O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


Ask Me Questions

posted by Jason Boyett

I know a lot of you are aspiring writers, so every once in awhile I like to dedicate a blog post to answering writer-type questions. Instead of pre-selecting the questions, though, I figured we’d just do this one on the fly. Ask me questions today in the comments, and I’ll do my best to reply to them.

We’ll see how it works.

The questions don’t have to be writing-related either. If you want to ask something in general, or theological, or about triathlons or the afterlife or breakdancing, then go right ahead. Unless it’s way too personal, I’ll spill the beans.

If you don’t ask any questions, this will be the worst blog post ever. So I’m counting on you.



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Amber

posted February 1, 2010 at 8:46 am


I'll bite.What's your writing process like? Do you have the entire book outlined before you sit down to write out a chapter? Do you just do it one chapter at a time? Do you have a bunch of random "thoughts" you try to mesh into a cohesive story? How does the final product come together?



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bondChristian

posted February 1, 2010 at 8:49 am


Wow, you nipped that one in the bud. I've done a few of these kinds of posts and not received any questions. AWKWARD.Here's my question: what crucial question about writing does no one ask you but you wish everyone did (and how would you answer it)?Thanks so much. I'm looking forward to reading all of these.-Marshall Jones Jr.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 8:58 am


@Amber:Depends on the book. The Pocket Guides sort of fit into a "template" anyway. I write those one chapter at a time, and the information from previous chapters feed into the other chapters.With the doubt book, I outlined with chapter titles and subjects. With O Me of Little Faith, for example, I knew ch. 4 would be titled "Reverse Bricklaying" and would be about my struggles with prayer, built around the spine suggested by the title.But I also have a lot of random thoughts and notes that I intended to fit into these chapters — I made notes for about two years prior to beginning that book — and the job of a good writer is to mesh all that randomness into something cohesive.Either way, it's one chapter at a time. I write the chapter, then I edit it, then I move on to the next chapter. Once all the chapters are finished, I go through about twice more with a full edit, before sending it to the publisher. (And then there are 3-5 rounds of editing/proofing after that!)



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:02 am


@bondChristianThe question: Will I be able to make it full-time as a writer?My answer: No. I've written 8 or 9 books now, have been published in national magazines, and have a small amount of name recognition and platform. But only in the last year have I been able to quit my "real" job and become a full-time freelancer, and even now my book/magazine writing is about 10 percent of my income. That's all. The rest is from advertising/marketing copywriting and graphic design.Unless you're super-famous, you hit the NYT bestseller list, you become a regular on the speaking circuit, or you have a spouse who works full-time to support you, you will probably not be able to make much of a living from writing income. I hate to be a dream-buster but that's the reality.



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SweetTea

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:18 am


I didn't realize that it was acceptable for Christians to not believe the Bible is 100% accurate in its translations and interpretations…I've always questioned how imperfect man could be a perfect interpreter…how did you arrive at the point where it was okay to have doubt or disbelief about the accuracy of the Bible and still have a passion for Jesus? Does this POV have any sort of official title?



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Anonymous

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:21 am


did you see 2012? what were your thoughts?



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E-manda

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:27 am


Well, shucks. This is a thoughtful post.I'm working on a book now and it's going very sloooowly. I'm passionate about the content and the intended audience but I side step into molasses when I think about the bigger picture.1. How do I get more traffic to my blog site now so that I can connect with more readers? 2. What are the steps in getting published? 3. So much of getting cyber shout-outs, RTs, link sharing seems to be who you know. How do I get to know these people and will they invite me to dinner?4. Would it be rude for me to order double desserts at our above-mentioned dinner?Here's to cake!Amanda Fisher



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:30 am


@anonymousDidn't see 2012, because it looked dumb. I always get annoyed at the movies that make you cheer for one person or family while forgetting that thousands of other people are dying. Plus, the whole world-ending-in-2012 thing is dumb, too. (Search my other posts for "2012" to read my perspective on that.)



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Scott

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:32 am


Well, you said I could ask any question, so I figured, go big or go home, right? Awesome stuff doesn't happen to people who don't act.Would you be interested in supporting my missionary work in Kazakhstan? I know that sounds ridiculous since you don't know me, but I don't know if you get asked that a lot. My blog's http://scottinkazakhstan.wordpress.com. I'm helping to plant a college student in a city of over 2 million with virtually nothing.Planning on buying your newest book when I come home this summer to raise more funds. Regardless, keep up the hilarity, on twitter and in your books. (My account is @graceisunfair.)



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:37 am


@SweetTea:Great question. The problem of inerrancy is a really complicated one philosophically, but I'll try to answer as clearly as I can.If belief in inerrancy is required for Christianity, then I have a problem. We all do. It's just clear to me that there are parts of the Bible that contradict each other. So either we can pick them out, one by one, and contort our brains to make them harmonize with each other (like deciding there must have been two cleansings of the temple rather than one, since the synoptic Gospels and John put them at different points in Jesus' ministry). And we do this every time we find a contradiction…which is a lot. Or we accept that a more primitive people using oral tradition in a more primitive age with far different journalistic customs could have gotten some stuff wrong. To me, abandoning inerrancy may make faith a struggle but is far more intellectually honest. I can't keep doing interpretive gymnastics to reconcile the texts. I tried it for a long time, but just got tired of it — there's too much. It's much simpler to apply Occam's razor and admit that the biblical writers got some stuff wrong. From that point, you have to decide whether or not you'll let that derail your faith. How MUCH did they get wrong?



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Tyson

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:39 am


So what is the going rate of a speaking engagement for an author that is best known for writing humorous, yet educational "guides" to various topics related to the Bible and Christianity?You know … in case I ever wanted to hire one such writer to speak at my church …Also, how much time do you spend writing. Is it like: Sit down to write at 8am and go strong until the next phase of your day begins. Or is it like: Spring out of bed at 2am when a sliver of inspiration hits you and keep pounding away til the ideas stop flowing???



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:41 am


@Emanda:1. How do I get more traffic to my blog site now so that I can connect with more readers?There are lots of "how to" articles online to give you better tips than I can, so I'll tell you the only thing I know: write good content, and then do what you can to make sure people know about it. Twitter, commenting, asking for interviews, etc.2. What are the steps in getting published?a. build a platformb. write something publishablec. make contacts in the industryd. get an agente. get luckyHonesty: It's hard to get published.3. So much of getting cyber shout-outs, RTs, link sharing seems to be who you know. How do I get to know these people and will they invite me to dinner?You're doing it now. Leave comments, interact on Twitter, offer to do interviews to publicize books or blogs. Not sure if they'll invite you to dinner, though. Depends on where you live and how much you eat.4. Would it be rude for me to order double desserts at our above-mentioned dinner?Not if you're paying…or sharing.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:43 am


@Scott:Thanks for asking and I appreciate your boldness. My family already supports a number of ministries, sponsored children, organizations, etc. Each of these are orgs we're already connected to and volunteer for. (I also do a lot of pro bono writing and design work for these orgs.) So, no, I can't support you because I prefer to support orgs/people I know directly. But I'm thrilled that you asked. Best of luck.



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Anonymous

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:44 am


in your answer to @SweetTea, isn't that similar to what happened to bart ehrman who i believe is no longer a christian? do you fear you may run the risk of going down that same road and inevitably abandoning christianity?



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:47 am


@Tyson:My speaking rate totally depends on the number of sessions, days away from my family, and what else is expected of me at an event. So it varies. Contact me directly or get in touch with my speaking management (see contact info on the "Speaking" page) and we can get you a more specific number.As for how much time I spend writing, I carve out a certain amount of time for it and and then pound it out during that time period. When I'm working on a book, it's generally 6am until my kids wake up, and 10 pm to midnight, every day. Except I sleep in on Sundays.



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Tyson

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:50 am


Thanx! I will look into that. You seriously write all this stuff for 2 or so hours in the morning and 2 or so more hours at night???That amazes me!



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 9:52 am


in your answer to @SweetTea, isn't that similar to what happened to bart ehrman who i believe is no longer a christian? do you fear you may run the risk of going down that same road and inevitably abandoning christianity?Bart Ehrman maintained his Christianity after letting go of his belief in inerrancy. He didn't abandon his Christian faith until he was unable to reconcile his faith in God with the problem of evil. MANY Christians do not believe in an error-free Bible.Am I running a risk, though? Possibly. But you can't unring a bell. When I try to harmonize the Gospels so there are no mistakes, I am no longer able to do so. I can't ignore that stuff and pretend it's not there. So should I lie about those problems by sweeping them under the rug in order to maintain a belief in inerrancy? Or is it better to be honest with myself — and God — and follow Jesus the best I can despite my uncertainty?The truth should be able to stand up to honest questioning, shouldn't it?



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swimsutra

posted February 1, 2010 at 10:18 am


Do you think a person can be a Christian and still read religious texts and consider other religious truths? Your discussion on Bart Ehrman's piqued this question a bit.Cheers!



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 10:22 am


@swimsutraGreat name! Truth is truth wherever you find it, so yes I believe you can be a Christian but still read other religious texts and acknowledge other religious truths. If Jesus is the way, the truth and the life — as he said — then all truth belongs to him. Everything that affirms life affirms him. So I don't think we have to be afraid of other religions. In fact, we can learn from them, even if we ultimately reject their world view or conclusions. To deny that there's anything good in them is to deny grace.



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Tyson

posted February 1, 2010 at 10:35 am


Couldn't agree more with your thoughts on learning from other religions, viewpoints, etc.I shared this with my youth Sunday School class yesterday:"Wisdom doesn't always come to us wrapped up in a leather cover on onion skin paper. Sometimes we will find wisdom in things outside or our relationship with God, but we can only recognize that wisdom and put it to valuable use in our lives when we view the world around us through a Jesus-filter."



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Janna

posted February 1, 2010 at 11:01 am


I'm writing an article for a local magazine and they want me to interview three different families dealing with the article topic and I don't know how to find them. It was simple to find professionals to interview. How do you find people to interview for your articles? I am, of course, on a tight deadline.THANKS!



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Real Estate Marketer

posted February 1, 2010 at 11:06 am


Jason,Have you seen any well-written blogs targeted to Christian men? I know of many fine sites which seem gender-neutral (like yours), and others which seem targeted to the ladies. The few I've seen that were men-focused were rather disappointing.Dave



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 11:16 am


@janna:I always work my online social networks: Facebook, Twitter, email contacts. Between those places, you can almost always find someone.Good luck!



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 11:19 am


@Real Estate Marketer Dave:Any well-written blogs targeted to Christian men? I'm sure there are some, but I don't follow any specifically written for men. Though you might try Prayers for Blowouts, which was created by my buddy Bryan Allain. It's about sports and isn't really focused on men. But, then again, it's about sports. And it's written by guys. So I'm guessing most of its readers are men.http://prayersforblowouts.com



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Anonymous

posted February 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm


i read that you are a drummer. what kind of kit do you have? how long you been drumming? i just started (at 27 lol) any beginner advice?



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Scott

posted February 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm


Hey Jason, I've recently fell in love with writing. I have no experience other than having a blog. I lean towards humor but don't really know what to write other than 800 word blog posts. I'd like to do more, but don't know what. I feel at lost as what to do next. How do you come up with concepts to write about? Do all humor writers only write memoirs, essays, and pocket guides? Or do you know of any good humor novels?



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Rachel H. Evansq

posted February 1, 2010 at 12:24 pm


Jason, I'm thinking of doing the same question-and-answer thing on my blog. What do you think? How's it going so far?



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm


i read that you are a drummer. what kind of kit do you have? how long you been drumming? i just started (at 27 lol) any beginner advice?I play a Yamaha kit. Pretty basic kit. Snare and three toms plus kick, high-hat and two cymbals. I've been playing for about 10 years, and only started because the guy who used to play for our praise band left. I volunteered to learn how to play, and then taught myself. So I have no advice to give, other than "try to stay on rhythm."



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm


How do you come up with concepts to write about? Do all humor writers only write memoirs, essays, and pocket guides? Or do you know of any good humor novels?Chris Moore writes great humor novels, but I don't read a lot of humor. I come up with concepts as I think about them — a combination of what sells (important), what I can personally write about well (no quantum physics books for me), and what I'm interested in.Blogs are great places to write humor. Most humor writers are probably drawn more to personal essays/memoirs — self-deprecation is pretty easy — but it works in a variety of genres.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm


@rachelheldevansIt's fun — some great questions so far — but it takes a lot of time! Do it only if you're prepared to spend a whole day answering questions.(No, I'm not complaining. Keep the questions coming.)I need a better commenting format, though. This linear approach disconnects the questions from the answers.



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Tess Mallory

posted February 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm


Hi Jason! When you speak places, what do you talk about? Also…I'd love to know your view on the God of the Old Testament Vs God the Father that Jesus presented in the New Testament? Thanks!



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Nicodemus at Nite

posted February 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm


Have you ever doubted your salvation? Not just for a couple of seconds but for like a year. It's something I'm going through and I want to be sure. I don't want to be one of those people who stand before God and they're seriously shocked they aren't getting in heaven despite their laundry list of what they did in His name.nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com



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Anonymous

posted February 1, 2010 at 1:58 pm


what are your views on calvinism vs. arminianism (hope i spelled that right)? what side to you learn more towards?



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm


@Nicodemus:I doubted my salvation from the age of 9 all the way until I was in college. Seriously. Often. That childhood doubt of my youth turned into the larger doubts of my adulthood. There's a whole chapter in O Me of Little Faith about my salvation experience and the almost-immediate doubting that accompanied it.I don't doubt my salvation any more…I've just moved on to other kinds of doubt.So, short answer: Yes. I doubted a LOT.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm


@Tess:When you speak places, what do you talk about?Whatever the place wants me to talk about. Anything in my books, if requested. In the coming year, I'd love to cover stuff from my upcoming book — about dealing with spiritual doubt, living with doubt, understanding doubt and even embracing it as a necessary part of faith.—-Also…I'd love to know your view on the God of the Old Testament Vs God the Father that Jesus presented in the New Testament? Oooh. That's a hard one, and I really struggle with that. I stop short of Marcionism, which tried to separate the teachings of Christ from the actions of the Old Testament Yahweh (Marcion ended up rejecting the OT God). I'm not there, but I do struggle to reconcile the two. I suspect a lot of the "hard" aspects of the OT God are due to anthropomorphizing or inaccurate reporting or my own ignorance — but Yahweh is definitely described in unattractive ways when viewed from my (sinful, ignorant) 21st century perspective. A lot of the time I just ignore that stuff and focus on Jesus, who hopefully offers the more accurate perspective on God.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm


what are your views on calvinism vs. arminianism (hope i spelled that right)? what side to you learn more towards?Here's where I'm going to get into trouble, as it seems discussions on calvinism always bring out the hate!I don't want to get into the specifics — it's too complicated a doctrine — so here's where I come down: There clearly are passages in the Bible that support the Calvinistic view on predestination, even double predestination (in that God predestines people for hell). That said, you can also make a biblical case for freedom and an "open" future — just look at all the verses in the Old Testament in which God appears to change his mind or show regret. Both can be supported biblically. But as a logical, pastorally minded human being, I hope Arminiamism to be true instead of Calvinism. Theologically, that's the one I WANT to be true.But biblically, there seems to be more support for the other side. So what do I do? I doubt. I experience uncertainty. And I live according to the things I know for sure.



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Caroline

posted February 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm


All right, Jason. Here's one:How did you get yourself into the discipline of writing every day? Do you pre-schedule a "writing" time? Is there a trick you use to help cement this discipline into your daily routine? Do you reward yourself with cookies or Facebook or a walk or just with a job well done?I have a hard time with this. Though I love to write, I rarely have the same time available each day to write. It'd have to be either early in the morning or right before bed, both times at which I am zonked. Any wisdom?



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm


@carolineHow did you get yourself into the discipline of writing every day? I would be a terrible self-help guru, because my answer to the above question is: you just do it.If it needs to be done, you do it.If you decide to do it, then you do it.No rewards, tricks, or anything needed. Discipline means you do what needs to be done, and you delay the gratification.But, then again, I usually have a manuscript deadline hanging over my head. Those are great motivators.But my first book — an unpublished novel — I wrote without a deadline, because it was on spec. Has never been published. I worked almost every day on it because it was a goal I set for myself and I wanted to accomplish my goal. That, in itself, is enough of a motivator for me.But I think self-discipline comes pretty naturally for me. I'm discovering this isn't always the case for everyone.



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Anonymous

posted February 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm


let's assume calvinism is true. would that mean even our sin is ordained/predestined? in other words if you struggle with a certain sin as a christian, does that mean God has predestined that?



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm


let's assume calvinism is true. would that mean even our sin is ordained/predestined? in other words if you struggle with a certain sin as a christian, does that mean God has predestined that?See, that's where Calvinism gets tricky. Because, as a fan of logical consistency, I think you have to apply predestination either everywhere or nowhere. So if God predestined you to hell, then in a linear line that goes back all the way to original sin, doesn't he also have to have been some sort of first cause in that sin? If not in actively "causing" sin, at least in allowing it to enter the picture, and in allowing you to pursue it whether it hurts you or not.So if I allow a baby to crawl into the street and the child gets hit by a car — whether I was the agent of death or not — am I not then still guilty of that baby's death, because my inactivity allowed it? This is where I struggle with the idea of predestination, and hope that it's not true. Because if it is, then I run into the same problem reconciling a just, loving God with the problem of evil. (The Bart Ehrman problem, if you will.) Because somewhere, back at the beginning, God knew it was going to happen but allowed it anyway.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm


Wow. I feel like I'm stepping out of the closet here on a lot of stuff. The immediacy of typing in these answers is giving you the unedited, off-the-cuff Jason.Not sure whether that's good or bad. But it's fun!:)



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Brenton Evans

posted February 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm


I have a few questions:1. Why doesn't your blogger avatar match your twitter avatar? 2. When I mentioned avatar in my previous question, did you immediately think of James Cameron's movie?3. Will you ever write a "Pocket Guide to Words with Friends" book?



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Greyshadows

posted February 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm


I've been thinking & struggling with this idea a lot: Do you believe in hell?



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm


@brenton1. Why doesn't your blogger avatar match your twitter avatar?Because my belief in logical consistency does not apply to online social networking.2. When I mentioned avatar in my previous question, did you immediately think of James Cameron's movie?Yes. In fact, I thought of myself as a blue-skinned Na'vi, flying a whimsically colored dragon-pterodactyl thingy.3. Will you ever write a "Pocket Guide to Words with Friends" book?Only if I end up defeating you in our best-of-121-game match, in which we're currently tied.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm


@greyshadowsDo you believe in hell?Yikes. That's a hard question for me to answer, so I'll go by the numbers. 1. If hell exists, then it doesn't matter whether I believe in it or not.2. A lot of people think you're suspect if you even use the phrase "If hell exists."3. Jesus very clearly believed in hell. As a follower of Jesus, I'm supposed to believe what he believed, right?4. The doctrinal history of hell, however, is far more complicated than most Christians are aware of, especially when it comes to what the Old Testament teaches about Satan, sheol, etc. Most of what we know about hell didn't enter Jewish beliefs until around the time of the Persian exile, and it matches up pretty closely to Zoroastrian (i.e. Persian) concepts of dualism and the afterlife. Uncomfortably close.5. I talk about this a lot in O Me of Little Faith. The idea of Hell is a pretty big factor in a lot of my spiritual doubt.6. Most of what we THINK we know about hell as a place of eternal conscious torment can be tied directly back to Dante and popular medieval theology…more so than to what the Bible says.7. I don't know. Honestly. I don't WANT to believe in hell as a place of eternal conscious torment — who WANTS that kind of place to exist anyway? — but the New Testament clearly teaches that hell exists in some form or fashion.Sigh.



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Matt @ The Church of No People

posted February 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm


Hey Jason, have you ever thought you had a totally awesome idea for a book that just hit you like a bolt of lightning, and you know everyone will love it, only you discover that there's already been, like, three other similar books written? How do you come up with 'original' ideas?



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm


@Matt:In 2006, I pitched a book to Relevant that would involve me reading through the complete Bible in a year, in the King James, and writing about what I discovered as I went along. Sort of a "revisiting the Bible" thing.Within a week of that pitch (which they turned down), I discovered that Slate's David Plotz had started a blog doing just that about the Old Testament (from his perspective having been raised Jewish). He then turned that blog into a very popular book called Good Book, about his year spent reading the Bible.It was a great book.



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Bryan Allain

posted February 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm


Please give us a ballpark estimate of how many book ideas you have in your head right now that fall under each category:the I REALLY THINK THIS COULD BE MY NEXT BOOK categorythe THAT'S A BOOK I'D LIKE TO WRITE AND POSSIBLY WILL SOMEDAY categorythe I WOULD LOVE TO WRITE THAT BOOK BUT I DOUBT IT WILL HAPPEN categoryor maybe use actual categories that you have.ps…thanks for the shout-out for PFB, but it's dying a slow death. I might call Kevorkian soon.



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Scott

posted February 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm


(I'm on my phone so pardon me if Blogger already now has threaded comments built-in…)As for answering questions next time, if you don't want to go outside the Blogger system, check this out:http://shamsmi.blogspot.com/2008/07/threaded-comments-in-blogger.html



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nathan

posted February 1, 2010 at 8:05 pm


I hope I'm not coming to the party too late. . . I have three questions:1. What's your opinion on the development of sexual orientation (biological, genetic, environmental)?2. Do you believe monogamous, gay relationships are an option for followers of Christ? 3. Does your view on homosexuality relate to your opinions regarding Biblical inerrancy (and if so, how)?



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 8:21 pm


@BryanPlease give us a ballpark estimate of how many book ideas you have in your head right now that fall under each category:the I REALLY THINK THIS COULD BE MY NEXT BOOK categoryZero. Honestly, I have no idea what my next book will be. None. I do have some ideas for the next Pocket Guides but am waiting to see if the series gets extended.the THAT'S A BOOK I'D LIKE TO WRITE AND POSSIBLY WILL SOMEDAY categoryThree ideas. But I'm not explaining them further because David Plotz might steal them. (See answer above.)the I WOULD LOVE TO WRITE THAT BOOK BUT I DOUBT IT WILL HAPPEN categoryZero. I've learned not to doubt anything…unless the doubting process leads to a book idea. See "O Me of Little Faith."



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 8:51 pm


@Nathan:1. What's your opinion on the development of sexual orientation (biological, genetic, environmental)?It's pretty clear to me that all three of those things contribute to sexual orientation in some fashion. I know it's a hot-button issue, but I think all of us can identify some kid from our past who, now that we can look back at history, seemed gay from the get-go. Contrary to what a lot of conservatives like to believe, I'd guess most gay people REALIZE they are gay rather than CHOOSE to be gay.2. Do you believe monogamous, gay relationships are an option for followers of Christ?I think monogamous relationships are always preferable, regardless of orientation. And, yes, I'm talking to you, biblical Patriarchs with all your concubines. If someone is oriented toward same-sex behavior, I would certainly rather see them in a loving, committed relationship than the opposite of that. Of course, some Christians will argue that, even so, the best option is for a gay follower of Christ to remain celibate. But I have to ask: if that were my situation, would I be willing to remain celibate for a lifetime? The answer is no, especially if I fall in love with someone. If I can't hold myself to the same standard, then I won't hold you to it, either. That's hypocritical.3. Does your view on homosexuality relate to your opinions regarding Biblical inerrancy (and if so, how)?Not really. It has more to do with my commitment to logical consistency. Homosexual relations are forbidden in the Bible, three times in the OT and once in the NT. That's four times total, and all four can be explained away as forbidding a particular kind of homosexuality (pederasty, or pagan rituals) but do not refer at all to the loving, committed homosexual relationship we think of today. In many circles, this is highly debatable, of course, but it isn't the point. What IS the point is this: the Bible is very clear that divorce is sinful. Not just a sinful act, but results in a sinful lifestyle (divorce + remarriage results in adultery, according to the math of Jesus). So until the last couple of decades, divorced people were pretty much NOT accepted in churches. It was a stigma.Today is different. We have progressed, grace has taken over, and we worship side-by-side with a bunch of divorcees. No one hardly thinks twice about it anymore. Do we love divorce? Not in all cases, but we understand that it happens and we extend grace.So if you DO think homosexual relationships are sinful — for example, if you refuse to let a gay person marry in your church — then logical consistency requires you to also forbid a remarriage between divorced people. Right? Because the Bible is clear about divorce. MUCH more clear about the sin of divorce than about the sin of homosexuality.The Bible is also clear about greed. If you refuse to serve communion to a gay person because of his homosexual orientation, but you have no trouble serving a greedy man who exploits others to support his lavish lifestyle — and trust me, this happens in conservative churches every Sunday — then you are being hypocritical again when it comes to sin. Greed is clearly sinful. Jesus spoke against greed every other breath (but he never mentions homosexuality). Either treat them all as sins, or treat everyone with grace. If you believe the Bible, YOU CAN'T DO BOTH WITHOUT BEING HYPOCRITICAL.Jesus is explicit when it comes to forbidding greed and divorce. Jesus never mentions homosexuality, and the Bible as a whole hits it only glancingly. Why, then, have we elevated gayness to be a monster sin? THAT is wrong.Either way, regardless of your theology, I always think it's best to be wrong because you offer too much grace than too much judgment. If I'm wrong, let me be wrong because I showed too much love and understanding, not because I didn't condemn enough.There. I'm out of the closet.



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Travis Thompson

posted February 1, 2010 at 11:22 pm


Definitely not the worst blog post ever.I appreciate your explanation of Biblical inerrancy. How do you apply that to old testament? Would you say that stuff like the garden of Eden, Noah's ark and the tower of Babel were probably only mythical? If so where do you draw the line between what is myth and what is actual fact?



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Anonymous

posted February 1, 2010 at 11:22 pm


Hi Jason,Earilier you discussed your views on Hell. Now lets move on to Heaven. I'm curious to your responses:1) Does Heaven allow free will of any sort even the choice of sinning? If one can not sin, then where's the freewill? If one can sin, does this mean that soul is kicked out when any sort of sin occurs? 2) How can someone enjoy Heaven, knowing that while one has eternal bliss there are people experiencing eternal suffering (not only strangers, but friends and family members who for whatever reasons never accepted Christ into their lives at the time of death)?3) Is Heaven an exclusive Christian club? Why or why not? If so, do Catholics and JWs and Mormons and all stripes of Protestents end up in Heaven? If not, then does that mean Muslims, Jews and Hindus (etc.) also make it to heaven even though they don't accept the divinity of Christ?- Fastthumbs



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Jason Boyett

posted February 1, 2010 at 11:45 pm


OK, after these questions from Travis and Fastthumbs, I've got to shut the thread down. You can continue to discuss any of the questions here — and there have been some great ones — but I can't commit to answering them all. It's been fun…but time-consuming. Thanks everyone.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 2, 2010 at 12:00 am


@travis:How do you apply inerrancy to old testament? Would you say that stuff like the garden of Eden, Noah's ark and the tower of Babel were probably only mythical? If so where do you draw the line between what is myth and what is actual fact?Honestly, Travis, I don't know. For one thing, I'm pretty sure the ancients didn't view their stories and texts like we do today, with our ideas of journalism and history and rationality. They were stories and myths and legends AND they were true. All at the same time.So the Garden of Eden story explained something true — that God created the world, that sin entered the world, and that selfish choices screwed it all up. That makes sense whether or not Adam and Eve were "real" figures of history, at the base of the family tree. The Tower of Babel story makes a tidy point about races and languages and is true, whether or not it's historically accurate. But I just don't know. When you think too long about those stories — looking at them from outside a faith perspective — they almost seem TOO tidy, like the Greek myths.But the things they point to are true. C.S. Lewis called them "true myths." The problem we have is that the New Testament authors, including Jesus, seemed to view them as more than truthy origin stories. So they've got to be more than myths. But, then again, there's too much weirdness going on with the Eden story — major chronological discrepancies between Genesis 1, 2 and 3; major differences in tone and language — for me to pretend that everything there is literal truth. So it's got to be something else…and something more…and even something greater than just a chronology of events.Which is a long answer to say what I could accomplish in far fewer words: I don't know. No beating around that fact.I loved dinosaurs when I was a kid. LOVED them. I read books and obsessed over dinosaurs until the age of 7 or 8. When I was four I used to tell people I wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up. One of the first crises of faith I remember was when I was a kid, and I realized that dinosaurs didn't fit into the Garden of Eden story. When were they created? And when I asked the questions of my parents and teachers, their answers about how a day could be like 1000 years to God…well, that didn't satisfy me. We were talking millions of years and real, live fossils.I'm still trying to fit the dinosaurs in. I am still not satisfied with the answers.



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Jason Boyett

posted February 2, 2010 at 6:42 am


@Fastthumbs1) Does Heaven allow free will of any sort even the choice of sinning? If one can not sin, then where's the freewill? If one can sin, does this mean that soul is kicked out when any sort of sin occurs?First, almost anything I say about heaven is conjecture, because other than a few gauzy details, the Bible doesn't say much about it. And I'm not the kind of person to look to popular culture for details about heaven. So you're asking me to imagine stuff, and I don't see the point of that…although I do recognize that this questions is the kind of question meant to trip Christians up by painting themselves into a logical corner. So I see what you're doing. :)Can you sin in heaven? I don't know. My understanding is that the one major characteristic of heaven is that it is a place overwhelmed by God's presence. Is sin possible in God's presence? I'd think not. But if sin is not possible, then is free choice possible in God's presence? Again, I don't know.Is this a cop-out answer? I guess. Only if honesty is a cop-out.2) How can someone enjoy Heaven, knowing that while one has eternal bliss there are people experiencing eternal suffering (not only strangers, but friends and family members who for whatever reasons never accepted Christ into their lives at the time of death)?That's a legitimate question that, I promise you, most Christians never think about. The Bible says that, in heaven, pain and sadness will be no more. Which sounds great to me, but you're right: if hell is real — as a conscious torture realm — and if people in heaven are still aware of decisions made on earth, then how can we sit around enjoying ourselves when friends and family are being burned to death?Again: I don't know.3) Is Heaven an exclusive Christian club? Why or why not? If so, do Catholics and JWs and Mormons and all stripes of Protestents end up in Heaven? If not, then does that mean Muslims, Jews and Hindus (etc.) also make it to heaven even though they don't accept the divinity of Christ?Based on the Bible, I have always suspected that a lot of Christians are going to be surprised who they find in heaven. Jesus makes it pretty clear that the people you expect to see there WON'T be there, and the people who do end up there are the last ones you'd suspect. I am continually surprised by the wideness of God's mercy, so I won't be surprised to see heaven populated by people I didn't think should have made the cut.That's all the speculating I'll do. I refuse to limit the extent of God's grace or the breadth of salvation.



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Gordie

posted February 2, 2010 at 8:13 am


Jason wrote: That's all the speculating I'll do. I refuse to limit the extent of God's grace or the breadth of salvation.You rock.



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Tess Mallory

posted February 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm


Jason — I just had to come back here and read the posts I missed, and in doing so, I found your post on homosexuality. I just want to stand up and applaud your words and your honesty! I'm not gay, but I've had many gay friends over the years, and your stand on this is the one I've come to also. All sin is equal, but we (Christians) have singled out the gay population as the Numero Uno Evil Doers. We are all Evil Doers. The grace of Christ, the blood He shed, is what covers all our sins. ALL OUR SINS. You, Mr. Boyett, are profound.



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Sylvia

posted May 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm


Genesis 29
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
I give every green plant for food.” Does this imply that we should be vegetarians.
30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it, but does not say we should eat of them.



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