Saturday, December 27, 2014
An awful lot has changed in the world of publishing in the past decade, and one of the really positive changes is the ability for authors to connect and interact with their readers. It used to be that an author could only connect with readers via the post office (remember that?) or if they would travel to give a lecture or book reading in some far off town. Nowadays though there are a ton of ways to connect through the internet which opens up lots of possibilities which are really exciting.
I'm been focusing on doing that with the release of my new book Disarming Scripture in a number of ways. The biggest so far was the book's blog tour where lots of awesome folks (see the complete list here) helped to spread the word about my book through reviews, reflections, excerpts and interviews. I also have a number of podcast interviews lined up which should be great.
That's how I've been trying to spread the word, but I also have been hearing back from you about Disarming Scripture in the form of blog comments, emails, Tweets, Facebook posts, and of course Amazon reviews.
This feedback is really important for authors like me. For example it's really great to hear which parts of the book spoke to you, and lots of you have posted those kinds of quotes from the book on Twitter and Facebook. Others of you have written emails sharing about your own struggles, and asking probing and insightful questions.
Honestly, the core message of the book is not to provide all the answers so we can stop asking those hard questions, but rather to develop how to ask questions motivated by compassion. Learning to ask good questions is the key to learning how to read Scripture like Jesus.
In other words, I think the next step would be to have conversations together, to have a place to work through the issues that book raises.
That's where you come in.
First of all, I'd like to hear what your questions are. So let me know in the comments below. So far I've heard several really good ones like this one from Kent:
"If the Bible's purpose is to bring us through competing views of God and morality along a trajectory that leads us to love, and if that trajectory is to continue past the New Testament, then why continue to use the Bible after God's Spirit of love has given us this new heart?"
That's a great question. What it gets at, I think, is that we may need to find ways of reading and interacting with Scripture that are very different from what we may be accustomed to. How can we read the Bible in a way that leads us to go further and deeper in the way of Jesus, rather than in a way that tethers us to the past?
These are questions that deserve a conversation, where we work out the answers together, and so I'll be returning to this question and others like it in future blog posts. But right now, what I'd like to hear from you is: What are the questions that you have after reading the book? So let me know in the comments!
Secondly, I'd like to brainstorm about ways to have those conversations. We can of course do this through the blog (www.therebelgod.com), but I'm thinking there are other ways that could be even better. For example, Brad Jersak and I are planning on having a Google chat in the end of February where folks can call in to talk about Disarming Scripture. I did something similar for the Beyond the Box Gathering where we had a live Q&A session with the group. I like these a lot because it's audible and live (if you miss it you can of course listen to it later, too!) which brings something that is different from written stuff.
Another idea would be to have a book discussion group, perhaps on Facebook or Goodreads. I'd love to hear from you guys what your experiences have been with these. I'm a bit torn on Facebook honestly. On the one hand lots of people use it, so it seems good for that reason. On the other hand the interface can be pretty confusing since it is poorly organized and conversations can get lost in endless sea of timeline posts.
So if you've been part of an online book group discussion, I'd really love to hear what the platform was. What worked, and what did not?
These are just two examples, but I'm sure there must be lots more. So, again, I'm looking to you guys for input. What are some other ways to interact that we can try out?