Why You Should Self-Publish Your Seminary Thesis on Kindle

Kindle Direct PublishingMost of the major research projects that seminary students complete end up getting read by two people: the student and their professor.  Or if there is a committee reading your dissertation, maybe a few more.  But at the end of the day, that big hardbound copy gets stuck on the university’s bookshelf, destined to be read by... anybody?  That is a really tragedy because, in many cases, you’ve poured in lots of time and effort into a project has real relevance for the life and ministry of the church but those who could really benefit from reading it will never read it.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.

It used to be that in order to self-publish, you had put down a lot of money for a lot of copies that may or may not ever be bought.  But with the advent of Kindle and other eBook readers, all that has changed.  

After writing my Th.M thesis about evangelistic methods, I really wanted to have people read it, so I sent the PDF to some people I knew.  But then I discovered that I could publish directly to Amazon’s Kindle store, at zero cost and without a publisher.  Amazon is the big name in buying books these days, but I thought that in order to get on Amazon, you had to be a real publisher, not just somebody off the street.  I also thought that in order to make an eBook, you had to have some kind of fancy technical skills (or the money to pay to some who does).  I was wrong on both counts.  

English Language Bible Colleges and Seminaries in Thailand?

I sometimes get asked about places to do theological studies in English here in Thailand but unfortunately there are not many options... largely because most people in Thailand don't speak much English. Most Bible colleges and seminaries in Thailand offer instruction in the Thai language only. 

However, the following schools offer English-language theological studies courses within Thailand, mostly on a modular basis (i.e. instructors fly in for one to two week intensive courses in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or some other large city)

Introducing the Thai Missions Digital Library

One of the various projects that I am involved in is the Thai Missions Digital Library.  The library is located at www.thaimissions.info and includes a ton of books, theses, dissertation, articles, blogs, maps, and weblinks about doing missions in Thailand.  Everything on the site is on PDF and free for download.

 

If you haven't checked out the Thai Missions Library yet, watch this short video showing you how to use it and what's there. If you have any questions, Erwin Kint and I are in charge of collecting and cataloging articles and social media, and Dwight Martin at Biblionics in Chiang Mai handles the technical website end of things.
 

 

If you don't see a video above, click here to watch it on YouTube

 

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Some Reflections on My First Year of Teaching Seminary in Thailand

This past May marked the end of my first year of teaching seminary in Thailand, so I thought it would be a good time to step back and reflect, and to dispel a persistent misconception.And if anyone reading this is considering teaching seminary classes in a second-language, perhaps this brief account of my experience might give them some idea of what they would be in for.

When other foreigners learn that I teach seminary in Thailand, and that I teach it in Thai (not English), they are often very impressed.Overly impressed, I would say. The reality is much less impressive and I feel much less competent and qualified than many seem to think I am.

The Pope, Universalism, and World Missions

Second Vatican CouncilA number of years ago, I was at an evangelical, Protestant, interdenominational missions conference where our particular working group was discussing how to get more people involved in issues of contextualization of the Gospel in Thailand.  One couple suggested, “Why not invite the Catholics to join in as well?”  It only took me a split-second to answer, “The Reformation.”  I was completely serious, but several people broke out in laughter, and I almost felt a bit bad because I hadn’t intended to make the couple who asked the question look silly.  Apparently my two word answer was sufficient to answer the question though, as the group moved on to more legitimate ideas for greater involvement.

This incident made me wonder how many Protestants have forgotten that there are significant differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.  In the day and age of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” and books such as “Is the Reformation Over?”, many Protestants and Catholics would like to just say “We all love Jesus, so let’s work together.”  Is that possible?  Are the differences that Protestants and Catholics died for in the 16th century just a matter of over-heated pre-modern stubbornness and intolerance?

New eBook: “A Modern Apostle of Siam: A Sketch of the Life and Work of Rev. Eugene P. Dunlap, D.D."

Not long ago, I ran into the story of Eugene Dunlap while reading Alex Smith’s book, “Siamese Gold: The Church in Thailand, 1828-1982.”  While missionaries in late 19th century Bangkok were lamenting how hard it was to reach people, Dunlap was out there doing it.  In his schooner, “The Kalamazoo,” Dunlap sailed up and down the Thai coast, stopping at islands, and sailing up rivers sharing the Gospel.  Inland, he traveled by elephant, by buffalo cart, by foot, and by any other means that he could.  Several months per year were spent almost entirely in itinerant evangelism.

 

Smith didn’t write a lot about Dunlap but it was enough to pique my interest.  Who was this man?  Following Smith’s sources, I discovered a brief biographical sketch written shortly after Dunlap’s death, “A Modern Apostle of Siam.” It was first published in “Missionary Review of the World” (v.41, June 1918, p.410-422), and turned out to be a fascinating story of a little known missionary pioneer.  His story had so much character and flavor to it that I decided that I could not keep it to myself. So I turned “A Modern Apostle of Siam” into a Kindle book. Well, a booklet actually.  It is fairly short.

 

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