I’m Writing a Book– and the publisher wants YOUR help in naming it!

typingThat’s right– I’m happy to announce that this week I have signed a book deal with my new friends over at Destiny Image Publishers to write a book that is currently scheduled to be released in August of 2014!

I am beyond excited about this opportunity, and am humbled to add a progressive, Anabaptist voice to the larger discourse regarding American Christian culture. I am already busy plugging away at the manuscript, which I don’t have a ton of time to write before it needs to be in the hands of editors, so the only drawback is that between now and the end of November I will probably only be able to write for Formerly Fundie once a week. However, once the manuscript goes out to the editors, everything will be back to normal here at the blog.

Here’s what’s really, really exciting about this book:

The folks at Destiny recognized that I have a unique and active audience, and they want YOU to participate in this process. You are invited to help me name the book, pick a book cover from a few different options, and you’ll get some sneak peeks from the book right here on the blog, and on my Facebook page.

 The book is loosely based on one of my previous articles, 10 Ways We Water Down the Gospel, and has the goal of helping us separate American culture from the original, counter-cultural message of Jesus so that we can develop a more radicalized, more Jesus-like faith.

In the book, I’m going to address a variety of issues which seem to get left out of an Americanized version of the Christian faith– items that if we recover, will revitalize the way we view God. I’ll be addressing such issues as:

-Reorienting your life not on Christian religion, but on the actual person of Jesus

- Rediscovering that living in authentic community with others was part of God’s original plan for humanity

- Embracing the nonviolent teachings of Jesus as a step to spiritual vitality

- Church as something that exists for the “other”

- Rejecting nationalistic loyalty in favor of the Kingdom of God

- Finding comfort in God’s femininity

… and many, many more! The dual goal of the book will not only help uncover neglected aspects of our faith, but will also give you the opportunity to wrestle with a variety of issues in bite-sized form. I promise, you will not see the Christian faith in the same way after reading this book! You’re going to discover something that is far more applicable and far more counter-cultural than anything your grandma’s pastor ever taught you. Also, if you’ve enjoyed getting to know my personal transformation and my journey out of stuffy religion in favor of a Jesus-like faith, there will be plenty of never before shared stories in the book!

But, first things first– I need your help, and time is short.

TimeWhile the first few chapters are already written and I’m clearing most of my schedule to write the others as fast as I reasonably can, we need a name for the book before we move any further. The marketing department wants to get started on a book cover ASAP, so we all need to settle on a title by early next week. Here’s where your voice counts– my publisher really wants to know what you think– so join in the discussion and be part of this process with me!

The working title we currently are learning towards is:

Title: Watered Down

Subtitle: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus

However, we aren’t 100% sold… until we here from you!

What do you guys think of this as a title/subtitle?

Some other options we’ve considered are:

Undiluted… Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus (but undiluted isn’t an actual word, which makes this a long shot unless we want to coin a new term, but that can be risky)

or

Watered Down Christianity: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus

I would also love a title that communicates the opposite of what “watered down” conveys, but I’m not coming up with anything that’s captivating me (certainly “concentrated” doesn’t work). You’ll get major props if you can nail this concept in your idea.

I am also open to a different subtitle… but I want the subtitle to convey that this is a book aimed at rediscovering areas of the Christian faith which tend to be neglected in western, Christian culture– reinforcing that the message of Jesus was, and still is, counter-cultural. Another subtitle I’m personally fond of is: “Reclaiming the Radical Message of Jesus from Contemporary Culture.” (Whatdoya think?)

If you have an idea, Destiny and I are all ears!

Here’s how this works:

We have through the weekend to discuss this as a community, so let’s get started. I can’t promise we will go with any specific idea because this decision is a joint decision I will be making in consultation with the publisher, but we both agree that your feedback is extremely important. So, lets use the comment section at the bottom of this blog to discuss– do you like the title we are leaning towards? Do you have a better idea for a title? Do you have a better idea for a subtitle?

Here’s what I can promise you: If I pick your title or subtitle (and you are the first one to post that idea here in the blog comments), I will give you a personal shout-out in the book.

So, my book needs a title, and your job is to name it… if you put some thought into it, you might even become part of the book itself.

Start commenting with your feedback or ideas in 3…2…1… go!

In the meantime, here is some Dishwalla to get your brains moving… ’cause I wanna here your thoughts on God!

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About Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey, is an Anabaptist author, speaker, and blogger. He is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Theology & Missiology), is currently a 3rd year Doctor of Missiology student (a subset of practical theology) at Fuller Seminary, and is a member of the Phi Alpha Chi Honors Society. His first book, Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, is available now at your local bookstore. He is also a contributor for Time, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, Evangelicals for Social Action, Mennonite World Review, has been a guest on Huffington Post Live, and is one of the CANA Initiators. Ben is also a syndicated author for MennoNerds, a collective of Mennonite and Anabaptist writers. Ben is also co-host of That God Show with Matthew Paul Turner. Ben lives in Auburn, Maine with his wife Tracy and his daughter Johanna.

You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com/ Robert Martin

    How about this, going along with the Anabaptist ideal, the diluted thing, and a play on words with baptism:

    “Getting Baptised without Getting Watered Down”

  • Melanie Storrusten

    I agree it should be the opposite of “watered down.” Naturally the mind goes to beverage metaphors, and on from there:

    Fresh Squeezed

    Not From Concentrate

    200 Proof

    Prescription Strength

    Organic

    Unprocessed

    Thinking of any popular marketing phrases for any ingestable products..

    Just brainstorming. I like 200 Proof, but that’s pretty edgy.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com Benjamin L. Corey

    200 Proof is edgy… I really like it.

  • Heather Coaster Goertzen

    Ben, I’m thrilled for you and this chance to see your words on a printed page!

    Thanks for inviting us along in this process. I’ve loved the shared journey thus far.

    So, working with your idea, I’m thinking the “distillery” concept is along the lines of purifying, settling, concentrating Gospel (or whatever else for that matter), which may conjure ideas other than those that you or IVP are hoping for, then again….

    So…

    Gospel, Distilled

    Distillery of Faith

    ???

  • http://StThomasUnitedChurchofChrist margaret philip

    undiluted – pulp included: the not from concentrate radical message of Jesus

  • Dave

    I’m really liking 200 Proof… I think it fits you Ben.

    I was also thinking of some words like Potent and Dynamic, both getting at something’s ability to bring about change and purity in its effectiveness.

  • Dave

    200 Proof: The Potency of The Radical Message of Jesus

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com Benjamin L. Corey

    Here’s even crazier– “200 Proof Jesus”. I love the concept, and think the edginess would totally fit.

  • Sonya Sampson

    200 Proof: The Radical Message of Jesus – straight-up :)

  • Peggy Ann Mills

    IMHO: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. What’s wrong with “10 Ways We Water Down the Gospel”? Or whatever the number ends up being. It caught my attention just like that and I prefer it to the new ones you came up with. Tells us right up front where you’re headed, and will also cause unsuspecting fundies to pick it up thinking it is going to appeal to them. ;-)

    One of the best titles is already taken: “Jesus Was Not a Christian”

    Another thought I have since you are looking for the opposite of diluted is

    “Concentrated Faith” or “Concentrated Gospel” or “Concentrated Jesus”

    subtitle: “Rediscovering the Undiluted Message of Jesus” -or- “Ways We Water Down the Gospel”

    The cover, then, should picture a big glass of fresh orange juice. LOL

    p.s. Undiluted *is* a word so feel free to use that, too

  • Daniel

    When I read Ben’s posts, I am often overwhelmed (in a really good but also really challenging way) by Christ’s “undiluted” message. Made me think of the following:

    Drinking from the Fire Hose: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus

  • Vidda Chan

    I too like 200 Proof but for non-drinkers, they’d have to think twice what that means.” “Unpolluted” kept popping up for me. I also like “organic” because Jesus’ teaching was exactly that. Though he preached a few hard fast rules, even they were bent to deal with individual situations/people, that life is organic. The focus is on what honors God, and what honors Life. Never should we become so rigid in our beliefs and practices that we only then create another Christian religion… If you get my drift.

  • C.J.G.

    Congratulations!

    One of the antonyms I found for Watered Down was “Beefed Up” . It reminds me of the old Wendy’s commercial, “Where’s the beef?” LOL

    Ha ha!

    Beefed Up Christianity: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus

  • C.J.G.

    When I first read the post, I didn’t start thinking of antonyms. My first thought was something along the lines of “Tasteless Christianity” referring to the tastelessness of American Cultural Christianity. As I reread the post and started looking at the opposite, I’ve had a hard time coming up with a good antonym using taste. “Tasteful Christianity” doesn’t quite sound right for me. But I like the concept of using “taste” in the title.

    Consider Ps 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good…”

    Also, consider that taste is the one sense that encompasses all the

    other senses… Touch, sight, smell, and hear (hear the crunch as you

    bite into the apple). Taste is the full experience. Tasteless infers

    that something lacks in the experience.

    Maybe you could weave this theme into the chapters as you wrestle with

    the “bite size pieces” as you mentioned above.

    And then there’s a bunch illustrations you can get out of Matt 5:13

    “you are the salt of the earth”. What does being the salt of the

    earth mean in context of a progressive radical Jesus like faith

    compared to American cultural Christianity?

    But back to the title, I’m just not there.

  • John Laird

    Just wanted to say I love “200 Proof Jesus” along with either of the subtitles you mention above.

    The only problem with this whole thing is I want to read your book now :P

  • http://gratituesday.blogspot.com jill Roper

    Ben, I am very excited for you. Awesomr opportunitu

    I like the original title but if you are looking for an alternative the here is my recommendation

    Organic Faith and the subtitle is going back to the real message of Jesus

  • http://none Gloria Thomas

    “Our Watered Down Gospel” would be my suggestion. Leave the subtitle the way it is.

  • http://www.MyraAndWatson.com Lisa Schoelles

    How about “Hard Core Gospel: Reclaiming Jesus’ Truth” – it may be too edgy for some, but it is valid. Jesus’ teachings and commands were not meant to make us comfortable – they were given to us to transform our worldview and the world. And they were essentially about Love.

    The title needs to grab a potential reader, and open up for discussion. A little controversy can be good publicity. A little edgy can be intriguing.

    I can’t wait for this book to come out.

  • CM Harthorne

    Undiluted!!!! Yes!!! It does appear as an adjective in both the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries as it’s own word, although not in Merriam Webster. It sound more powerful and positive sounding. I like Undiluted, very much, (can you tell?), I think it’s sounds better and cleaner with a shorter subtitle.

    My suggestion is: UNDILUTED: The Radical Jesus. I know you’re introducing a new way of thinking about things, but bottom line, Ben, you are introducing people to the Real Radical Jesus, Himself!

    UNDILUTED: The Radical Jesus it has a ring to it, and I didn’t find a book with that name already published.

  • CM Harthorne

    And I am very excited for you, whatever you end up naming it.

  • http://Cleanhandsandapureheart.tumblr.com Kim M.

    “Uncultured Christ: Re-examining the Full Strength Gospel of Jesus”

  • Miles

    To throw in the mix my thoughts are around the Cup of Christ, such as;

    Half a Cup; Cup Half full;…

    Radical Refilling with Christ…

    I’ll keep playing!

  • http://www.reflectionsandmeditations.com daniel

    I like the “Undiluted” title. I also like the “200 proof” primarily due to it’s edginess. =) Ultimately, I would go with the 200 proof as for subtitles.. maybe “The gospel – unadulterated”

    in keeping with the title “Undiluted” the subtitle could go something like: “Why we’re drowning in a watered down gospel”.

  • http://Cleanhandsandapureheart.tumblr.com Kim M.

    Being “edgy” for the sake of impact is part of the modern cultural behavior that feeds into the watering down of truth.

  • http://StThomasUnitedChurchofChrist margaret philip

    Another suggestion: Who Was He, Really? 10 Ways We Water Down Jesus

    While 200 Proof is edgy and catchy, it is a bit of a misnomer for we will never completely know 100% who Jesus was/is. To whom are you speaking with this book/title? Are you hoping to affirm those who already reject what fundamentalism has done to Jesus, are you hoping to start a conversation with

    those who are on the edge of seeing there is more to Jesus than they have been taught, or are you speaking to those who have already rejected Jesus and may be ready to give him another chance?

    I personally like your original title: Watered Down Subtitle: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus. It is honest and straight forward

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com Benjamin L. Corey

    Great thoughts so far!

    @Kim M- I agree, that edgy simply for the sake of being edgy isn’t the right motivation. If I went with that title, it would be because I felt it was a really good fit to communicate the message of the book and not simply to be provocative.

  • Laura Shattuck

    Hi Ben,

    I seem to have misplaced my creativity today. So I don’t have any suggestions really, except for Salt. Just simply Salt. But I think I like Undiluted better. It doesn’t matter what you call it. I just want to read it. It can’t be published soon enough. ‘

  • http://www.MyraAndWatson.com Lisa Schoelles

    After a day of reading all the suggestions – I am partial to the “Undiluted” in it describes the intent to get to the full-strength Gospel. Why not say “Full Strength Gospel” with a tag line like “Same Perfect Message – with All the Power of the Original” or something like that.

  • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com Ryan Blanchard

    I’d warn against pulling a Joseph Smith and trying to claim that here you come to present the *REAL TRUTH*™ that has been hidden/ignored by the masses. If your goal is to point out historically accurate information vs. modern distortions of it, I’d say something about history in the title (or sub-title). 200 Proof is pretty kick-ass, but I’m not sure your target audience would get it.

  • http://www.geocolas.be/Georges Georges

    You say: «I would also love a title that communicates the opposite of what “watered down” conveys». CS Lewis did the same with the Pilgrim’s Progress, by turning it into the Pilgrim’s Regress.

    So, if we wish the Gospel not to be watered down, it should be watered… *UP*.

    Don’t be afraid of coining new terms, or new meanings of old words. Play with the words. Jesus dit it a lot. You know, other people said «War on Errorism» and «Punk in Drublic», and we all new what they meant.

    If you use the term «radical», it is akin to: Mennonite, Christian anarchist, Christian punk… movements. Not bad. But if you wish to distinguish yourself thence, you should use something else in its stead.

  • http://www.geocolas.be/Georges Georges

    Subtitle ideas: «God Is Not a Fundy» / «Jesus Is Not a Fundy»

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com Benjamin L. Corey

    @Ryan– I TOTALLY agree. Nothing is more annoying than a person or group who claims to have the missing message of Jesus. That’s not what I’m writing about– I’m writing about aspects of the message of Jesus that get lost in our current culture, and call us to rediscover how they can revitalize our lives.

    @Margaret– yes, the audience you describe is who I think of every time I sit down to write; those are the folks who have my heart. My hope is to write it in such a way that an evangelical would also read it, so as to spark a broader discussion, but the folks you describe would be the target audience I always write for.

    Keep the ideas coming, they’re great!

  • Danna Watkins

    I love “Undiluted: The Radical Jesus” or “Meet the Radical Jesus”. I agree that your non drinkers will look at 200 Proof and say “Huh?” The Reading/English teacher in me says keep it short and eye catching. I also like “Undiluted: Become a Radical Jesus Follower”. How about “Undiluted: Living on the Edge With Jesus?” Okay. I’ll stop now.

  • CM Harthorne

    Yes, I like Danna’s suggestion, “Undiluted: Become a Radical Jesus Follower”. And I personally would tend to pass by a book starting with ‘Watered Down’ on a Christian bookshelf, I think the term has been used in too many legalistic sermons over the years, and is ruined for me. I still like, “Undiluted: The Radical Jesus”, the best, but “Undiluted, Following the Radical Jesus”, also sounds nice.

  • twinkie1cat

    Undiluted I like. “Undiluted and Unpolluted”….Life with our radical Savior. I like better.

  • twinkie1cat

    I don’t care for “200 Proof”. It would be harder to market and possibly turn off the many GLBT Christians who are recovering alcoholics.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com Benjamin L. Corey

    Thanks everyone for participating in this process! I spoke with my publisher this morning, and we do in fact have a final title…. but…. it’s a secret! You’ll find out as soon as voting begins for the cover!


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