I guess the book review that I wrote yesterday comes with a bit of a caveat. As I was sending my final manuscript of my book to the senior editor of the publishing company, a few friends very helpfully sent me a link to this newly published book. Not knowing the implications of what that meant for the book that I was working on, I gulped, ordered my copy, and prayed that God would help me hold lightly to my aspirations of writing a book.
I mean, technically that was always my prayer, ever since the publishing company approached me and asked me whether I would consider such a book. But I think this is one of the few times I’ve had to really consider whether I meant it.
Am I writing for the glory of Peter, or for the glory of God?
Do I delight that God is raising up others (in this case more qualified than me theologically) to write on this timely topic?
Will I speak positively of this book, and keep the main thing the main thing, or will I knit-pick and point out all the perceived flaws in it?
I technically know what all the answers should be to that. Just like any moral situation. But my heart doesn’t always find it easy to persuade my hands of the truth of the matter.
I love disguising the glory of Peter behind glory of God language.
I love praising others, while at the same time making my thoughts known about them.
I find it easy to drop positive reviews while insinuating far more negative to the astute reader.
Life is messy. The blacks and whites of truth seem to mould and shift into greys as soon as they hit my life. Anyone else?
Thankfully family and friends who I’ve been able to confess these things to, have helpfully reminded me of truths from the good news that are far better than the good news that I may or may not receive from the publishing house boardroom on Tuesday, when my contract is discussed.
After sitting with me in my worries and tongue-in-cheek suggesting that I negatively review the book in every evangelical magazine and paper in this part of the world, they point me to greater realities of where my identity lies; that there’s nothing in me that “ought” to get a book contract; that we rejoice in worldwide partnership in the gospel, not competition in the gospel; and that actually, this might free me to better get people thinking about the topic, without being seen to be out to sell merchandise.
It’s at moments like these that I am thankful for Church community. And for all the same questions that I apply to my life about “why write?”, I guess we could apply similar to our hearts about “why travel?”, which is what the concluding chapter of Stephen Liggins’ book does so well.