When I submitted my very first proposal for a book that boldly asserts “all women are theologians,” I was hoping for a title that combined the words “woman” and “theologian.” After all, the book is about the importance of theology for women and asserts without apology that we are all theologians!
I was cautioned by publishers and potential readers that something so direct might turn some women off. One friend told me even “Thinking Women” as a title sounded intimidating.
My goal was not to intimidate but to invite all women—seminarians, businesswomen, homemakers, college coeds, teenage girls—to take themselves and God seriously, not to depend on someone else’s theology, but to know God for themselves.
I didn’t want to give the impression that theology was all cerebral either, but embedded in the everyday messiness, brokenness, and heartaches of life. I knew from personal experience that it is risky business to try to trust God when you’re in trouble on the basis of what someone else believes or on the spiritual fluff we so easily settle for when we live in so much prosperity.
Life comes to women in stiff doses. When it does, and we are crushed or shattered or stretched beyond our limits, we need to surround ourselves with good theologians—husbands, pastors, and steadfast friends in fraying red chairs—who will encourage and help us. But at the end of the day, it won’t be their theology we will lean on, no matter how good it is. We will lean on our own. Adversity and adventures have a way of exposing the state of our theology. We may have heard a lot about God. In the thick of things, we will discover what we really believe about him. We ask too much of ourselves to wade into these deep waters with so little to keep our faith afloat.—When Life and Beliefs Collide
As what was hoped would be a safe compromise, the book was titled When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference—a modified version of a phrase inside the book, “when theology and life collide.”
Twelve years later, here come the French! Fearless. Direct. Unapologetic. Certainly not intimidated!
This morning UPS delivered a box containing When Life and Beliefs Collide translated into French—with a brand new title: Tous théologiens! Vivre nos convictions (We are all theologians! Living our beliefs).
I say, “Vive le français!”