It Takes a Community

October 17th, 2017 / 12 Comments

We often consider the lone theologian our standard of theological excellence. In some ways, that’s understandable. In other ways, our standard should be different.

Often overlooked are the collaborators, cooperators, and team players. Instead of standing alone, they form communities and together address issues, solve problems, and confront negativity.

There’s something powerful about collaboration for the common good!

Edited Books as Collaboration

I’ve been thinking about the power of collaboration lately. What sparked my thinking was the publication of two edited books, Theologians and Philosophers Using Social Media and Uncontrolling Love. I edited the first, and it has 90+ contributors. I helped with the second, and it has 80+ contributors.

In the past eighteen years, I’ve edited or coedited 15 books. Most were collections of 10-30 essays. A couple included more than 100 contributors. I’ve been pleased to work with seventeen co-editors too.

In the name of celebrating collaboration, I decided to count the number of people whose work I’ve edited/co-edited for publishing in a book.  The number astounded me: 633!

Of course, I’ve worked with some people more than once. Amos Yong wins the prize for being the person with whom I’ve worked most.

While I think the monographs I’ve written are important, I’m just as pleased with my edited or co-edited books. It takes a community to build a movement.  I’d be happy to be known as a collaborator!

I dedicate this blog to all who have collaborated with me in book projects!

Celebrating collaboration,


Add comment


Donna Allen

I was honored to be one of those collaborators, even if only once. Keep up the good work, Tom

dean cowles

Thanks Tom, it’s been an honor to collaborate with you on many levels. As a family we are so grateful to you most recently for reading and adding tributes which you read at Dad’s memorial service in August. As we serve in Kenya in Medical Missions we are reminded of this community reality. We couldn’t bring over our house full of stuff. We couldn’t put our garage in a container. With 5 bags of luggage we moved and learned to share and be interdependent in an American/African culture. One African proverb I love and have used often especially while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is “If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together.” It’s been fun walking/hiking with you across the years brother.

Craig S Keener

Thanks, Tom; and Amos is a great person to collaborate with! 🙂


Thanks for letting me a part of the community 🙂

Mark Maddix

Thanks for including me in several of your edited books.

John Dally

Tom, you have given me the freedom and the inspiration to express my thoughts and observations. I feel a privilege to be part of this great endeavor that is already starting to change the views within the church that can only help at evolve with the changing world we live in. Thanks

Michael Scarlett

I consider it an honor that you allowed me to participate in one of those projects. Thank you!

Dion Forster

Thanks Tom, what a joy to be a collaborator. You are a gift!

Sarah Derck

It is a privilege to collaborate with you, and to be part of such a theological community.

Jay Akkerman

Thanks, my friend, for your thirst for learning — and inviting others to share that with you. I’m grateful for the many ways we’ve been able to collaborate over the years. Most of all, I’m thankful for the ways you’re trying to model what you’re learning and teaching with love. Lurch forward! +>j

Donna Ward

It has been my pleasure! Honored to be a partner in God’s Co-Creation with you and so many! Uncontrolling Love is definitely a movement. May social media serve it well so more and more can experience Love, the One who has been misunderstood for so long!

Cathy Lawton

Thank YOU! Working WITH God and God’s people is the best! And it continues …

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Type in all 5 of the digits below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.