I had the privilege of signing (very rapidly) at the Personality Party on Monday. It’s kind of like a cattle-moving endeavor. Folks go through these chutes/lines and grab three books. I’m seated here with two other Harvest House authors. We had fun!
On Tuesday night, I received my first critical email about Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture. The “reader” asked if I was aware that writers like Brian Mclaren (who I quoted, among others) were New Agers. I knew the person hadn’t read my book, so I replied (after praying) that she should read the book first, and if she had questions about it later, then she could ask them. I have heard nothing back.
In my meeting with Harvest House, I found out the book has sluggish sales because bookstores are afraid to stock it. The word postmodern in the title is turning out to be a detriment. Lifeway stores will not stock the book because they refuse to stock anything about the emergent church or postmodernism. I am dumbfounded by this, particularly since I attend one of the flagship Baptist churches! My guess is that the folks at Lifeway have chosen to blindly judge the book before they’ve even read it.
I almost started crying in the meeting, but I kept my tears at bay. I’d already had several difficult encounters at ICRS which I won’t go into here, so this seemed to ice the cake for me. The redemptive part of this, though, is that I left the meeting to stand in line for Len Sweet’s new book. When I met him, I handed him a copy of my book. He graciously accepted it. I told him about my email the night prior. I asked, “What do you do when folks send you nasty emails?”
He said, “Hey, Mary, I have whole websites dedicated to maligning me. I’m used to it. But when I write someone who disagrees with me, I write ‘You may be right,’ and sign it.”
His response made me laugh.
It’s true, you know. Who of us has the corner on God? How can we possibly say we know everything about Him? The key thing I’ve found through all this is the importance of love. Folks who lob insults without even reading the book they’re maligning are not agents of love. And I’m not an agent of love if I respond in kind. Didn’t Paul say something about this? We could do EVERYTHING right, but if we don’t have love, we’ve accomplished nothing.
If this book sells, I’ll be amazed! And even so, it’s not about sales, it’s about obedience. What hurts is that this book is about my courageous children who, by the grace of God, thrived in France. We lived through so much, and God showed up. It’s all about Him. It’s about the kingdom of God. It’s about justice and conversations and mercy and daring to follow Jesus in difficult places with your children. So many will shun the book and miss out on hearing about this because of one volatile word.
The cool thing, though, is that several folk connected to media and the Baptist church have agreed to endorse the book. In that, I’m very thankful.
So, watch and wait with me to see how this unfolds. Perhaps if I look at it as an adventure, I’ll enjoy the ride!