I've decided...

I settled on Breaking the Chains for the title of my book quite a while back. There is a strong connection for me between my testimony and a particular Steven Curtis Chapman song, which led me to that title.

Around the time I was really starting to see the cracks in my former church (not just inconsistencies and scandals, but their teachings), I began listening to Steven Curtis Chapman a lot. His song, "Remember Your Chains" became a particular favorite. It became more and more meaningful to me as I broke away from my former beliefs and found the truth of the Gospel and the Cross. It has become my theme song in a sense; particularly the second verse and chorus...

There's no one more thankful to sit at the table
Than the one who best remembers hunger's pain
And no heart loves greater than the one that is able
To recall the time when all it knew was the shame
The wings of forgiveness can take us to heights never seen
But the wisest ones, they will never lose sight of where they were set free
Love set them free

So remember your chains
Remember the prison that once held you
Before the love of God broke through
Remember the place you were without grace
When you see where you are now
Remember your chains
And remember your chains are gone

One of the frequent criticisms I have endured since leaving CGT concerns my inability to go away quietly. I have been asked more times than I can count why I could not just forget about them and go on with my new life. If I'm so happy, why do I have to reflect on the past? Why do I feel compelled to speak about or against the beliefs and practices of that church? I have been viewed as a betrayer of friends and nothing more than an "angry, disgruntled ex-member." That label could not be further from the truth. Yet I have often struggled myself with the question of why I could not just let go and never think about that place again. Why could I not just let them be? Why do I continue to look back?

Well, the second and third verse of "Remember Your Chains" answers that question for me. When I hear it, I know God has had a purpose in keeping those memories alive. I believe I am supposed to remember what God has delivered me from. God uses all of our lives in various ways, as sign posts to others. I believe I have a unique and individual God-given assignment to point people to the Cross. We all do, of course, as believers. But I realize that I have a mission to fulfill to a select group of people; those who have been deceived and abused by a false gospel. Not just the people in the group I was affiliated with, but all people who have been in spiritual bondage.

When I was first trying to decide on my book's title, I couldn't get "Remember Your Chains" out of my head. My first working title was, "The Prison that Once Held Me" -- inspired by the line that ends, "before the love of God broke through." But that sounded kind of dark. I was bouncing ideas off of Danny one day, telling him how strongly I identified my testimony with that song, and he said, "How about Breaking the Chains?" I liked it and so has everyone else. But I wanted a subtitle that clarified what my chains were for someone who did not know me or my testimony and had not read the book yet.

I have written down many versions of a similar theme. But this is the one my editor likes best and, therefore, the one I will go with:

Overcoming the spiritual abuse of a false gospel

My next step is going to be creating a website to promote and sell the book. I am working toward the goal of having it published and available by the end of August or early September. This is my first experience writing a book and working with a professional editor. I don't know exactly how long the process might potentially drag out. But I want to get it just right and if that takes a couple of extra weeks, so be it. I will keep you posted on my progress. And hopefully soon I will have a website at sharihowerton.com. I bought the domain this morning, but it is just "parked" at godaddy until I can decide on a web host.


How exciting-I think your book title is most appropriate. Can't wait to see (and read) the finished product.
Danny Bryant said…
remember when steven curtis chapman concerts were avoided because of us losing our salvation?
Shari said…
Yes, Danny, I do remember even being strongly discouraged from listening to any contemporary form of Christian music. I think the Gaithers were about the only option other than our own music.

Janet, I just cannot think of you as a Big Snout! I'm excited for you to read the book, too. And I'm honored that you want to. I am the most eager to share my detailed story with my friends. You will understand some of my little quirks better and even though I've shared a lot with you already, the book will fill in a lot of gaps.
betty.kirschner@yahoocom said…
Shari,as I mentioned before the title of your book is perfect.LOL
Celeste Maia said…
Good title for your book, I also cant wait to read it.

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