“Embracing the Gray” a book writing adventure comes to an end

As many of you know I have been on this angst ridden journey of trying to write a book.  This month, along with my time as co-host of God Complex Radio, I have decided to set aside this particular adventure.  I will never say never, but at this point, I’m done.   I have realized a few things, none of which in themselves have curtailed my journey, but cumulatively have spoken a word of “stop” to my authoring aspirations.

  • I love the IDEA of being a published author.  Who wouldn’t love to be a published author?  What a great accomplishment to be published by whomever, to have folks read your words in the medium and lets face it, it feels pretty good. The IDEA of being included with some of my dear friends who have accomplished feat this warms my soul, but it does not get the words written.  I am simply not passionate or disciplined enough to actually finish the dang thing and I think listening to the lack of passion is important.
  • I can write words, but not sure there is any meaning – There are about 25,000 unedited words sitting in a document that I have not really touched since mid-February.  Sure that’s a good deal of content and one would think that getting that far would be motivation enough, but alas . . . I just went back and read a bunch of it and I am simply not convinced that my story offers much to the greater good. The last thing I want to do is add to the crap that is out there.  Sure, this might be me just not wanting to risk failure, but I am leaning on the side of  . . . not adding to the mountain of religious crap.  Again, not to say my life is meaningless, but am not convinced it is book worthy.
  • I have to let it go – Blogging on SFGate, pastoring the church, hanging out with the family and finding new and healthy avenues for my energies clearly gives me life. It’s not that I am bored or restless, but simply feel like this book project is hanging over my head to the detriment of other things that I could be doing.  No one has asked me for it and there are no signed contracts, so the only anxiety producing pressures and expectations are my own. Time to let that go.

So that’s it for now.  I have appreciated the warm words of encouragement from so many of you over the past year.  Your reward . . . below is the raw and unedited Preface and Introduction to what was to be “Embracing the Gray: Musings on Family, Faith and the Pursuit of an American Dream.”


First, thanks for taking the time to read this far.  Whether you bought this book at your local bookstore, got your hands on a digital version or someone bribed you to do it, I thank you  . . . and my three daughters’ college funds thank you.  However, before we get to deep into this, I want to acknowledge what is surely everyone’s burning question, “Why are YOU writing a book?”

That, my friends, is a good question.  I know that there is no logical reason for me to be writing a book.  I mean come on, while I may have hit the limit of Facebook “friends” and have thousands of twitter followers – oooo ahhhh – I am far from being a celebrity. My wife and I have not raised or birthed an inordinate number of children, I haven’t succeeded at anything “against all odds”, there’s been no liberating of any oppressed people and, to date, I haven’t won any sports related world championships that I can think of . . . at least not beyond the multiple “in my head” World Series games I have won at the top of the 9th with a homer off of anyone who pitches for the San Francisco Giants.

Instead, I am just a boy.  I’m a boy that lives his life in gratitude to so many who have shown me that the joy of life is found in moments when God pokes into our world in odd and peculiar ways to remind us that, try as we might, we are not in control.  Sure we have the ability to make choices about how we live, but ultimately our job is NOT to control the world around us.  Our human adventure is to respond to God’s pulls and tugs on our lives in a world that would rather have us give into the crazy.

It is amidst this chaotic world that I offer to you this brief telling of one person’s encounter with the holy and the divine.  For in the midst of our life that can so often feel overwhelming, I believe that it is God is who provides moments of calm and peace.  And now, more than ever, in a world torn apart by violence of actions and words, we need to embrace and respond this simple yet, delicate gift. This book is my story of how this has happened for me.  For too long our bookshelves have been filled with book title something like, “Seven simple steps to conquering [insert your own form of chaotic situation here]” and we have bought it.  We believe if we simply plan our life in the right way, follow the simple steps of the latest life coach guru or just get past the next hump we will be able to claim victory of life’s chaos and plant our family flag on the planet of “everything is now calm.”

Poppycock I say, this is a cultu


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  • Lisa  

    It sounds like you’re making the best choice for the moment. I’m not surprised, but am impressed, that you’ve had the fortitude not to hold onto something that just isn’t coming together at the moment. Loved reading the first bits, too. It seems to me like a story worth telling, which is more than a lot of the crap out there can say for itself. :)

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    Thanks Jay. It is soft stop for sure, but one that I feel like I needed to make for myself. Could also be that Brian is just a kick-ass writer ;-) Someday, God willing . . . .

  • Jay Voorhees  

    Been there, done that, and have the T-Shirt. Writing a book is HARD, much more than anyone realizes. I have no clue how Tony Jones cranks them out, and I don’t think that it’s insignificant that McLaren has done most of his writing after his kids have grown up. I got six chapters more or less written when I threw in the towel, and I think our experience is a common one. I have confidence that the words will someday come, but I’ve come to see that being busy living the story can be more important than telling the story.
    Take care, and call us when you get to Nashville again.

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    Good advice. I see this as a soft-stop rather than some concrete decree. If the mood and spirit hit differently later, I surely will adjust. Thank for the helpful words!

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    Too kind as always Brian. Thanks.

  • Pam Marino  

    I think, Bruce, that one day God will send you a wise editor who will help you shape and edit your copy into a book. God will know the right time, and the right person.
    One snippet of advice I recently heard at Donald Miller’s Storyline Conference in Portland a few weeks ago: leave most of your book on the floor of your office. I don’t write books, but I’m keeping that in mind as I write my articles. Helps me hone in on the essence of the story I’m working on. In a way, it’s sort of like a sculptor chipping away pieces to get to the beautiful shape embedded within the rock.
    Have you read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield? I haven’t read it yet, but plan to because Miller highly recommends this book for writers. It’s about overcoming resistance in writing and life.

  • Brian Merritt  

    You would not have to do another thing for me to respect and admire you. You have been a stretching presence and a thoughtful friend. I value you highly and see so much potential already manifesting itself through you. Your family is beautiful as are you.

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