Review: Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly came out with its review of I Sold My Soul on eBay. It will appear in the March 10, 2007 issue:

Mehta, an atheist, once held an unusual auction on eBay: the highest bidder could send Mehta to a church of his or her choice. The winner, who paid $504, asked Mehta to attend numerous churches, and this book comprises Mehta’s responses to 15 worshipping communities, including such prominent megachurches as Houston’s Second Baptist, Ted Haggard’s New Life Church in Colorado Springs, and Willow Creek in suburban Chicago.(Mehta ranks Willow Creek as the church most likely to draw him back.) Mehta, who grew up Jain, offers some autobiographical context, then discusses nonreligious people’s approach to topics such as death and suffering. But all that is just a preamble to Mehta’s sketches of the churches he attended. He doesn’t find much community in churches; families sit far apart from other families, and people race “out the front doors to their cars” as soon as the service ends. Churches earn high marks for Mehta when they offer great speakers and focus on community outreach, but they also do many things wrong, including singing repetitive songs and alienating non-Christians by ubiquitously proclaiming them to be “lost.” Mehta’s musings will interest Christians who seek to proselytize others and who want to identify their evangelistic mistakes. (Apr. 17)

At this point, you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking: That was fact. Where’s the review?

I don’t know.

But what’s up with that last line…? “Mehta’s musings will interest Christians who seek to proselytize others and who want to identify their evangelistic mistakes.”

I don’t know whether to say “Thanks” or “You’re welcome” or “Huh?!?”

The purpose of the book is to tell Christians how to dialogue with those who don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus and the Bible. You won’t convert us, but you can converse with us. I never considered that to be proselytizing. If it is, it’s certainly not by any definition I’ve ever heard.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Publishers Weekly, I Sold My Soul on eBay, Hemant Mehta, Houston, Second Baptist, Ted Haggard, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, Willow Creek, Chicago, Jain, proselytize, Christian, Jesus, Bible[/tags]

  • King Aardvark

    At least they didn’t say, “Mehta, his book sucks,” or anything along those lines. So I think you’re good. Based on the description they provide, I doubt many Christians would be interested because it’s just so rational and fair sounding. Or they’ll say, “He went to all those churches and wasn’t converted? He must have a closed heart and is just trying to blasphemy God!”

  • Helen

    Hemant, it seems like they didn’t quite know what to make of your book.

    Those of us who’ve read the reviews you wrote for Off The Map know how insightful, thoughtful and articulate your comments about churches are and are expecting your book to be well worth reading. (I enjoyed the preview chapter very much, by the way!)

    PW should have asked one of us to review it :)

  • Jim Henderson


    I thought it was a but dispassionate as well. Not sure if the person reviewing was not getting it or not interested.

    Either way all pubiicity is good publicity.

    Keep playing your words- “you may not convert us but you can converse with us” – Or even better “If you cant convert me will you converse with me?”

    I think the strongest selling point for your book is that it is a guidebook for people and leaders wanting to understand the growing interest in atheism especially among young people.

    You have to remember that for Boomers – when you say Atheist they see Madelyn- that is your challenge

    Keep framing the conversation – when you say “friendly and atheist”in the same sentence over and over you force a reframe

  • Mike C

    I’m surprised that they chose to use the word “proselytize”. That’s a rather negative term these days. E.g. if someone were to say I was “proselytizing”, I would think they were criticizing my actions, not merely describing them. It’s like the word “Fundamentalist”. You can’t say words like that anymore without inferring all kinds of negative connotations. I don’t think Publishers Weekly meant it that way, but I wish they’d be more careful with their terms.