Saturday, January 29, 2011

ChristianityToday Book of the Year...

Christianity Today has named my book its Book of the Year on the topic of Christianity and Culture. They write:

"With wit and wisdom, Wright uses scholarly means to serve kingdom ends, defusing anxiety about the American evangelical prospect and reigniting vision. It's a work of both smart debunking and kind edification, utterly necessary in a time of statistically aided ideological warfare."

I really, really appreciate this. The last award that I won was in high school when I was voted to be the "most likely to have to wait a long time before winning another award."

It's most gratifying to have others appreciate my work for what I intended it to be. Thank you CT!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

200,000 visitors old...

This week my blog received its 200,000 visitor... boggles the mind. (Though, presumably 199,000 were looking for something else.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

The American ideal: Lukewarm religion?

Something that I enjoy in writing a blog is hearing other people's perspectives on things that I'm interested in. For example, awhile ago I posted a list of religious countries, and I got this comment:

"As a Brit living in the U.S., I find the religious angle the hardest thing to deal with. It is pretty much social and employment suicide to admit to being an atheist in these parts. There may be freedom of religion but there is no freedom from religion."

As an Evangelical Christian, I'm aware of the pressure in my workplace and in social situations to be discreet about my religion. As Stephen Carter wrote in his book The Culture of Disbelief, religion is expected to be like a hobby--fine if you do it at home, but you should bring it to others too much.

However, it seems that a similar dynamic works with atheism--that atheists feel pressure to keep mum about their beliefs.

I wonder, then, if the American ideal of religion is not take it too seriously. So, if you're a believer, try not to overdo it. If you don't believe, don't be too strident about it. Be lukewarm, and you'll fit in.

(For a biblical perspective on this, see Revelation 3:16).

What do you think?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back from vacation

Cathy and I celebrated our 20th anniversary with 8 days in the Caribbean, on the wonderful island of Nevis. I'll post more on it, but here's a before and after picture from yesterday. What a difference 12 hours makes!

11 am (ferry to St. Kitts and airport), and then
11 pm (30 inches of snow while we were gone)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Some really bad stats about religion and gays

Here's a story about gays, suicides, and Mormons. It holds the distinction of getting just about every statistic used wrong, and then drawing inferences from them. My guess is that the writer knew the conclusion ahead of time and wasn't going to let simple data stand in the way.

Thanks Mike!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Finally, someone understands!

I have spent the last month putting the final touches on my next book. (Working title: Slow Cooker Recipes for the Holidays), and I was/ am really struggling with it. I realized that the root of the problem is that I'm convinced that the book is utter rot and that I've wasted pretty much most of this last year writing it. Ugh... how depressing.

I was talking to my friend Ed, who himself is a successful writer, and he sent me this link.

The advice is from literary agent Rachelle Gardner, and she observes that: "Usually there comes a point in the editing process where they feel like they're not just sick of it. They're convinced it's Really Bad. Like Piece of Cr*p bad. Like, OMG the publisher is going to cancel my book bad."

Yep, that's me.

Her advice: "When you get like this? It's a "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" moment. The man behind the curtain is your insecurity, trying to control things while pretending it knows All.

It doesn't. It knows nothing. So, do nothing.

Ignore that voice. Just push through it. Keep going."

Somehow it's very comforting knowing that other people feel the same way. I just hope that I'm as wrong about my book as they have been about theirs.

Thanks Ed!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The problem with Twitter

I've discovered a problem with my Twitter account... sometimes people read it.

I recently had an e-mail exchange with a magazine editor, and, me being me, I cracked a joke in my e-mail to him. The problem, though, was that I sent the e-mail at 2 in the morning on a night that I wasn't sleeping well. I woke up the next morning worried that the tone of the joke was a little harsh. So, I posted as much on Twitter, saying that I worried about being "snarky".

Later that day I got the editor's response to my questionable e-mail, and the first line was "Wow, that was snarky." I started to panic that I'd really goofed this one up until I scrolled down the message and saw "Kidding! (I saw your tweet)."

A very good joke, and a reminder that every great once in awhile people read what I write.