1 Year Anniversary of the Book
When I say "the" book I mean For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts. Yep. On March 2010 it saw the light of day. Twelve months, a couple score reviews and a handful of very entertaining radio interviews later, I remain grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with so many amazing people along the way.
The critically good
Most of the feedback, thankfully, has been constructive. Some of the critical feedback has had a prodding but generous quality about it. For example, Greg Scheer wrote me this note yesterday, with reference to my chapter:
Or the guy I was talking to who compared Sufjan Stevens ("what worship should be") to worship in the local church. The context of the touring/recording musician is completely unlike the level of music you can make from a pool of 100 or 1000."
I appreciate this concern and I'm glad Greg brought it to my attention. This is the kind of stuff that can make or break a music director's/pastor's day.
The critically cranky
Hermione's time turner, so I could revise. Sometimes, though, you can't do much with a criticism. Sometimes you get the feeling that a person has read the book a wee (carelessly) fast.
White Church." Well, whaddya say. Fair enough? Or maybe not or, well, ok, so what then? If I were cheeky I'd respond by telling her that she had massively underestimated my sin of omission. Not only did I fail to use more Baptist women of color, I also neglected to include a single Brazilian, Native American Indian, green architect or Mennonite church elder. The list goes on.
To criticize a multi-author book for not including the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church--and to wit, saying nothing more--is like criticizing my favorite restaurant (Chuy's for the record) for excluding shark fillets and durian fruit. It sure does. But a restaurant can't be "all things to all men," unless you count Denny's as a brave but foolhardy effort in that direction.
If I get another crack at planning a conference, trust me, I'll do my best to include other voices. It's one symposium, one book so far. Hopefully we'll have more to come. (That's me on a horse saying: "I'm on it.")
The critically friendly
The most friendly review I've received this past year was from Hearts and Minds Bookstore. I couldn't ask for a more happy estimation of my book than this. May the good people at H&MB prosper and live long (see review below).
A few thank yous
(The photo at the bottom represents the last days of editing on the book. Good times.)
From Hearts and Minds Books:
Of course it has long been our position that artists----like bankers or teachers or counselors or engineers---don't have to do their work in the church, or in service of the gathered community in worship. Yet, there can be a vibrant relationship between artists and the local church, and this book has catapulted that conversation a light year ahead in the right direction.
What a fun array of authors, an excellent array of ideas, a good array of suggestions. Get this book, give it away, keep the conversation going."