A Traveler’s Guide through Suffering and Joy – Draft 1 of Introduction

I’m submitting to you the first draft of the first chapter of my book, the chapter of introduction.

I would like for you to read it (in light of my last two posts) and then comment on it — if you have any constructive encouragements (what works for you) and recommendations (what doesn’t work or suggestions for improvement).

I’d like to fuss over it to you, explaining this or that, but I’ll withhold those thoughts. Please read the attached chapter. It is only five pages long. This chapter precedes the twelve chapters, setting up the book, for the most part.

Please treat the document with respect, noting it is my work, and do not pass it on without proper attribution. Thank you!

I’m submitting it only as a Word document, so I hope you can open it.

Introduction to A Traveler’s Guide through Joy and Suffering

Open for comments. (Oh, my. . . .)


Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil | Tags: | 15 Comments

Post navigation

15 thoughts on “A Traveler’s Guide through Suffering and Joy – Draft 1 of Introduction

  1. Louis Mann


    A good beginning with touch of narative as well as organizational forshadowing and anticipatory set. I loved the introduction of ‘pedestrian theologians.’ I will probably steal that down the liine. (Wait, does that conflict with the 8th Commandment?) I think that the occasional ‘asides’ help to inject your sense of humor and your reflective assessment of ‘truth’ in balance and helps the reader see (and hear) the real YOU.

    Looking forward to seeing this develop into the following chapters.


    • Dr. Karen L.T. Olsen

      Thank you, Mr. Mann!
      Your input reminds me of the days, decades ago, when you were my principal — the very first principal I worked under — who came into my classroom and assessed my teaching. I remember both your words of encouragement and your words of correction. (I especially remember your words of correction, graciously given!) So, your words of encouragement, affirming what you think works well in my writing, greatly blesses me!

  2. Louis Mann

    Thhanks for the kind words Karen. You should also point out that I need to ‘spell-check’ my comments! 🙂

    • Dr. Karen L.T. Olsen

      Ha. No worries. Comments don’t need to be perfect. I didn’t even notice!
      By the way, I’ve edited my drafted chapter (after posting) and have made a number of minor changes thus far with this introductory chapter. I didn’t catch several things before posting it that I thought I had corrected. Such is life. Anything written can be improved, but I don’t want anyone to hold back a response in the comment section, worrying about presenting an idea well. (Some folks have told me they don’t comment because of something like this. Or they don’t want their name used, which of course, their names don’t have to be posted.) Anyway, the comment section is a conversation. That’s what’s important. Comments are needed! Thanks for conversing!

  3. David Peachy

    Enjoyed, peeked my interest, and looking forward to future postings.
    I’m very much a left brain person by nature (a terrible artist) and therefore appreciate the taxonomical approach. That being said, I am praying that you will help me to see clearly the story in the text. (I do love good art.)

    • Dr. Karen L.T. Olsen

      Thanks, Dave, for your input! I look forward to your insight as you read my draft chapters! I greatly appreciate your interest, and I hope you find comfort, encouragement, and blessing through this project!

  4. I really like the opening chapter! I think without your personal stories interspersing the technical content, it may be a much heavier read, but following such a pattern indeed gives the reader both story and structure–an important balance, as you pointed out in the book itself. 🙂

    One spelling error I found — on page 4 in your Exodus 20:16 quote, it reads “you shall not bare false witness”. This should read “bear”, though I commend your inadvertent commendation to expose liars. 😉

    • Dr. Karen L.T. Olsen

      Thank you, MJB! Sorry to take five days to get your post up! But, I hope we’ve worked through some technical challenges (and it doesn’t take much in the way of tech glitches to confound me!). My patient husband has done some troubleshooting for me!! So, thank you for your observations, encouragement, and patience!

  5. Martin Zuidervaart

    Karen, the introduction does just that–it introduces the teacher/student to the vocabulary of critical concepts that drove your research/dissertation and now names major ideas that will guide the curriculum (pedestrian theology, taxonomies, and your own concoction–pascharology!). This appeals strongly to my left brain, but your opening retelling of the childhood story appeals to the right brain as well, so your introduction models well what you promise to be true of your upcoming curriculum. I also like how your introduction develops the meaning of key words in your title and subtitle–namely, “traveler,” “navigating,” and “theology.” Louis nailed a helpful observation when he called your introduction an “anticipatory set.” You intro (with both story and propositions) does indeed create an eager anticipation for the first lesson as well as the entire study. In my opinion, the introduction works well. Marty

    • Dr. Karen L.T. Olsen

      Thank you, Marty!
      I’m glad to hear that the key words and metaphors I’ve chosen are working to lead you to follow my trail without difficulty. I may need to develop a few more paragraphs or so to this introductory chapter, but I won’t know for sure until I’ve drafted some of the body chapters. Looking back will show me if I’ve left some potholes to be filled, and I trust that you and maybe others will let me know!

  6. Paul Olsen


    Looking forward to the completed book. Praying that it will be completed by Christmas.


  7. I am looking forward to the path A Traveler’s Guide Through Suffering and Joy may take me…..I have long traveled through life by feelings never considering I could be a pedestrian theologian…..I hope you will offer it on Kindle.

    • Dr. Karen L.T. Olsen

      Thanks, Rick. You have a good idea — to put the book on Kindle. I am praying that God will provide me with the wisdom and assistance needed to publish via Amazon (POD)and on Kindle or by any other means that would be good. In time, I hope to find a “traditional” publisher. For now, I have to get this done for certain groups to begin using it in January, which means it should be available to the leaders by December 1. Maybe I’ll need to publish it in two or three parts at first. We’ll see. I’d appreciate your regular prayer support!!

  8. Carolyn Wilkins

    Hello my friend, I’m sorry it has taken me awhile to get back to you and give you my thoughts about this first chapter of your book. I’ve been “suffering,” literally with a leg problem that still needs to be diagnosed. I’ve been to four professionals but will begin physical therapy on the 30th. The pain has been so severe over the last two months that I haven’t even been able to read. But, I have had some improvement so I got busy reading your chapter today.

    I feel this is such a good beginning for your book and creates a thirst for more. I love the way you have combined the theology with personal stories which speak to the heart. That way, you bring together both the mind and heart which exactly is what the Holy Spirit does to give hope. And I know the purpose of your book is for hope even more than knowledge. I feel that some of your writings in the past probably appeal more to a certain group of people, namely those of a more studious and theologic mind, but if you continue in this realm of incorporating stories and examples, it will all become very real to the reader. I hope this makes sense. I wish also that we could be together to just chat about all of this. Maybe someday soon.

    I hope you’re making good progress and that your health is allowing you to do that. Let me know what you think of my thoughts.

    Love you dear friend, Carolyn

    Sent from my iPad


    • Dr. Karen L.T. Olsen

      Thank you so much, Carolyn! We are so sorry to hear about your leg issues and pain, still not diagnosed! We pray for both relief and answers…. Carolyn, you are a story teller, so I know stories speak to your heart. I hope I can keep a good balance with the book, but the book may be challenging at points.
      While individuals can use the book as a study tool, I am designing it primarily for small groups to use. It will be important for the leader to know the people in the group and adapt the study accordingly.
      As a curriculum writer who also advised teachers, I often told teachers (classroom teachers and homeschooling parents) that the teacher is the “living curriculum” and adjusts the textbook assignments according to the needs of the students. Bible study teachers should do the same. I hope I can provide a good stock of material, well-balanced and biblically insightful, which will bring both understanding (where possible) and always hope — that strength from the courage of spiritual encouragement. This project needs much prayer! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: