Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels. I'm so pleased and proud to have a chapter in the book. The diverse cast of voices delves into a broad range of thorny biblical passages - often the sort of passages people prefer to avoid. While the contributors are clearly smart people who know their way around a biblical concordance, I love that the anthology isn't academic in nature. Rather, the essays grapple with the profound impact the Bible can have on individual lives - for good and for ill. The book reveals how biblical interpretation - and misinterpretation, as the case may be - is formative in a world in which more than 100 million bibles are sold or otherwise distributed each year. The biblical text isn't dishonored with this book, but is rather given the honor of being taken seriously enough to be spoken of with unsparing honesty. One of the things that is most striking to me is that it lives up to its grand promise of truly divergent perspectives. It's not merely the skeptical and the faithful sharing the same binding; Christians of both conservative and liberal hermeneutics are present and accounted for. You just don't see that happen very often.
Last night, I gathered with seven other contributors - including Cathleen Falsani and Jennifer Grant, our fearless editors - in a packed room at Prairie Path Books in Wheaton to celebrate the book's release. It was a delightful evening - funny, poignant, irreverent, meaningful. When it was my turn to talk I said a few things about my chapter - which, in a nutshell, is about how "apocalyptic gospel" is not an oxymoron - and then made the people sing the refrain to REM's "End of the World as we Know It." Such fun.
So, all of that is to say that you should totally read this book. Good luck getting it at Amazon, because Jericho Books is an imprint of Hachette. But Barnes and Noble, Hearts and Minds, and your local book shop are all great options.
But the other thing I'd like to do with this blog post is draw your attention to the author and blogger Ellen Painter Dollar. There are two main reasons for this.
The first is that I wouldn't have been invited to contribute to Disquiet Time if Ellen hadn't introduced me to Jennifer Grant and the other gifted members of the Ink Collective. Ellen approaches social networking with a spirit of generosity, mutual respect, and collaboration. I try to follow her lead.
The second reason I'm singing the praises of Ellen Painter Dollar is that I just read her chapter in Disquiet Time, "Broken and Bent." It's a three-tissue essay, full of wisdom, beauty, and pain - like much of Ellen's work. When you're done with Disquiet Time, check out Ellen's first book, No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction.