November 28, 2011
Welcome to IVP! (May I Take Your Order?)
It happens so infrequently that I have occasion to toot my own horn, that I really must take the opportunity when it arises. Such was the case with some recent kind words from John Pattison, editor at Burnside Writers Collective and coauthor (with Chris Smith of the Englewood Review of Books) of the blog and forthcoming book Slow Church. I had inadvertently and unceremoniously outed John and Chris as having signed a contract to publish with IVP/Likewise Books, and John very graciously embraced the outing and announced the partnership on Facebook:
Chris Smith followed it with a similar post:
The first comment posted to John's status included a request and a question: "define 'slow church'" and "why InterVarsity?" I'm happy to sketch an answer to the request: "Slow church" is a gestating movement--inspired by the "slow food movement" to recover the art of mealmaking and dining from the fast food industry--to resist the "McDonaldization" of the church and explore practices and perspectives that keep the church living and life-giving. That's my take; check out Chris and John's blog for the full story. As for "Why InterVarsity?" I'll leave that to John.
In all honesty, I was happy and relieved that Chris and John didn't shop the book around, because I loved the idea of the book and thought it was a perfect fit for Likewise, and I didn't want any other publisher sniffing around it while we were processing the proposal. The plot thickened when, while John and Chris were reviewing the contracts, IVP happened to purchase the book-publishing program of Biblica Worldwide (read my post on that bit of news here), the publisher of Besides the Bible, which John coedited. So I was equally relieved to read John's comments on that development.
IVP is conscious of the sometimes complicated dual nature of our publishing program--we are a ministry that does business and a business that does ministry; our mission takes place in the arena of the publishing industry, and our publishing program speaks into the arena of the church's mission in the world. Navigating those tensions requires frequent introspection, and we welcome all the help we can get. So as much as I look forward to introducing Slow Church to the marketplace, I also look forward to letting it inform our publishing mission.
In the meantime, to John and Chris and Biblica Books I offer once again a hearty welcome to IVP, and to them and to you I promise never to ask, "Would you like fries with that?"
Chris Smith has begun a series of daily Advent reflections at the Slow Church blog. Get started here and check back daily for posts throughout Advent.