This week’s author interview is with Don McKim. He is the author of Everyday Prayer with the Reformers (releasing 8/19/20) and Everyday Prayer with John Calvin (2019).

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am from Wampum, Pennsylvania, about fifty miles north of Pittsburgh. I went to Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA where I became friends with Bryce Craig, the President of P&R Publishing. After graduating from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and doing a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, I taught Theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. When my wife, LindaJo, was appointed Editor of The Presbyterian Hymnal, we moved to Berwyn, PA and I served a couple Presbyterian churches as an interim pastor. We next moved to Memphis, Tennessee where I was Academic Dean and Professor of Theology at Memphis Theological Seminary. I switched over to publishing and spent a dozen years as Executive Editor for Theology and Reference for Westminster John Knox Press. I also worked as an editor for Congregational Ministries Publishing of the PC(USA). I retired and have spent my time writing books. My wife, LindaJo is also a retired Presbyterian minister. We have two sons, who are both married and four grandchildren. I like to write reviews of theology, baseball, and chess books. 

  • What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

I’m happy to say that this new book, Everyday Prayer with the Reformers is one of three books on prayer which I am writing for P&R Publishing. The first was Everyday Prayer with John Calvin. The third book will be Everyday Prayer with the Puritans. I have had a vocational passion in the past years for trying to introduce folks to great theologians. Since many will not usually read the big books the theologians have written—I try to take a couple sentences from the theologian, write a one-page devotion on its meaning and what importance the quotation has for our Christian lives. This seeks to instruct and inspire! I’ve written a number of these kinds of books now. When I spoke with the good friends at P&R about my interest in this format, they suggested there would be interest in three books on prayer—focused on Calvin, the Protestant Reformers, and the Puritans. I jumped at the chance to write these books! I desire to communicate the insights of important theologians to pastors and laypersons. And what better topic than prayer to focus on for theological thoughts that instruct and inspire! Everyday Prayer with the Reformers was a joy to write. It allowed me to explore and write about prayer as a deeply important topic for us and to convey the strong theological insights of very significant theologians so they can speak to us today!

  • What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My teacher and co-author, Jack Rogers, used to say that “scholarship is like digging a ditch. It’s one shovelful at a time.” I’ve found this is exactly true. You don’t have to be the “smartest person” to write a book. You just need to have a “strong back” and focused will—to keep at it: one day at a time! Writing is work. The writer, Dorothy Parker, said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” The perseverance needed to “keep writing” can be draining. But the joy of “having written” is great—and worth it! So, to aspiring writers: Keep writing…“one shovelful at a time”!

  • Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and why?

My favorite writer is John Calvin (1509-1564). He is first in my heart because his theological writings have meant so much to me through the years. In every season of my life, Calvin has something to say to me. I believe his interpretation of Scripture is convincing and always nourishing to my faith. I’ve written a number of books and articles on Calvin so I’ve been living with his work for many years. When I read him, I always find something new and engaging. I write about Calvin because I want to share his insights with others. My latest book on Calvin: Everyday Prayer with John Calvin focused on his thoughts about prayer. It was especially helpful for me to write it—and I hope for others to read it!

  • Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sports team?

I like to watch basketball. I came from a little town where basketball was big. In Memphis, we love our Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. Since I’m from the Pittsburgh area, my favorite Major League Baseball team is the Pittsburgh Pirates—through good seasons and bad!

  • Favorite food?

Spaghetti and meatballs.

  • What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?

I would most like to meet Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the great English writer, lexicographer, and distinguished “man of letters.” He is sometimes called “Dictionary Johnson” because he wrote a famous Dictionary of the English language which set the standard for all later dictionaries. Johnson was a great talker, a man of strange habits, and pronounced opinions. It was said Johnson knew more books than any person alive. I learned of him first in high school which led me to read an abridged edition of James Boswell’s, Life of Samuel Johnson, one of the great biographies of all time. My wife, LindaJo, made a wonderful drawing of Dr. Johnson which has always been on the wall next to me at my desk. I would like to have a long talk with one of the world’s greatest talkers!

  • How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Facebook Page: Don McKim

PRE-ORDER Everyday Prayer with the Reformers