Milan Christian Church Pastor Publishes Book Following Study on Widows in Nigeria
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By Echo Menges
When Dr. Sung Bauta began researching and writing his theological dissertation in pursuit of his PHD at Asbury Theological School in Wilmore, KY, he was unaware of the spiritual and cultural journey he would undergo.
Bauta began writing his dissertation in 2017 when he took a three-month trip to Northern Nigeria to specifically study widows who were part of the Christian faith.
“In my research, I went with that preconceived notion, I’m going to find out what society can do for them, and then talk about what they can do for society,” Bauta told the Milan Standard. “Widows in Northern Nigeria are mainly Muslim. In the Northern part, a small part are Christian. We think they just want to remarry and inherit property from their husbands. There are a lot of widows because the life expectancy is very low.”
Bauta’s hypothesis was turned upside down when he began working in the field, interviewing and researching the lives of the women he was studying.
“They are not passive observers in society. They are agents of social change,” said Bauta. “The book makes the argument that Christian widows are agents of social change and they draw from their faith. Christian institutions best provide them with a guide. They can emulate the life of Jesus toward remaking their society.”
In 2019, Bauta knew his research and findings were going to eventually become a book.
“I kind of said at some point I was going to have to turn it into a book to make it accessible to other people,” said Bauta, “for academics as well as politicians and lay people. I knew it was going to turn it into a book – I just didn’t know when. I sent Wipf and Stock a proposal. They accepted and we proceeded. That was at the height of COVID in 2020.”
Bauta wasn’t sure if he would be able to accomplish the project being a busy church pastor and husband with three young children.
“Part of me was like, I don’t know why I’m doing this. It was a lot to take on. We had already signed a contract and, with all the down time, I had time to work on it.” said Bauta. “With COVID, we were isolated and I thought, maybe this is a blessing in disguise because I could devote the time to work on it a bit more.”
Bauta finished his book earlier this year, and it was officially released on July 15.
“There are 178 pages. There’s a reason for that,” said Bauta, who wanted to limit the length to make the book more accessible to everyone. “I tried to keep it shorter because I want people to access it and be able to read it. I go to the library here and they tell me people hardly read anymore. Sometimes you have to read the whole thing, to get a better context”
He also admits that he doesn’t expect to make much money from publishing the book.
“The writing is not for the money. It’s to get the word out and to help those in the margins,” said Bauta. “The book was written because the voices of the widows I believe need to be heard. I had a preconceived notion that I would go on and talk about them needing help. It wasn’t that. It wasn’t just a one sided interaction.”
Bauta credits his family and church family for helping him through the process of writing.
“It takes a village to write it. My wife, our family and even our church, too. If you read the acknowledgement, you will see how many it took,” said Bauta. “I started my theological journey thinking I would teach traditional biblical studies and somewhere along the way God turned it around. God is concerned about everything because everything belongs to him. Especially in the margins. He’s calling on the church and society to take care of them. So they can be vessels in his hands, and used to bless others.”
The book is available for purchase online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble stores. A limited number are also available at the Milan Christian Church and a copy for checkout will be available at the library in Milan.
Pastor Bauta preaches at the Milan Christian Church on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Sunday school is held at 9:30 a.m.