Pastoral Imagination at two years old! Here’s a fun way to let you know some things about the book Pastoral Imagination, which turns two this month! My Fortress Press editor Scott Tunseth told me this was a book for the long-haul, made for seminary classrooms and new ministers. And he was right! It continues to find its way into new peer mentoring groups, classrooms, and libraries each month.
Perhaps you are new to reading the blog? And you have not gotten a proper introduction to Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life? Let’s take care of that! The book is based on a longitudinal study of seminary graduates (2009-present), and it focuses on how ministers cultivate pastoral imagination, an embodied, relational, spiritual, and integrative capacity needed for the wise and improvisational practice of ministry.
I thought a fun way to celebrate the book birthday and introduce it to more readers would be to share 20 brief FUN FACTS about the book. Here we go!
~ 1 ~
I am tithing my book royalties. I earn a small percent of each book sale. And I made a gift of 10% of the royalty checks to a well-known organization that supports young people who are discovering their vocations. I will continue to share the earnings of the book with different ministry organizations that share the book’s mission.
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Pastoral Imagination features 110+ short stories from ministers, mostly study participants from the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project, and also former students, fellow ministers, and seminary professors. The variety of genders, geographies, ethnicities, and ages in the book is vast.
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The book highlights over 100 additional books about ministry and learning in practice.
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The cover art was designed by my friend, former student, and artist Amber Simpson. You can find and purchase her art here.
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Every chapter of Pastoral Imagination links to a video with the same title. You can see all 50 videos in this video collection. Start sampling here:
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My website is the only place you can purchase the Pastoral Imagination Journal. It is beautiful and filled with questions and blank space for your thoughts, responses, and reflections. (Keep reading for a new discount code!) Download a sample of Pastoral Imagination Journal pages and see what you think!
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Each of the 50 chapters concludes with open-ended questions for your reflection. There are a total of 210+ questions. That should keep your learning about your practice of ministry for a very long time!
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There is a hidden gem in the book. It is an appendix entitled, “Questions for Redemptive Change.” It includes 30+ bonus questions to help you explore the ways that both hidden and obvious biases hinder the wisdom of pastoral imagination.
This appendix offers a starter set of questions to help deconstruct personal habits and social structures that inhibit bringing ministry fully to life. The list is by no means exhaustive but rather serves as a beginning point for your own work of imagining how to deconstruct harmful structures that hinder practical wisdom for ministry.
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One popular highlight in the kindle version of Pastoral Imagination is:
“That means the day-to-day practice of ministry
is one continuous effort at improvisation.”
~ 10 ~
I am bringing copies of the Pastoral Imagination book to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, in June. I’ll be speaking at the Chaplain’s Luncheon and you can buy a signed copy that day (Friday, June 30).
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I quote and/or reference 22 pastoral and practical theologians in Pastoral Imagination.
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The study which is the basis of this book, the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project, is co-directed by Chris Scharen and me. Earlier this spring we published a new article about the study. You can read it here: “The Learning Pastoral Imagination Project: A 10-Year Overview” by Eileen Campbell-Reed and Christian Scharen
~ 13 ~
Green Chartreuse is running in short supply. Oh my! But it is for a good cause: prayer. The 130-herb-based, 400-year old recipe for Green Chartreuse liqueur is the most important ingredient in my “imagination cocktail.” The mixed drink, also known as “improvisation” was invented for our Pandemic Book Launch in May of 2021. You can read about the French monks who make Green Chartreuse and why they refuse to meet the demand.
~ 14 ~
Both hosts from our Pastoral Imagination book launch party (AKA: “The Irreverent Revs”) are no longer pastoral residents. They are each full-time pastors. Rev. Ashley Robinson is pastor at Oakhurst Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. And Rev. Jenna Sullivan is lead pastor at Life in Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas. Hoorah!
~ 15 ~
The word MINISTRY appears 500 times and the word PRACTICE appears 466 times in Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life (support an indie bookstore).
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If you write to me using this form, and tell me one thing you appreciate about the Pastoral Imagination book, I will send you a signed and personalized bookplate for your copy (to the first 10 people who reply).
During the book release season, we did not enjoy any in-person book events. (Thanks again, Covid-19! Ugh.) So we created these bookplates that I could sign and send to people who bought the book.
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Pastoral Imagination books and journals make absolutely perfect graduation gifts! They can be useful to any ministry student who is graduating from college, seminary, or with a doctor of ministry degree. For the rest of this month use the code GRADUATE in our 3MMM Shop and choose any Pastoral Imagination books and journals for the discount. (Expires May 31, 2023.)
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So much of this book was edited at the Writing Table. It is one of many books and articles and sermons, and very very important emails, book proposals, poetry, and big dreams that get written and edited each weekday. You, too, can be part of the Writing Table. Check out our summer writing special. For less than $1/day to join, you can be part of an amazing group of writers. And you can also experience the magic of shared time and accountability at the Writing Table.
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Many groups and individuals are adopting Pastoral Imagination. Is your peer learning group, seminary class, adult Sunday school groups, rural or urban ministry cohort, or retreat event adopting the book? Please tell us here! We may even send an extra surprise!
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We are giving away two copies of Pastoral Imagination during the month of May. This is in partnership with Union Theological Seminary. Sign up for the 3MMM weekly email and you are in the drawing!