Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A fun (to me, anyway) book note

A reader recently wrote asking for book-recommendations.

He* had gone to an unhealthy doctrinal place, and now was asking for five or six books to help him get "started clawing my way back to doctrinal health and sanity." I asked what specific areas were needed, and he replied, "Salvation and all its elements for a start...grace, atonement, sanctification, etc."

So I started searching my internal bibliography for some examples... and then stopped, and chuckled. I wrote back,
My book! I'm chuckling, but seriously, that's exactly what [The World-tilting Gospel] is about! But unfortunately, it won't be on the book racks (as they say) until August.
And then I came up with some titles, like Knowing God, for starters.

On which (previous) note: Kregel just received my list of possible endorsers, some extraordinarily gracious men (and [cue Darth Vader voice] a sister) who agreed to sacrifice the time to peruse the tome. Scary. Humbling. I'm not joking: some of these folks have, I am sure, very literally read the finest Christian works in the English language (and others) — and now my humble little effort will be in their hands. Gulp.

Hm... would anyone buy a book whose back cover had endorsements from big names, like
  • "Nice try! Really... nice!" (Dr. Heinrich Borfmann, Bogotron Seminary)
  • "Moments of true semi-adequacy!" (Edie Contralto, Cupboard-Keepers Ministries)
  • "We had such hopes for little Danny. And now, this. Oh dear. Well, at least he's not in prison.  ...He's not, is he?" (Verna Fleebner, Glenoaks Elementary School [retired])
  • "Ambitious, but... well, ambitious!" (Pastor Eulie Lapidary, Church of Holy Perpetuity)
  • "Brings to mind the greats. Longingly. By way of contrast." (Varf Konkelman, talk show host)
  • "This one part was terrific!" (Bob Fernbern, mechanic)
Such are the inner thoughts of a first-time author venturing forth where giants have trod.

*I'll probably post on this stylistic note sometime, but I'm going to try to draw back from using conventions such as (s)he when I mean to speak generically. No force on earth can compel me to use "they" as a neuter. That leaves me with the classic, standard generic "he." So unless sex matters, when I speak namelessly of someone (as here), "he" means a person, without specifying his or her... agh! — his sex.


Pierre Saikaley said...

These guys and gal also started somewhere. They were probably just as humbled, nervous, and thankful to have their first publications endorsed by others.

I mean once published, the whole planet will have access to it, and you'll forever be known as the author of THAT book. It's just a few billion people. Nothing to toss and turn in your bed at night over.


(DJP doesn't write slop. I've never read any from him. I only know of one DJP, and his writing is wise, engaging and impactful. If people are smart they will give him props!)

Robert said...

I laughed as I read through the hypothetical endorsements. This is how I often feel about leaving comments on these blogs (although I don't hold any of you to be a mechanic!), yet it never stops me from commenting.

I am sure every one of the authors you have read has probably felt the same way, too. They all had to start somewhere, and as they (and I would hope every one of us) grew/grow they realized that God is the source of all knowledge and we're just his vessels of clay. Not that you don't know any of this (or even that you need to hear it), but just wanting to offer it up for encouragement in your writing. I'm looking forward to seeing this on the shelves (and listed on the internet).

Pierre Saikaley said...


The fact that you have to explain about the gender convention...tells you how far gone we are in po-mo evangelicalism.

(Note to "Christian" Feminists:The lack of feminism/inity in NOT the most pressing problem in the Church today)

David said...

Love the endorsements! In the alternate universe in which I write a book, I'm sending you a manuscript to, um, endorse.

Thank you so much for using "sex" when you mean sex. It engenders much confidence in your English literacy.

Anonymous said...

"unless sex matters"?!


Word Verification: pangs

DJP said...


Wendy said...

I was seriously laughing at the hypotheticals and then I thought "Inconceivable!" - unlike Vizzini, I do mean inconceivable.
No one who reads your book(s) could possibly think they were just "nice tries" or seriously lacking.
Off topic: I was thinking the other night that, if I were to write a book, I would want someone else's name alongside mine on the cover. I mean, if it bombs and I go down, I'd like to take someone with me, ya know?

DJP said...

Rats, should have thought of that.

Paula Bolyard said...

Or maybe even a ghost writer for the first one...just in case. You could always out yourself later when it soars to the NYT best seller list. Plus you'd get that whole mysterious intrigue thing.

Love the endorsements! Maybe you should actually add that to the appendix. : )

Susan said...

Now look what you've done, Dan...by expounding on why you opted to use "he", you've only made me more curious and more suspicious as to the person's real sex. Not cool. :P

DJP said...

Two words:

Personal issue.


Susan said...

Bully. :P

DJP said...



Susan said...

(Hey...I never knew we could do cyber spit with colons!!! You should have never taught me that....) :P::::::::::

(Ok. Out of my system. Truce.)

DJP said...

I made it up.

Typical. One last blast, then "OK, truce!!"


GrammaMack said...

Very funny endorsements, especially since there's no chance that the actual blurbs will be at all similar. :-)

I also hate the singular "they," but according to the copy-editors list I belong to, it is becoming more and more common. :-(

Aaron said...

Systematic theology would be my recommendation.

Mike Westfall said...


I'm thinking you should just mail him a "Four Spiritual Laws" tract.