A few weeks ago, a young web designer named Daniel Gurtner (whom I don’t know and have never met), bought my book, “I’m OK—You’re Not: The Message … [and so on].” Out of the goodness of his heart, Daniel then made the below, which is my first ever book video. Built by a fan! For free! Which I can totally afford!
Kids today. They clearly don’t have enough to do. Thank God.
The day Daniel shared with me his clip, I also got an email from a stranger named James, who wrote:
“I just finished reading I’m OK—You’re Not, and I really enjoyed it. It has forced me to do some serious thinking, and brought to the surface many things that have bothered me for years, but that I could never put a finger on. In the twenty-five years I have been a Christian, I have inadvertently pushed away countless ‘Normie’ friends, and been unable to get very close to many others, because of this pressure I have always felt to convert them. Your methodology and rationale make so much more sense than what I’ve been taught all these years about ‘how to witness.’
“I have always had this overwhelming sense of guilt for having friends for years, and for not ‘being a good witness’ to them through word or deed. I am hoping that by practicing the tips and suggestions in your book I can relieve some of this guilt, and finally start to love others as Christ intended. I am also hoping I will become more Christlike through the process.
“Thank you for your courage in writing a book that needed to be written, knowing full well the scathing vitriol you were likely to get from the Christian community as a whole. I am praying that many more people will hear your message and take it to heart, and that God will continue to strengthen, encourage and bless you. You are doing His work, despite what some detractors may say to the contrary. Your book was not only an epiphany, but also a paradigm shift as for me. Thank you again for your work. May God continue to bless you.”
How sweet is that?
The next morning, I had waiting in my inbox an email from a man named Bob, who wrote me to say:“I am a 48 year old Texan who, after many years of believing I was not a Christian—because my preference for an allegorical understanding of scripture alienated me from the fundamentalist Christians who basically dominate the scene here in Texas—finally eased up on myself and decided my beliefs were indeed very Christian. I attend an Episcopal church in Houston and have gotten great comfort from a faith tradition that allows for reason in addition to scripture and tradition. And now I concern myself mostly with looking for and finding God’s message in scripture, rather than finding all the contradictions that drive the fundamentalists nuts.
“Anyway, for some time I had been trying to work out in my mind what I considered a central paradox in discipleship: the conflicts inherent between the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. I knew in my heart that the Great Commandment should trump all, but felt somehow I was missing the boat, watching the Baptists across the street reel in converts while we Episcopalians basically die off without replacing ourselves.
“And then I ran across your book on the internet [here]. I impulsively spent the $6.99 to download it (don’t spend it all in one place now), and I am digesting it as fast as I can. … I wanted to thank you for I’m OK – You’re Not. It is just exactly where I am right now. I am going to forward the link for it to my priests and a few of my more tolerant fellow parishioners, in hopes that you’ll make a few more $6.99 sales; and of course, so that we might better advance the discussion of how we Episcopalians can improve our discipleship. Thanks and God bless.”
Isn’t that extremely nice of him to write?
Then I saw that in the three days since I’d put I’m OK–You’re Not up for sale on Scribd.com, one thousand people had viewed it, and some 25 Scribders had added it to their list of favorites.
For the obvious reasons, it’s Basically Uncomfortable for me to share with you this lovely little … input flurry. But then it feels weird not to, too, since … well … I mean …. you guys and I are … I mean … well ….