January 18, 2011
You may or may not be aware of this, but InterVarsity Press is about as geeked out as an organization can get over Bible study. Our very first homegrown book, back in 1947, was Discovering the Gospel of Mark by Jane Hollingsworth, and we've pretty much never stopped. Our commitment to being rooted in the Scriptures gets expressed in overt ways, as we publish commentaries like The Gospel of John (Resonate), and in subtler ways as we publish books for personal reflection and group discussion like The Story of God, the Story of Us. The Bible problematizes everyday living and cultural issues in books like Unsqueezed; it orients stories of spiritual growth and turbulence in books like Pilgrimage of a Soul; it catalyzes social change in books like Living Mission and How to Inherit the Earth. We even did two fortnights of reflections on donkeys in the Bible right here at Strangely Dim. So yeah, we like the Bible here.
We like it so much that we continue to publish new Bible studies, on topics and characters and biblical books, every year, as part of our LifeGuide line and in other forms as part of our IVP Connect imprint. And as if that weren't enough, we like Bible study so much that we give one away every day for free. A new Lifeguide study is posted daily at our Quiet Time Bible Study page; it gets you into a passage from Scripture and, if I may be cliche for a moment, it gets that passage from Scripture into you.
So, if you've got a little time to kill and you feel like doing some soul searching and some Bible reading, find a quiet place and give yourself a little "quiet time"--a quaint little term meaning "time alone with God," most often occupied with prayer, meditation and (you guessed it) Bible study. Before you know it, you'll be as geeked out about it as we are. And I'm pretty sure, if I may be presumptuous for a moment, that being as geeked out as we are was your new year's resolution.
Posted by Dave Zimmerman at 8:03 AM
January 17, 2011
On the Blemished and Scarred Body of Christ
An observation by Martin Luther King Jr., from a cell in Birmingham, Alabama, on the history and responsibility of the body of Christ.
Posted by Dave Zimmerman at 7:18 AM
January 12, 2011
A Conspiracy of Neglect
A year ago today my friend Kent let me know that he was safe.
I had seen him just a couple of weeks prior--a treat, since most of our interactions are necessarily by phone; he's in Miami or Haiti, while I'm usually at my desk in suburban Chicago. We'd talked regularly over the course of the previous year as I edited his book Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle about living and learning in Haiti. In November we had a release party with him on the phone; in early December I saw him at a retreat; and at the end of December 2009 I caught up with him, along with his friends Enel and Edvard, at the Urbana Student Missions Conference. And then the earthquake. And then the quick notes letting us know he was safe, he was in Miami, and that he'd be out of touch for a while as he tracked down friends and loved ones on the ground in Haiti, and as he traveled there to deal with the aftermath.
Word came in later from Kent that my new friend John, his codirector at Haiti Partners, was safe along with his family. Enel and Edvard were harder to track down; eventually we learned that Edvard was fine, that he'd been across town from his family but that they were well, but Enel had been on the third story of a university building that collapsed. His experience escaping the building and eventually reuniting with loved ones is recounted in Kent's second book, After Shock, released just last week by Likewise Books.
I freely confess that I thought very little of Haiti before working with Kent on his books, but since the earthquake it's never far from my mind. I went last May with a team selected by Likewise; we worshiped on Pentecost Sunday in a leveled church building in Darbonne, and I was encouraged to see that Haiti has not forgotten God, and God has not forgotten Haiti.
Sometimes I think that the unstated logic of the world, the logic that allows us to persevere over time, the logic that keeps major world powers on top and the rest of the world resigned to it, is a sort of conspiracy of neglect: we all agree to pay attention to some and systematically forget others, and then we stick with the plan. We fret over the clear and present danger of Cuba; our cruise ships stop at the Dominican Republic; we buy time shares in the Bahamas and follow the music scene in Jamaica. But Haiti we overlook, over and over again.
I'm probably projecting. But in any case, Haiti remains on our minds, in our prayers, a year after one of the most devastating natural disasters in world history. This past fall I was at a conference where the plenary speaker invited us to sing along with "Waving Flag," a song of defiance that became an unofficial anthem calling us to break with the unspoken conspiracy, to defy the unspoken logic, to stand with and pray for and, by God, remember Haiti. We do so again today.
Posted by Dave Zimmerman at 7:54 AM
January 4, 2011
Kierkegaard on the Editor as Succubus
This came to me via my boss's boss, and to him via Robin Parry, and to him via Soren Kierkegaard (in the Hongs translation of his Either/Or, pp. 245-46). If the prevailing cultural opinion is that information longs to be free, the editor steadfastly maintains that information longs to be edited--which is to say, in the opinion of Kierkegaard at least, that information (along with its provider) longs to be commodified:
Consider this the counterpoint to our earlier post on "the writer as lollygagger." Bottom line: never trust an editor--unless, of course, that editor works for InterVarsity Press, the leading publisher of thoughtful Christian books. We'll take good care of you here, and you can check out any time you like . . .
Posted by Dave Zimmerman at 1:48 PM
January 2, 2011
P. J. O'Rourke on the Writer as Lollygagger
This came to me by way of friend of Likewise Tabitha Pleudemann. It's a confession from the great P. J. O'Rourke on what writers really do when they say they're writing.
Happy new year, writers. Now get back to work.
Posted by Dave Zimmerman at 6:32 AM