Posts Tagged 'Publishing'

Brian & Spencer’s Excellent Adventure

I started reading Brian McLaren about eight years ago. I was drawn in by his probing, unconventional, and sometimes-controversial questions about Christian faith and practice – his, ours, everyone’s. Reading Brian morphed into friendship with Brian, and today I’d say he’s one of the top half-dozen living people who’ve had the greatest impact on my faith and life. I wasn’t alone in finding his work compelling: Many people worldwide were asking similar questions; the conversations and action that followed have created conversations and (arguably) movements. From The Church On The Other Side and his New Kind of Christian novel trilogy, to A Generous Orthodoxy and Everything Must Change, Brian has been on a journey to re-envision what it means to faithfully follow Jesus in the 21st century. For many of us in emerging, missional, and ‘progressive’ faith circles, Brian needs no introduction – and in some ways, that’s a problem, isn’t it? Presumed familiarity can sometimes breed narrative contempt, especially in our world of high-profile authors who basically rewrite the same book over and over again. But I can honestly say that, in light of Brian’s back-catalog, this book breaks some new ground and is written with fresh candor and synthesis. That’s why I’m so happy with this ten-minute video of Brian and Spencer Burke, driving around Santa Monica and discussing where they’re at with faith and life these days.  I hear a wiser, more no-nonsense McLaren who’s grown more comfortable in his own skin, more comfortable as a voice and statesman for a new generation of Christianity coming of age in the 21st century. What hear ye?

Brian isn’t finished questing and questioning. Whether you love his work or it makes you nervous, whether you’ve read his every book or have lost track with him these past few years, his latest offering is his most important and striking to date: A New Kind of Christianity. In it, Brian asks ten questions that attempt to integrate our inner lives with our outward actions, to align our beliefs with how we live in increasingly interconnected global community. Questions like

  • The Narrative Question: What Is the Overarching Storyline of the Bible?
  • The Authority Question: How Should the Bible Be Understood?
  • The God Question: Is God Violent?
  • The Jesus Question: Who is Jesus and Why is He Important?
  • The Gospel Question: What Is the Gospel?
  • The Church Question: What Do We Do About the Church?
  • The Sex Question: Can We Find a Way to Address Sexuality Without Fighting About It?
  • The Future Question: Can We Find a Better Way of View the Future?
  • The Pluralism Question: How Should Followers of Jesus Relate to People of Other Religions?
  • The What Do We Do Now Question: How Can We Translate Our Quest into Action?

We at TheOOZE are teaming up with Brian to bring these questions into your churches, coffee shops, pubs and living rooms. In addition to the Think:FWD episode here (go here for show notes BTW), we’re going to be launching an entire Brian McLaren channel devoted to exploring these questions starting in February. Stay tuned!

Want more links?

FREE Copy of Coffeehouse Theology Study Guide!

I’m a huge fan of all things free. It’s not just because I’m a cheapskate; I think that offering substantial items of real value online is a good way for artists, musicians, and authors to connect with people who might be inspired by their work. I think that ultimately it’s economically viable, and I applaud publishing houses (like the newly-formed HarperStudio) who are taking ‘risks’ in this area to test out freemiums in our growing freeconomy.

This is why I’m so glad my friend Ed Cyzewski and the folks at NavPress are giving away the study guide to his uber-cool Coffeehouse Theology! I’ll leave you to Ed to learn the details from here…

Ed Cyzewski: Freelance Writer

Download a Free Bible Study PDF Today!During December and January my book Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life (about),will be available from NavPress.com at 35% off (coupon K82E1D8E6).

In light of this offer, starting today and ending at 7 pm EST on December 31st, the Coffeehouse Theology: Bible Study Guide (about) will be available as a free PDF for download. This guide, which complements Coffeehouse Theology, provides group/personal Bible studies under the guidance of a series of theologians, commentaries, and discussion questions.

There is a limit of one print out per person. Need more copies for your group? Then forward this message to your friends or place an order with NavPress. If you mention this offer on your web site or social media, please refer your readers to this page.

This offer ends December 31st at 7 PM EST.

Newsletter Subscribers Click Here Not a Subscriber? Click Here to Download

Act Today for Another Free Book Download!

If you forward this e-mail to your friends by December 17th, you can visit this page and enter the caps locked password “FORWARD EMAIL” in order to download a free PDF of the Coffeehouse Theology Contemporary Issues Guide. This guide applies Coffeehouse Theology to a biblical examination of a number of today’s most pressing issues (about).

This offer ends December 17th at 7 PM EST, so act fast!

About the Bible Study Guide
A personal or group study guide that will help readers learn to study scripture with an awareness to their contexts and to the Christian voices from history and around the world.

For those who don’t know where to start with theology, The Bible Study Guide will provide a series of first steps that will assist individual and group study of scripture.

Order Physical Copies of the Study Guides
Both study guides are available for purchase at NavPress at 25% off and at bulk discounts.

Keep in Touch!

Bible Study GuideContemporary Issues Guide

You can find my writing blog at www.edcyz.com and my theology blog at www.inamirrordimly.com. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook.

Flash Review: ‘Churched’ by Matthew Paul Turner

I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned my friend Matthew Paul Turner‘s memoir Churched on the blog before. You should go out and get a copy. This flash review is going to live up to its name; I’m simply going to reproduce for you the blurb I wrote for its back cover, as well as that of Sara Miles:

Churched is funny, poignant, and surprisingly moving. In this deft story of his fundamentalist upbringing Matthew Paul Turner proclaims the good news: that even church can’t drown out the message of Jesus.”
Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread

“Who knew that a journey through faith and fundamentalism could be so painfully funny? I laughed out loud many a time while reading Churched. Matthew Paul Turner manages to channel both boyhood innocence and wry retrospective through this fast-moving account of growing up with Jesus in late 20th-century America, and beyond. Highly recommended!”
Mike Morrell, TheOoze.com

You can follow Matthew on his wildly popular Twitter here.

The Future of This Blog

https://i1.wp.com/i59.photobucket.com/albums/g316/Goonsquad4/question-mark-1.jpgSo I haven’t been blogging much lately. It’s almost cliche, longtime bloggers lamenting their lack of time, or greater reliance on Facebook/Twitter/Friendfeed, or life malaise or life busyness – and then saying that they’re hanging their blog up.

All of this describes me –  and yet I’m not hanging it up. I like to write, and I need to write – so I’m going to step it up. I’m going to taking blogging even more seriously, even if it’s becoming unfashionable. I’m realizing that it’s important to me, as a creative outlet and a life-discipline. But I am going to change up my game somewhat, and open up to blogging metamorphosis. Here’s what you can expect:

More about my personal life.

I’ve always gravitated toward blogs that are more journalistic and commentary-driven in nature, as opposed to the ‘Dear Diary’ types. And I’ve blogged thusly – I haven’t really thought of my personal life as being that interesting. If I’m hooked by someone writing about their personal lives, it’s usually because they have a really catchy style – they’re not Jacques Cousteau or anything. And neither am I. That said, I received an email from a friend of mine a couple of months back. It wasn’t ‘nice.’ Essentially he said “I know what you think about religion and politics, but what about you? What’s going on in your life? Do you have a spiritual pulse?”

Ouch.

I have things to share; I want to be more transparent with you, dear readers. All is not well in Morrell-land. While I’ll not blog about things that involve others to protect the innocent, I am going to open up more about my own life journey, my struggles and glimpses of grace. True confessions time!

My whole-health journey.

Yes, this includes my continuing ROM experience, but it’s so much more. I feel like I’ve been especially slacking in blogging in this area, mostly because I’ve been completely neglecting the fuller context of my whole life. To know why I’m seeking health, you must know the ‘sickness.’ So I’ll be blogging in more detail about ROM processes and results, as well as centering prayer, DoxaSoma, and (yes, even) mental health. Should be fun.

Book reviews & free stuff!

I’ll continue blogging about books I care about, books I’m working with in the Ooze Viral Bloggers platform, and free eBook & audio book downloads I become aware of. In the midst of publishing industry upheaval and information glut, I feel like some very wise, compassionate, and expanding works are being written. I want to do my best to keep you up to date on what I’m seeing here.

The Future

Finally, I want to post more relating to the Future(s) of Everything, related to what I’m seeing in my studies. Expect food futures (no, not pork bellies!) and publishing futures especially.

This will all have the net effect of six-days-a-week blogging, I think. I want to be realistic about what I can do, but I think that thoughtful repurposing of older, supplemental journal material (as I’m exploring some of the ‘personal’ spaces) will carry some of the extra freight. Thank you for reading – I think the best is yet to come!

Listen to My Beautiful Idol – Free!

https://i0.wp.com/www.zondervan.com/media/images/product/large/0310283108.jpgMy friend Pete Gall is making his infectiously-funny, hard-hitting memoir My Beautiful Idol available for free as an audio book on NoiseTrade if you share it with 5 friends. If you like Dave Eggers, Tom Wolfe, Anne Lamott, Sara Miles, or (yes) Don Miller, you should download this puppy and give it a listen. Word on the street is Pete’s got another book coming out soon; I can’t wait.

Oh, and incidentally, I think Pete’s decision to give this book away for a season in audio format is a smart one from a publishing standpoint; this week, God-willing, I’ll be blogging a bit about the recession, publishing industry, and creative marketing innovation.

But anyway, you can download the free audiobook here.

Cross-Gender Friendships – Too Hot for Christians?

https://i1.wp.com/www.marianuniversity.edu/uploadedImages/Eating_Lunch_MaleFemale05.jpgMy friend Dan Brennan has written provocative and paradigm-shifting book on healthy, intimate female-male friendships in the Body of Christ. It’s kinda controversial; he actually thinks, contra to When Harry Met Sally, that men and women, single and married, can enjoy deep, abiding friendships that not only don’t hinder marriages (for any parties that happen to be married), but they actually help marriage. And further, that cross-gender-friendships are a core part of redemption and God’s New Covenant. And that Jesus wants us to have friends of the opposite sex. His wife agrees. (He’s blogged through a lot of the material here; I highly recommend going through his cross-gender friendship archives and giving ’em a read)

So Dan just got picked up by agent extraordinaire Chip MacGregor, and they’ll be shopping this manuscript around to the right publishers.

Today on his blog Dan asks the question, “Is this book too edgy for even emerging church crowds?”

Our fears of sexuality may not fall into neat categories of emerging or something else. Is it a story of risk?  You betcha.  Does it involve compelling mystery?  Yeah, no formulas or six easy steps.  Does it bring up strong emotional reactions?  Sure it does.  Is it a way of love and healing?  Well, yes it is.  Love and healing.  That’s pretty edgy anytime.

I concur. Read more here.

The Shack – Too Edgy for Christian Publishing?

‘Big Evangelical’ acquisitions editor Mick Silva and lit agent extraordinaire Chip MacGregor offer two nuanced takes.

As many readers here know, I’ve been friends with Windblown co-publisher Wayne Jacobsen for years. (We have similar house-church-like roots, though neither of us exactly claim that nom de plume now) When he approached me in (I guess it was) late 2006 about this novel he’d acquired, he and co-publisher Brad Cummings knew they had something special on their hands. I agreed, so much so that we gave their newly-minted Windblown Media a super-good deal on TheOOZE’s time-tested grassroots blog publicity.

I should probably clarify something right now: The deal wasn’t quite as good as the oftquoted $300 pre-Hachette acquisition ‘total marketing budget.’ That was a benignly unaware statement said early on and picked up the the newswires. Nonetheless, we were indeed The Shack’s total marketing budget, though, helping facilitate one corner of the word-of-mouth that has made The Shack the runaway hit that it is.

So: ‘Too edgy’ for Christian publishing? Some acquisitions editors still claim they wouldn’t take it, citing poor writing or not living up to ‘the rules’ of novel structure (ie, way too much socratic dialogue – the same ‘problem’ that killed that other best-seller, the A New Kind of Christian trilogy – now available in nice new paperbacks, by the way). So much for what the ‘experts’ say – the people have spoken, and they are compelled.

Of course, ‘the people’ have been wrong before – The Prayer of Jabez, Left Behind, and The Secret, anyone? – but the edge is definitely why people are picking up The Shack – Its depiction of suffering is realistic, its depiction of God is controversial, and God’s depicted outlook on living is most bold. It’s clear to me that both the CBA and ABA markets need to expand their horizons if they want to cultivate readers into the 21st century. Otherwise, authors and readers and going to bypass traditional publishing channels altogether.

Coming up in a couple of days: Is ‘God’ a matter up for discussion? Can we fruitfully (and faithfully) re-vision the Divine? Or is searching for a ‘better God’ a fools errand? And, we continue with our series on Emerging Worship…


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