The autobiography of G. Stanley Jones is titled A Song of Ascents and tells the story of Jones’ life as a missionary to India, a friend to Gandhi, a tireless world traveler, and a great writer and speaker.

It was actually his third attempt at an autobiography, and he was 83 at the time. He actually had written two previous books but had been unwilling to publish them. The first, he said, was too filled with the little events of his life—things he judged not worth telling. In the second attempt, he tried to take the events of his life and use them to philosophize about life in general. This, he decided, was not the right focus.

The third time, he determined, he was going to begin with Jesus, and that’s what he did. You see, what he discovered after two bad attempts was that he had been working backward; he had been working from events to the Christ Event. In his third attempt, he found he had it wrong. As he would say in his introduction, “Christ has been, and is, to me the Event.”

Stanley tells a story about an African, who, after he was baptized, changed his name, calling himself “After.” What he was saying was everything happened after he met Christ. Stanley said that was the description of his own life. Everything that happened to him happened after he met Christ.

In his first two attempts, said Jones, he had been too events-centered and not enough Event-centered. In the third and successful book, he concentrated on the Event and worked back to the events, understanding his own life in the light of Christ. (from Glenn E. Ludwig, “Walking To, Walking With,” via newsletter)

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