Thinking Out Loud

July 21, 2015

Shack Author Paul Young’s Newest Releases in Two Months

Paul Young - EveAfter the huge success of The Shack, many publishers were after Paul Young’s third novel, Eve. When first released, The Shack was a game-changer for Christian publishing, its commercial success rivaled only by the controversy it created, with many of the negative responses coming from people who had never read the book. It also was put in the rare situation of having various other books written about it. 

Radio host Drew Marshall once quipped, “There are two kinds of people; people who like The Shack, and people who don’t like The Shack;” indicative of the great divide the book’s portrayal of God created.

After nearly five years, Young reappeared with Crossroads, followed by another three year gap that’s about to change on September 22nd when Eve, a 320-page novel releases simultaneously in hardcover and paperback from Howard, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

From the publisher’s blurb (excerpt):

…When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the next, John the Collector finds a young woman inside—broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers her genetic code connects her to every known human race. She is a girl of prophecy and no one can guess what her survival will mean…

…Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional misconceptions about who we are and how we’re made. As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.

Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does—complete, unique, and not constrained to cultural rules or limitations…

You can read the full blurb at this link.

In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly published on Monday, Howard Vice President and Editor in Chief Ami McConnell said,

I think the thing that I am most proud of is that it’s the product of decades of thought and perhaps even pain on Paul’s part, and it’s a very rich experience. Every read that I’ve done has brought out new levels of awareness and understanding. This is a story that has never been told before. I have been working on just novels – no non-fiction – for a decade, and so I know the tropes. I know what notes you have to hit with certain kinds of stories, and I’m faithful to make sure that authors hit those notes. This is a story I have never read before. It’s a new approach to a story as old as our culture.

You can read more of that interview at this link.

 

Advertisements

November 7, 2012

Wednesday Link List


It’s Wednesday again. Did they settle that election thing last night?

Pastor Gene Appel stands in the brand new auditorium at Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, California; which opened this weekend. (See item 5 above).

September 26, 2011

Do “Apologetics” and “Protest” Belong in the same Breath?

I am a person captivated by the study of Christian apologetics.  I’m not saying I’m very good at it, but my personal library, and the collection at the bookstore I manage are somewhat saturated with apologetics titles.  Of course, when you hear that, some think Norman Geisler, some will assume Ravi Zacharias, some think I mean Hank Hanegraaff, others will be reminded of Josh McDowell, while some will automatically think Ray Comfort.  I don’t care.  I think they all have something to offer, though I prefer some approaches over others.

The reason I like apologetics is that I believe there are a number of questions seekers have that we should have answers to, rather than looking clueless like the proverbial deer caught in the proverbial headlights.  I’ve always thought that, “Because our pastor said so;” was a bit weak when dealing with people who are needing to overcome serious barriers to faith.

But I think that part of the “Always be ready to give an account,” concept has to been seen in the context of someone  who is asking us a question.  It doesn’t mean that we get out in the streets and start picketing people we disagree with.  Especially picketing other members of the body, which, if the “body” analogy is taken correctly, means we’re picketing ourselves.   It’s a defense of the faith, which is implied; a defensive posture not an offensive posture; and shouldn’t be confused with evangelism.  So I was particular distressed to read this report at Chad Estes’ blog:

President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, Matt Slick, spent the evening protesting W. Paul Young’s (the author of The Shack) speech at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.

He missed an incredible night of stories of God’s intimate and loving involvement in our lives while standing on the street corner letting people [know] they shouldn’t be attending what he thought would be a heretical discussion.

He tried to get into a discussion with me about universalism when I went out to take his picture. He asked me if I thought everybody was forgiven. I told him I thought that was Jesus’ point on the cross – “Forgive them, Papa, they are clueless what they are doing.” I thought it was a slick answer but Slick didn’t seem to think so.

Now again, remember, I have a link to CARM on this blog.  I support people doing apologetics. Real apologetics.  I’m not so strong on in your face discernment ministry. Especially in a public forum.  Most especially in a public forum. I may question the doctrine at my local Roman Catholic Church, but I’m not going to stand outside and picket the place; especially if it may represent a small first step on a journey to faith for someone who is truly seeking after God. 

And I’m not writing this out of a loyalty to The Shack.  The book is flawed. But the book is good. And it’s done a lot of good.

Sorry; I gotta repeat Chad’s second paragraph here with some added emphasis:

He missed an incredible night of stories of God’s intimate and loving involvement in our lives while standing [outside] on the street corner letting people [know] they shouldn’t be attending what he thought would be a heretical discussion.

There is so much of this that goes on within Kingdom borders, and it is so very sad.

September 6, 2011

Christian Publishing Makes Strange Bedfellows

One of my all time favorite pictures: This is a real picture of a real store that existed for many years in Napanee, Ontario; better known as the home of rocker Avril Lavigne. Even after they got rid of the beds and went full-out into Christian books, they continued to carry the little bottles of whatever it is you add to the water in waterbeds…

If publishing is your interest however, you might be interested in this story: Paul Young, author of The Shack has signed with Hachette Book Group to release his next novel.  More at Christian Retailing.

And the John Hagee book, Jerusalem Countdown, is being made into a movie.  That story was also at Christian Retailing.

August 24, 2011

Wednesday Link List

I like a church that covers all the basics for living

Years from now, when anthropologists discover this blog, they will say, “Truly, this was the Wednesday Link List for August 24th, 2011.”

  • Randy Alcorn quotes a Chuck Colson report that we shouldn’t be talked into thinking there’s been a lessening of persecution of Christians in China.
  • The author and publishers of The Shack — a bestselling Christian novel — found themselves on opposite sides of a lawsuit which was finally settled out of court.
  • Just what WOULD the Beatles have come up with, creatively speaking, had they been followers of Jesus all those years ago? A good friend of ours has finally given us the green light to release the link for a take-off to The Beatles “When I’m Sixty-Four.”  So enjoy “Matthew Six Three-Four.”  (The link will open your computer’s media player.) Stay tuned for more from Martin Barret on a soon to be released project featuring this song and others.
  • Schullergate Item of the Week:  The Crystal Cathedral succeeded in getting a dissenting website, Crystal Cathedral Music, taken down this week. The site featured commentary from former members of the CC choir and orchestra and friends of the Cathedral’s former music style.
  • Darryl Dash warns pastors and others that when it comes to email and online correspondence, nothing is confidential.
  • Christianity Today profiles Dave Ramsey, noting the new Momentum curriculum, designed to bring the same advice to cash-strapped churches as is given individuals.
  • Alex Mejias at the blog High Street Hymns gives you Five Reasons to Use Liturgical Music in Your Contemporary Worship Service.  (And no, “Liturgical songs are free of copyright worries” wasn’t in the list.)  [HT: Zac Hicks.]
  • This one’s a repeat from April, but I read it again and laughed again.  What if churches used their signs to suggest “purpose statements” that were actually achievable?
  • DotSub — the online service which adds subtitles in any language to your videos — picks up a June, 2010 TED Talk by Larry Lessig which deals with copyright and fair use, but begins with an observation about Republicans: They go to church.
  • Ronnie McBrayer adds his voice to The Underground, a Christian website like no other, and notes that a lot of people do strange things because they thought they heard God’s voice.
  • In an in-depth article, CNN ponders whether Christians can win the war against pornography. (Over 3,000 comments as of Monday.)
  • Julie Clawson considers the theological implications of the Veggie Tales song, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.”  Okay, that’s not exactly what this post is all about.
  • Just discovering the music of Phil Wickham.  Gave Mrs. W. the Cannons album last week for being good!  This older song, You’re Beautiful, is closing in on 2,000,000 YouTube views.  For the already-converted (!) here’s a clip from Phil’s October-releasing album, Response.
  • Darrell at Stuff Fundies Like delivers a fundy take on I Cor. 13; though in all honesty, I gotta say this one is high in contention for being tomorrow’s post here.
  • You’re not really going to the bathroom at Bible study group are you?  Bryan Lopez reblogged Tech-Crunch’s Technology is the New Smoking.
  • Somewhat related: Chrystal at Life After Church introduces a new blog series by describing a very non-Baptist way to engage with scripture.
  • Thomas Prosser at the UK Guardian newspaper thinks that Christian youth camps are manipulative, but before you read, you need to know that what they term as camps, we refer to as festivals.
  • If you’re a link-o-phile, you’ll also find a daily rundown at Take Your Vitamin Z (Zach Nielsen), Kingdom People (Trevin Wax) and Tim Challies.  These bloggers include things from the broader blogosphere including lots of tech news, but when it comes to theological discussion the links are all from a single doctrinal family of bloggers.  (Note the vast number of links that turn up on all three over the course of a month.)  The mix here is quite different, but feel free to check out the three mentioned above as well as the large, diverse number of other bloggers in the margin at right.  These links are constantly checked for (a) a spiritual focus, (b) frequent and recent posting, and (c) taken as a group, doctrinal mix and balance.

The Wednesday List Lynx arrives late to the party

September 1, 2010

Wednesday Link List

The August Bank Holiday brought U.K. Christians to Cheltenham for the annual Greenbelt Festival

Welcome to September!   Here’s where the three w’s took us this week:

  • CNN has an interesting piece about Kenda Creasy Dean, author of Almost Christian, a book about ‘professing’ teen Christians whose faith the author views as “mutant Christianity.”   Read more.
  • David Fitch looks at the “ritualized” activity we call “going to church;” and thinks the “going” should be more connected to everyday life.   More at Reclaiming the Mission.
  • Talbot Davis doesn’t spend a lot of time in courtrooms, but couldn’t help but notice that the place seemed eerily familiar.
  • Zach N. at Vitamin Z has a video embed of Joshua Harris taking 15 minutes with Francis Chan discussing where The Chanster sees his post-Cornerstone future heading.
  • Challies spotted this insightful analysis by Russell. D. Moore on the weekend’s unscheduled revival meeting — attracting anywhere from 87,000 to 287,000 depending on who you ask — in Washington featuring Fox News’ Glenn Beck.
  • A speaker at England’s annual Greenbelt Festival suggested on the weekend that despite his previous sympathies, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams is sidelining the LGBT agenda in favor of the issue of church unity.
  • What do you do when an old flame pops up on Facebook and wants you to “friend” him or her?   Janell Williams Paris thinks this through for your consideration.
  • If your musical taste runs to classical stylings, here’s a video discovery of  Camilla Kerslake and a string section performing “Abide With Me.”
  • Justin Wise asks himself the question, “Who is my pastor?”  Check out his multiple answers.  Can you relate?
  • Legal battles notwithstanding, The Shack author Wm. Paul Young continues to look forward to the day that a movie version of the book becomes reality.
  • A February, 2009 post at this blog continues to attract readers and the occasional comment, as those with allergies continue to deal with people wearing perfume at church.
  • Some inane antics at The Thinklings where it’s time for your favorite TV show, America’s Next Top Pastor.
  • Our cartoonist this week is Dennis Fletcher with the appropriately named Fletch cartoon at Baptist Press.  (Click image for more.)

August 5, 2010

Rooms by James Rubart

It’s been more than a week since I turned the last page of Rooms by James Rubart.   More than a week to gather my thoughts about the twists and turns of plot and spiritual journey that make up one of the most interesting books I’ve read.

I am not a fiction reader at all, but an increasing percentage of my  reading in the last twelve months has been Christian fiction.    The book came to me by way of a recommendation from the owner of the Christian bookstore in a small town in Eastern Ontario while we were on the first day of our vacation.

Then, in a manner fully in keeping with the spirit of the book itself, a copy showed up unsolicited in the mail. [Insert Twilight Zone theme music here.]   I took it with me on the next leg of our holidays, and began to understand the passion in the store owner’s recommendation.

There are going to be comparisons to The Shack. I say this in the future tense because I’m not sure that this book has hit its stride yet, even though it’s been available for a few months.   Unlike Shack, however, I think Rooms will avoid the doctrinal and theological controversies that dogged the former title, especially given its publication by conservative B&H Fiction (a division of the Baptist company, Broadman & Holman.)

That said, the book is edgy enough in a couple of areas to raise some Baptist eyebrows.   Don’t let the publisher imprint dissuade you.    James Rubart is a comparatively new author, but one who I believe we will be hearing more from in the future.  (I’m already looking forward to Book of Days releasing in 2011…)

There are also going to be comparisons to a title which I have not read, the book House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, as both books are based on a similar premise.   (Although, if you want to stretch things, so also is The Great House of God by Max Lucado, although that’s not close to being a fiction title.)

The protagonist in the story, Micah Taylor,  finds himself the inheritor of a large (9,000 square foot) house with, for lack of a better word, supernatural rooms that appear and disappear — and one that is more constant — representing different aspects of his life history and personality.

And then there’s Rick.   Seems like every book I read lately has a guy who ‘just shows up,’ who has uncanny insights and knowledge.   Echoes of The Noticer by Andy Andrews, So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore by Jake Colsen, and Bo’s Café by a trio of authors.   (Tangent:  All books mentioned in this post, including Rooms, should be high on your list of books you can recommend to a male reader, including those who don’t consider themselves readers.)

Yeah.   That’s about all of the plot that I need to say.   From there you’re on your own.

Given sales figures in the millions, comparing this book to Shack isn’t exactly the worst thing I can do.   However, while that book is something unique that is being used to reach those outside the Christian faith, Rooms may find its audience among the already converted.  I do think there’s room for both types of readers with this book, and I hope it finds a response over the next few months from a variety of readers.   Keep it on your radar.


The reviews:  On one Christian retail site that allows customer reviews, 15 were posted.   One gave the book 4.5 out of 5 stars.   The other fourteen gave it 5 out of 5 stars.   Wow!

The book trailer video:   46-seconds; blink and you miss it.

The picture:  James has one and one only promotional picture which appears everywhere.   Including LinkedIn.  There was one exception — the one on this post — but when I right-clicked it, I ended up with a message reading  “Ephesians 4:32 “(“…let him who stole, steal no more…”) advice which, if taken, would mean and end to photo sharing on any social networking sites.  So I got the picture above from a tribute James did to his father on his personal blog.  Not sure how Ephesians feels about that.  Next time I’m stealing the other picture.

The publisher marketing:  I was a little light here on plot, so here’s more teaser copy from B&H which may contain minor spoilers:

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

Comments here:  This is about a book called Rooms; it’s not about a book called Shack. Guide yourselves accordingly.




July 17, 2010

Shack Author and Publisher In Legal Quagmire

The Los Angeles Times calls it a “Cinderella story.”  A man is encouraged by his wife to write a story for his kids that lets them know who he is and what he values.   He writes the piece and trudges off to Kinko’s Copy Shop where the initial printing of The Shack consists of fifteen — count ’em, fifteen — copies.

That was twelve million copies ago, and almost just as many blog posts and published articles; some praising the manuscript and others deriding it for doctrinal and theological error.

In between, the story fell into the hands of Wayne Jacbosen.   If you’ve read He Loves Me or So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, it’s possible to imagine the guiding hand of Wayne all over the manuscript.   The cover — which on the original Kinko copies said, “by MacKenzie Allen Phillips;” and then was published as “by William P. Young;” and then was changed to “by Wm. Paul Young;” — might have equally said “by Wm. Paul Young with Wayne Jacbosen;” or even “by Wm. Paul Young with Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings.”

Windblown Media, the upstart company Cummings and Jacobsen formed could have done that.   But they didn’t.    While Jacobsen’s editorial involvement has been unquestioned, there has never been a consideration of co-authorship; which the triple-authored Bo’s Café proved the company more than willing to do.

Paul Young

The Times article informs, “On March 11, Jacobsen and Cummings asserted their claim to co-authorship with an amended copyright filing to the Library of Congress. They also accused Young of reneging on a deal to help Jacobsen and Cummings turn “The Shack” into a movie.”

But now we find the entire “Cinderella story” blown apart in lawsuits and counter-suits; with the general-distribution publisher Hachette Book Group being forced to deposit the royalties in a trust account until the courts can sort it all out.

Sad really.

You can read the entire, long story here at the L.A. Times.

Thanks to the blog Bene Diction Blogs On for making us aware of this story.

July 9, 2010

Currently Reading and Listening

Currently Reading

  • The Last Christian by David Gregory.   Knowing this writer only for his two apologetic Socratic dialog books, Dinner With A Perfect Stranger and A Day With A Perfect Stranger — and their related movies — I decided to jump into this title to see what else he could do.   It’s a fairly thick book; 416 pages, as opposed to the other two which you can read in an hour.   Set approximately 75 years into the future, it deals with things such as artificial intelligence, jungle survival, and missions.   I’ve just started out and the plot moves fairly quickly among what is, at the point I’m at, a number of disjointed scenes.     You can find out more from people who reached the finish line here and here.
  • The Shack by William Paul Young.   I’m reading it again because it caused so much trouble after I read it that I decided to go through it again with a pen and mark pages that I felt were controversial.   However, I’m a few pages from the end and I have yet to underline a single line.   It’s not that the book didn’t raise a lot of debate and even anger, it’s just that the book in and of itself just isn’t as radical as the critics are making it.    I’m simply enjoying a second look at a simple story that somehow captivated readers of all stripes.   Is it a book for Christians or those seeking theological reading?  I answered that question here.

Currently Listening To

  • A Beautiful Exchange by Hillsong.   The Hillsong music formula and sound is fairly well established at this point, and you could say the album offers nothing particularly new.   It’s getting increasingly more difficult to separate the group Hillsong from its youth-ministry counterpart Hillsong United.   Many songs on this album are more like the latter than the former; to the point where I think some older Hillsong listeners may not appreciate this as much.   On the other hand, it’s nice to see such a variety of worship leaders on each of the various songs.
  • Declare Your Name by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.   This is a different kind of CD for us, but my wife got into mass choir music awhile back, so I picked this mostly for her.   With 14 songs, this is good value.   There are some of the expected solos, including some by guests Israel Houghton and Paul Baloche,  but it’s the pieces with the full choir sound that I enjoy the most.    This is worship music meets urban contemporary with results that should appeal to the audience of both genres.

November 10, 2009

Term Paper Topics for Discernment Ministries

term paperWow!  The first semester of college is ending sooner than it began, so it’s time to hand out the topics for your term paper assignments.   You’ve proved yourself more than adept at finding fault with Rob Bell, The Shack, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, “New Monasticism,” Rick Warren, “Emergent Church,” anything Willow Creek-related, “spiritual formation,” Donald Miller, and hundreds of others.   (But never Joyce Meyer… that’s odd… )

You guys at CRI did really good term work so you’re exempt from the final essay.   For the rest of you…

You say you’re a discernment ministry so let’s see some discerning; only let’s give all your existing targets a rest.  Choose your topic:

  1. Twenty years ago your equivalents would be railing against Christian rock music.   So let’s take a run at it, 2009-style.   Check out the latest stuff and the complete back catalog from Switchfoot, Skillet, Hawk Nelson, TobyMac, Tenth Avenue North and Kutless and apply the same critical faculties to some in-depth analysis of the lyrics Christian youth are listening to.   To avoid distraction, use headphones and turn the volume really, really loud so you don’t miss any backward masking.   Bonus marks for dissecting the worship songs of Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder and Hillsong United.
  2. You’re concerned about a whole new generation of authors and speakers who are speaking into the lives of Christians, but completely ignoring a huge genre.   Pour yourself a chai and curl up on the divan with the complete works of Karen Kingsbury, Beverly Lewis, Randy Singer, Randy Alcorn (fiction only), Melody Carlson, Lynn Austin and of course, Ted Dekker.   Don’t skip a single page.  Bonus marks for a study of the Max Lucado Wemmicks series and all the Steeple Hill/Love Inspired pocket books released since 2006.     Let us know what you find.
  3. Every Evangelical will tell you that the deuterocanonical books don’t belong in the Bible, but how we do know this for sure?   Without resorting to the historical decisions that led to their inclusion or exclusion from the Bibles of different faith groups, and relying entirely on the text and related commentaries, explore the Apocryphal books verse by verse highlighting such things as the inherent dangers in Methodists reading Bel and the Dragon.   Be sure to spend at least a month on this, doing no other writing nor taking any phone calls during this period of intense study.
  4. What are we really teaching our children?   Not one of the discernment ministries with any profile has noted any examination of what’s really being conveyed through the curriculum of Gospel Light, Scripture Press, David C. Cook, Standard Publishing, Regular Baptist Press,  and Augsburg Fortress.   Part one of this involves study of the publishers listed above; part two involves a more intense study of Group’s Hands-On Active Bible Curriculum by actually teaching a Sunday School class of elementary grade children for the next six weeks.   After all, who better to teach kids than the head of a ministry that encourages kids to study God’s Word.   (Note:  With the kids, you must stick to the curriculum itself; your paper will be disqualified if you get into a rant with the Grade 3 class about Benny Hinn or Joel Osteen.)  Bonus marks for all the theological errors you can uncover in the Veggie Tales series.
  5. The “study abroad” question:   You’ll purchase airplane tickets to connect you with about fifty different venues between now and Christmas to study what’s really going on with Christian comedy.   The comedians themselves are quite accustomed to having hecklers in the audience, so they won’t mind a few discernment ministry folk sitting in the front row shouting out, “I think that last joke was built on a flawed doctrinal premise.”   A few of our Christian brothers do their comedy shtick in clubs with liquor licenses, so to not miss the ambiance of the whole show, be sure to order a drink or two before the first set.   If you’re Baptist and haven’t touched alcohol before in your life, just give the bartender that information with the coded signal, “Make it a double.”   Compare and contrast male and female comedians, and those working within the youth ministry paradigm.   Just think Mr. Discernment Minister, you might be a redneck!

Your finished paper should be 650,000 words or more.  That should keep you off the streets, and more importantly, off the airwaves and off the internet for at least 30 days.  This is the kind of hard-hitting analysis you were born for.

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.