You May Hate My Theology, But Just Look at My Marketing!

Jim Fletcher of “Prophecy Matter” pens an unintentionally hilarious column:

It’s always important, I think, to separate our sometimes-disdain for other writers whose ideas run counter to our own … from the tools they use to market themselves. In other words, learning from someone is more useful than ruminating over their existence in the writing field.

Witness the book tour efforts of “Emergent” writers and speakers Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones. Full disclosure: I can’t stand their “theology” (Jones for example has recently announced that he simply doesn’t believe in the doctrine of original sin), but the tools they employ to ply their worldview in the marketplace? Now that’s something we can internalize.

A recent item in Publishers Weekly underscores the innovation certain writers and their publishers have in separating their projects from the ocean of books being published: “Meanwhile, some Emergents are redefining the book tour. This summer Jossey-Bass authors and self-described ‘postmodern Emergent hipsters’ Mark Scandrette, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt took to the highways in a biodiesel-powered RV on a 32-city, old-time ‘Church Basement Roadshow: A Rollin’ Gospel Revival.’ Says executive editor Sheryl Fullerton, ‘It was very Emergent, a complete reinvention of what a book tour is.’”

No kidding.

Look, I lament the fact that Jones, Pagitt and friends are conning our young people with aberrant theology, but in terms of marketing worldview, they are light years ahead of conservative authors.

Seriously, you should read the rest: Why your rivals sell more books.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone (A Note to Readers)

Dear readers and friends (both Americans and non),

Today, I will stop by the gym to ride the bike for a bit, then get the kids from their mom’s house — they’re with us from 9am-2pm. We will proceed to a traditional Puritan re-enactment/worship service at Colonial Church, the church of my youth. After that, we’ll finish baking the six pies that we’re responsible to bring to dinner and get in a game of touch football before sitting down to a feast.

Among the things for which I’m grateful is you, and I mean that quite sincerely. When I started blogging in 2004, it was a lonely enterprise. I was lonely — my early posts were composed in an empty apartment in Princeton, NJ. My family had left after my first year of coursework, and I commuted between Minneapolis and New Jersey. My desk in the apartment was a door propped up on two sawhorses. I slept on an air mattress. I blogged because I’d usually finished all my reading by dinnertime, and I didn’t have a TV. Like I say, it was a lonely enterprise.

Most everything has changed since then. I am now in a marriage that is brimming with love and acceptance, for which I am truly grateful. I am surrounded by friends and family in Minnesota who love me for who I am.

And blogging is no longer lonely. With your clicks and your comments, your likes and your retweets, you have transformed this space from a platform for my thoughts into an electronic space of conversation and debate. I am honored — even humbled — to be the convener of that. I don’t know that my thoughts are always worth reading, but you’ve given me the benefit of the doubt.

I am thankful.

Thanks for coming here to read.

Thanks for commenting.

Thanks for your friendship.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Christian Progressives Come Out of the Shadows

The NY Times rehash on the religious angle on the election is interesting. There is, of course, the wailing and gnashing of teeth by Bishop Ralph Reed and Bishop Al Mohler about the moral decay of our country and the changing face of the electorate.

Then there’s this sneaky paragraph:

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Mark Driscoll and Rob Bell Embrace [Video]

This blog has just passed a milestone: 100,000 pageviews this month. I’ve been blogging since 2004, and that is a first. Many thanks to longtime readers and new readers. Glad to have you all.

Some bloggers are loathe to publicize their traffic numbers, but a couple of my favorite bloggers (Andrew Sullivan and Rachel Held Evans) routinely disclose their traffic. Like them, I want to be forthcoming with you. And I also want to say thank you.

I hope that this blog will continue to be a place where we can debate theology, consider the foibles of church life, and occasionally share a laugh.