Tag Archives: writing

Dr. Stephen Brachlow’s Endorsement

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.


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Proposed New Cover for My Book – What Do You Think?

The beautiful Yolanda McDuffy is featured on the cover of my book which should be in print by late spring.  Yolanda is one of our amazing Embrace Richmond team members whose personal dreams are transforming our Fairfield community.  Stay tuned for more information about Yolanda’s journey.

The photographers responsible for the photo were Sakura Miyazaki and Caitlin McCaig.  Sakura and Caitlin are both sophomores in the Humanities program at Monacan High School and coordinated this photo shoot as a volunteer project to support Embrace.  (Yes, Caitlin is my daughter for those who were wondering)

For both the reasons named above, this cover means a lot to me personally and I pray others will love it as much as I do.


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New Book Title Announced

from the Sanctuary to the Streets: How the Dreams of One City’s Homeless Sparked a Faith Revolution that Transformed a Community.

Hoping to have the new cover design done within a few weeks and then off to printing.

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Stop the Pressess!

Well I thought I was done with the book, it made it through numerous levels of review all the way to the managing editor who decided on Friday that he does not like the title.  He gave some very convincing reasons why so we are now in search of the perfect title for what was “Embrace Dreams: A Journey Beyond the Pew.”  Below is my “short list” of ideas that I am going to submit.  Let me know which one you like best or if you have an even better idea!

Title Suggestions

Embrace The Dreamers

Bridge of Dreams

Sanctuaries to Streets

Homeless Dreamers

Sub-Title Suggestions

Embrace the Dreamers:  How the Dreams of the Homeless are Transforming our Sanctuaries and our Streets

How the Dreams of the Homeless United a Community and just might Transform the Church

A Journey from the Sanctuary to the Street transforms a community and could transform the church

There are numerous shorter versions of the sub-titles but this gives you the idea

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Just Work – My Next Book (I hope)

This week I completed the proposal and first three sample chapters for what I hope will be my next published book.  Below is a summary of the book.  The first three chapters are available on the “Wendy’s Book” page of this site.  Please let me know what you think.

Just Work: Justice in a Culture of Charity

We have all heard –and perhaps spoken–the phrases, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” “You get what you work for,” “Hard work pays off,” and “Live the American Dream.”  We have all driven past men and women in our city intersections holding signs that say “Will work for food” or “Homeless. Please help.”  Probably the sight of them has sparked in us some combination of pity, guilt, and disgust.  Many of us have thought or said, “Get a job!” as we speed past, avoiding the sign-bearers’ desperate eyes.  Most likely, we are not so much heartless or uncaring as confused and frustrated.  In a society where there is supposedly equal opportunity for all, why are some unable or unwilling to work for a living?  Why would anyone choose to beg on a street corner when there are homeless shelters, food pantries, and soup kitchens throughout our cities?  We are doing our part, we reckon, by giving to the local shelter, praying for these men and women, and serving in the local food pantry. Yet the problem persists.

In the fall of 2004, Wendy McCaig befriended a homeless woman and began a journey toward finding the answers to these questions.  At times she has felt like Alice in Wonderland, following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole into the world of mental illness, addiction, violence, and poverty.  While there, McCaig was befriended by three very wise men who themselves had fallen into that hole and had lived most of their adult lives trapped in that strange land.  McCaig also met the children of this world; their eyes that had been bright with hope at age ten were dull and desperate a few short years later, their futures robbed by drugs, pregnancy, violence, and injustice.  With the wisdom of her three guides, McCaig takes us down that rabbit hole and on a journey toward finding hope for the children trapped in poverty in the inner city.

That journey out of poverty and toward hope and justice necessarily includes work, and the dignity and purpose it brings. By recognizing that we create imprisoning systems of dependency through our habits of charity and entitlements, dependencies we can avoid through offering work instead, we find that we are not powerless in the face of poverty but hold the keys to freedom from that prison.

Wendy McCaig is our Alice on this journey.  She invites us to join her, to meet her friends, to see the travesties of justice committed by those in power who, like the mischievous Cheshire cat, try to lead us astray, and to change that predictable cycle by offering just work.

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