What’s Up at Jericho Books?

 

Late last week, Hachette Book Group announced that Wendy Grisham was being let go, and that her imprint, Jericho Books, was going to be dramatically downsized. In the Christian publishing world, this is very big news. (Full disclosure: my agent, Kathy Helmers, pitched Jericho several book proposals from me; Jericho did not bid on any of them, and I ultimately signed with another publisher. I harbor no animus whatsoever, and Wendy and I remain friends.)

Jericho arrived on the publishing scene with a bang, paying significant advances to acquire big name authors like Brian McLaren, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Philip Yancey, and Shane Hipps. Their first book to the make the New York Times bestseller list was Nadia’s Pastrix this fall.

Big New York publishing houses like Hachette have been snapping up evangelical publishers for some time now, as Christian books have one of the few bullish areas in publishing. Thomas Nelson and Zondervan are owned by NewsCorp, Waterbrook and Multnomah are owned by Penguin Random House, etc. You get the picture. The conglomeration in publishing is a reality.

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Why Does Integral Philosophy Sound Like New Age?

I can’t make heads nor tails of this.

A lot of my friends like integral philosophy. I remember years ago when evangelicals readers were scandalized because Rob Bell had a couple endnotes citing Ken Wilber in one of his books. I’ve been encouraged to read Wilber by others, like Brian McLaren and Shane Hipps. I’m not saying Brian and Shane are fanboys, I’m just saying they’ve told me I might like it.

Some, however, are fanboys. Every once in a while, I’ll run into someone for whom integral philosophy in general, and Wilber specifically, is the key that unlocks the door. It’s the answer to all of life’s questions. Honestly, it reminds me of the Preterists I know, who basically claim, “If you could only see what I see, everything would make sense!”

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“What Is Brian McLaren’s Position on Homosexuality?”

Brian McLaren in Malaysia in 2007

That was the very first question I was asked at the first coffee break at Thursday’s conference here in Kuala Lumpur. It was a conference of pastors and other church leaders to explore the perspectives of the emerging church movement. The question, asked honestly and not aggressively, brings up all sorts of issues for a Christian leader/speaker/author like myself in a foreign land like this.

Brian was here in 2007, and many people have spoken fondly of his visit. I’ve addressed and met with many of the same people. The pastor who asked the question was one of them.

But, he told me, he’d read lots of things on the Internet about Brian since that visit — about Brian’s universalism and social views and that Brian blessed his gay son’s wedding. He said, “I’d like to ask Brian about sexuality and about John 14, but I figure asking you is the next best thing.”

He said this with a smile. Like I said, he was not being disrespectful or aggressive. He really wanted to know.

There are three issues that this confronted me with:

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Who Should Replace Giglio?

If POTUS has called me, I don’t know it. I dropped my iPhone.

Two lists have surfaced — there are probably more. Salon has one (that includes Your Favorite Blogger):

Brian McLaren: In the post-evangelical, non-denominational “emerging church” movement, McLaren has distinguished himself for promoting the idea of what he calls a New Kind of Christian (also the title of his 2001 book). Time magazine named him one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in 2005, a year when conservative evangelicals were ascendant after helping George W. Bush secure a second term.

Rabbi David Saperstein: Newsweek dubbed him one of the most influential rabbis in the country and the Washington Post called him a “quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill.” Rabbi Saperstein, who represents the Reform Jewish Movement in Washington, has worked to combat hate crimes and discrimination, in addition to pushing a host of other progressive causes in Congress. He’s even had a trial run, delivering the invocation at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

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