I always feel out of place with other writers who share how as kids they loved to read and write stories and always knew they would one day be a writer. As a young person I was into math and I can count on one hand the books I read before the age of 25. I wanted to grow up and be an auditor and spent most of my adult life in the business world. No one is more surprised than I am, that I actually wrote a book.
I owe my new found love of writing to my seminary professor, Dr. Stephen Brachlow. My first year of seminary, I took Dr. Brachlow’s class “Introduction to Christian Spirituality.” It was the class that most significantly shaped me as a minister. One of the assignments in this class was something called “Otium Sanctum.” We were to sit silently with God and then write about the experience. Every morning I would walk down to the dock at the lake and just sit and wait for God to speak to me. It sounded crazy at first, but I actually found the practice to be enlightening and healing.
The muddy waters of the lake after a heavy rain spoke to my cloudy mind stirred up by all the teachings of my professors. God sent this one white domestic duck whom I watched for an entire year as it found its way into the companionship of the mallards who dominate the shores of our lake. God used that one unique duck to speak to me about my journey into the companionship of my new urban friends. Somehow in writing down these insights, I found the confidence to actually follow God out into the deeper waters of faith as I continually heard Jesus voice encouraging me to step off that dock and join him on the water.
I was petrified when I turned in my first Otium Sanctum and shared how the ducks had ministered to me. Certainly, Dr. B would think I was crazy! Instead he wrote “Yes, Yes, wonderful work!.” In the margins of my papers, he continued to encourage me both in the content of my work and also in my writing with notes like “Beautifully written” or “Wendy, you have a real gift for writing” or a simple “Brilliant!.” No one had ever encouraged me the way Dr. Brachlow did and I felt like a little rose bud that finally had the water it needed to bloom. I started sharing my writing with the women in my Quest groups and with family and friends and like Dr. Brachlow, they encouraged me to keep writing.
I was so honored that Dr. Stephen Brachlow, the Professor of Spirituality, at Baptist Theological Seminary, was willing to endorse my book. I am not sure he even realizes his role in developing my love of writing, but I wanted the world to know how God used this man in my life.
Below is Dr. Brachlow’s endorsement of From the Sanctuary to the Streets:
“This is one of the best, most challenging, and hope-filled books I’ve read in a long time. What makes From the Sanctuary to the Streets so different from other books on the subject is it’s narrative quality—it reads like a novel, chalk-full of personal stories and wisdom born of experience. McCaig has captured qualities of holiness and hope that blossom in some of the most desolate corners of the inner city.”
I want to thank Dr. Brachlow for encouraging, not only me, but all the students who have been blessed to have been shaped by his teaching.