scriptwriting and journalism classes. And my first job out of college was to write short video spots and features for Christian broadcasting.

12) If you could have dinner with 3 people - dead or alive (anyone) who would they be and why ?

Charlie Chaplin, Inspector Clouseau, and Kermit the Frog. (I like to laugh at dinner. Serious conversations can take place at other times.)

13) What are you reading now and what genre do you tend to read?

I like to read theology books. N. T. Wright and Timothy Keller are two of my favorites. Right now I’m rereading Putting Jesus in His Place by Robert M. Bowman, Jr. and J. Ed Komoszewski. It shows the many--and sometimes subtle--ways the New Testament writers reveal Jesus to be God.

For a long time I was vaguely bothered by the fact that relatively few Bible passages explicitly call him God. God becoming man was such an earth-shattering event. It seemed to me that this event should be emphatically shouted from every page of the New Testament.

But Putting Jesus in His Place reveals the continuity between the way the Old Testament writers portray God and the way the New Testament writers portray Jesus--thus revealing that the New Testament writers saw him as God even when they didn’t spell it out all the time. In a culture where many people tend to see all religions as equally valid, it’s important to understand the utter uniqueness of Jesus.

14) Which author has inspired you most and why?

C. S. Lewis. I started reading him in college. I loved the way he would discuss complex issues in a way that was clear and even fun to read. He helped me see that it’s okay for Christians to use our brains, to ask hard questions.

15) What advice would you give aspiring authors?

I’d encourage aspiring writers to attend some writers conferences. I took advantage of several when I was writing the book. Getting critiques and advice from established writers and editors was invaluable.

16) As a Quotes Person I always like to ask To finish off, do you have a quote or poem that has stuck with you over the years and what is the story behind it?

Oswald Chambers said, “If you want to be of use to God, get rightly related to Jesus Christ, and He will make you of use unconsciously every moment you live.”

I think only eternity will reveal the tremendous good that has been done by people who just faithfully lived a life committed to Jesus without looking for rewards or results or recognition. Some of the people who have had the biggest impact on me are people who just lived the life.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent interview! Thanks for the read. I am in the middle of enjoying "Living in the Overlap" now.


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