Sunday, February 12, 2006
The Story Behind "The Room"
One night in 1995, while visiting Puerto Rico for a Billy Graham crusade, I had a very powerful dream. I recorded it in the form of a story and named it The Room. I had no idea then how far the story of my dream would circulate.
The article was orginally published in New Attitude magazine in 1995, and then reprinted in a chapter of my book I Kissed Dating Goodbye in 1997. It touches on the universal themes of guilt and redemption. How does a man find forgiveness for the wrongs he's committed or for the good he's left undone? Is our past something we can leave behind or forget? How can any of us know true forgiveness from a God who is holy and just?
In a buried section of my website we gathered information about The Room. But since that page is now hard to find, I decided to post it again here.
As the final link references, there's been a sad controversy around the authorship of the story. But the issue of central importance about the story is not it's author or its popularity, but the powerful message it communicates. The Room points to our need for a Savior who can rescue us from the punishment our sins deserve. Jesus Christ is that Savior.
Over the last few years I've toyed with the idea of writing a shorter, evangelistic book that would use The Room to introduce and explain the gospel to people who don't know Jesus. I'm not sure I'm up for it, but I have always wanted to write a book that is written for a non-Christian reader—one that seeks to present the gospel in words he or she can relate to and understand. The Room seems to open the door for conversation about our guilt and need for redemption. But by itself it is incomplete—and possibly even misleading in what it fails to explain about God's wrath toward sin and the need for repentance and faith. It needs much more thorough explanation and unpacking to truly point people to salvation through Jesus Christ. That's what I'd try to do in the book.
So if you're willing to post a comment, I'd love to hear from you on one or all of the following: 1) Do you have a story of how The Room effected you when you firt read it? Or do you know of someone who was touched by it? 2) Do you think this book idea has merit? Do you think it would be useful in sharing the gospel with unbelievers? (Don't hesitate to say "no". I won't be hurt.) 3) Do you have any suggestions on what a book like the one I'm considering should include?
Any and all feedback is welcome. Some of you might remember that my third book, Sex is Not the Problem launched with a request on my website for stories and suggestions. So who knows, this post could be the start of something, too. I look forward to getting your perspective!