Perhaps the most significant life lesson I’ve learned in my young adulthood is that knowing all the answers isn’t as important as asking good questions. So every now and then I like to use Fridays to 1) link to other bloggers and writers who have asked compelling questions during the week and 2) open the floor for you to share whatever questions you’ve been wrestling with lately.
In response to our recent conversations about the Gospel, Jen at Conversion Diary asks, Can you share the gospel in 140 characters or less?
RJS at Jesus Creed asks, Is free will a figment of our imagination?
Keith asks, What stage of Lost grief are you in?
Chris Brogan asks, Do women want to lead?
Matt Appling at The Church of No People asked me a bunch of good questions in an interview he posted today. My favorite question was, What does this generation of Christians have to offer the next generation?
You can read my response here.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you would respond to that question. So, today I’m posing two questions…
1. What does this generation of Christians have to offer the next generation?
2. What questions are you asking this week—on your blog, at your dinner table, in your head, in your heart? (Feel free to include links!)
You can answer just one or both...cause it's a free country and it's Friday.
It seems like every couple of years, we cycle into a summer season that is packed full of weddings and births. There are showers to attend, appropriate dresses to buy, and a bunch of late RSVP cards stuck to the refrigerator like expectant little butterflies.
Dan and I are approaching one of those hectic summers ourselves, and in addition to all the weddings and births, we’re gearing up for the culmination of three years of hard work and anticipation with the big book launch in July.
As I talk to expectant mothers and sexually frustrated couples, and as I wake up each morning worrying about book sales and reviews, one theme seems to be recurring: Waiting sucks.
And when you’re waiting, it often seems like that’s all you’re really doing—day in and day out.
We’ve been waiting for the book release, waiting for Dan’s business to pick up, waiting to find the right meeting place for The Mission, waiting for publishers to respond to book #2, waiting for the reconciliation of strained relationships, waiting for money to come in, waiting for direction, waiting for word.
I wrote a blog post about waiting during the season of Advent, but had no idea that all of this waiting would continue through Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and now Pentecost.
So I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that God probably wants me to learn how to be patient, not just for a season, but for a lifetime. If I cannot learn to find peace in the midst of anticipation, I will never experience the joy of contentment, for “we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22-23)
It seems that waiting is part of what it means to be human, part of what it means to be connected to God’s creation.
I’m still trying to figure out what it means to embrace waiting as a part of life, but so far the most interesting fringe benefit I’ve observed is a newfound capacity for absorbing the significance of the little things.
If I didn’t have to wait for the next book deal, I’d be less humbled by the first. If I didn’t have to wait for the next paycheck, I’d be less creative with how I spent the last. If I didn’t have to wait for “success”, I’d never know I didn’t really need it to begin with. If I didn’t have to wait for more, I’d never know I already had enough.
Maybe, in the long run, the waiting will be worth it.
So, what are you waiting for? And what have you learned in the process?
(Photo by teo_ladodicivideo)
If you haven’t already, check out my new book trailer above. Special thanks Dan for putting together the video and Amanda for providing the music. I’m lucky to have such a talented husband and musical sister!
Also, you may have noticed some endorsements floating around. To read them in their entirety, just visit the book page. I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to get this kind of feedback from authors I so admire.
So, how can you help spread the word?
The best thing you can do is simply tell your friends about Evolving in Monkey Town. The cool thing is, if you have an online platform from which you typically do that sort of thing, Zondervan will send you a free advance copy to review! (Note: Advance copies are limited, so be sure to reserve yours right away.)
If you’re interested, here’s what you need to do:
- Leave your name and a link to your blog in the comment section after today’s post, or contact medirectly.
- Get a free advance review copy of Evolving in Monkey Town in the mail. Read and enjoy!
- Write a blog post about your response to the book, preferably the week of June 28-July 4, when it officially releases.
- Post your review on the Evolving in Monkey Town Amazon page.
- Spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, and actual interaction with your fellow human beings.
(Note: I’m available for a limited number of interviews, so if you are interested in doing that, please specify.)
Also, please contact me if you are a small group leader interested in using Evolving in Monkey Town as part of a book study…or if you write for an online/print publication and would like a copy for review….or if you are Donald Miller.
Thanks ahead of time for your support! It really means a lot.
In the meantime, feel free to use the comment section to tell us a little about your blog—what you write about, how long you’ve blogged, favorite posts, what your readers are like, etc.
There are three things I’m really bad at: 1) math, 2) asking for help, 3) selling things.
So far I’ve managed to successfully avoid any prolonged exposure to #1 by majoring in English Literature, working in journalism, and marrying a man. But as the summer release of Evolving in Monkey Town approaches, it’s become clear that #2 and #3 are the inevitable byproducts of writing and publishing a book. If I want to continue avoiding #1 for the rest of my life, I’ve got to partner with Zondervan to sell this book, and I’m going to need your help to do that.
I’ve had trouble selling things ever since the annual magazine drive at my elementary school in Birmingham rendered me hopelessly insecure about my marketing skills. I’d get a potential customer on the phone, deliver the pitch (in a tone strikingly similar to the door-to-door magazine salesman in "Office Space"), and at the first sign of hesitation on the customer’s part, apologize for calling at dinnertime and hurriedly end the conversation.
It wasn’t so much their rejection that I feared. It was the pity with which they delivered it. I hated the idea of making people feel as guilty for saying no as I felt for asking.
Of course, the current situation is a little different because I really believe in this book, and I think its message is important enough to share. I can honestly say I poured the best of myself into this project, crafting each chapter and every sentence as gifts for the reader to keep and enjoy, long after the book is closed.
I guess in all my enthusiasm, I sorta forgot that my gift would cost about $14.99 to receive.
So as we transition into the next two months of articles and interviews, launch parties and signings, trailers and endorsements and reviews, I want to make a few promises and then ask a few questions.
First, a few promises:
1. I promise not to use God as a marketing tool. Themes about faith, doubt, and spirituality run throughout Evolving in Monkey Town and will undoubtedly surface in marketing material and reviews. But I think it’s wrong to turn these things into spiritualized bullying tactics designed to guilt people into buying, reading, and agreeing with a book. (Jon Acuff’s the only guy who can pull that off with just the right amount of satire and whit!) Please keep me accountable as I strive to honestly convey the message of my book without using God’s name in vain.
2. I promise not to pretend I’m not marketing the book when I am indeed marketing the book. Some Christian writers like to say that God is their agent, the Holy Spirit their publicist, and that they just sit back and watch as their book miraculously flies off the shelves. Well, my agent is Rachelle and my publicist is Jessica. While I certainly hope my work brings glory and honor to God, I think it’s important to be honest about the fact that publishing is a business and there are sales projections to meet. I want to make this a sustainable career, which means my prayers for faithfulness are always accompanied by a commitment to work hard, be smart, and take advantage of good opportunities. Please keep me accountable by calling me out on my crap if I ever imply that my work is exclusively a ministry or that I’m not surrounded by a bunch of talented, creative, and business-savvy people who are helping me succeed.
3. I promise not to make every post about the book. My favorite thing about the blog is the conversations that follow in the comment section, so let’s keep that going by doing what we’re already good at—talking together about faith, doubt, politics, insecurity, theology, news, hopes, fears, trends, questions, entertainment, and sock monkeys. Please keep me accountable by sending me a kind but firm email if you get sick and tired of hearing about the book.
And now a few questions:
1. What makes you want to buy an author’s book?
2. What makes you NOT want to buy an author’s book? (Are there any marketing tactics that especially bother you?)
3. What advice would you give me as I approach the book launch? Becuase I genuinely value it.
Tomorrow I'll write a post about how you can be part of the Evolving in Monkey Town blog tour and I'll include my new book trailer! Things are about to pick up - which is why I wanted to have this conversation first. Thanks ahead of time for your graciousness and support. It really means a lot to me.
(photo by: jjay69)