There’s a lot that goes into publishing a book. A lot more than you might think just from movies, TV, and your own intuition. By way of update as to the progress of The Certainty of Uncertainty, and to give you a little insight into how this all works, here’s how the book goes from an idea to something you hold in your hand.
I have long been an admirer of Peter Rollins ever since he came to a conference of the United Methodist Campus Ministry Association in 2009 and spoke as our headliner. I furiously scribbled down as much as I could. His thoughts on our unwitting complicity in the very evils we claim to resist, on the idolatries we create even in our theology, and on the role of unknowing have been deeply influential.
And so to honor that, I present a brief snippet from The Certainty of Uncertainty in which Peter’s words help to brilliantly illustrate the book’s message of the value in embracing uncertainty:
I am very happy to announce that I’ve entered into an agreement with Wipf & Stock Publishers to publish The Certainty of Uncertainty.
I’m really excited about working with a great publisher like Wipf & Stock, who have published such great scholars and theologians as John Howard Yoder and Walter Brueggemann. Wipf & Stock publishes titles in a wide range of topics including biblical studies, theology, ethics, church history, linguistics, history, classics, philosophy, preaching, and church ministry, which makes it a great home for The Certainty of Uncertainty, with its romance of theology, philosophy, and linguistics.
Watch this space for details on the forthcoming publication!
The Certainty of Uncertainty is for two groups of people: the Certain and the Uncertain. Yes, I know, that’s everybody. But it’s not everybody for the same reason.
There are among us people who are very certain, never admitting of any doubt or brooking any possibility that they might be in error about their beliefs. This is particularly the case in matters of religious faith, where the Certain are frequently absolutely so and view doubt as a moral failing.
Before there was The Certainty of Uncertainty, there was another book project I’d worked on. A few years ago, I wrote a much shorter book reflecting on the overly spiritualized nature of much of contemporary Christian faith.
I had been concerned that so much of contemporary Christianity was being understood both in the media and in the church as a system of securing a place in the afterlife, with little to say about the here and now. From my reading of the tradition, our faith had always been about the here and now, always involved with the material world in which we live. All of our primary teachings—Creation, Incarnation, Sacrament, Resurrection, New Creation—seemed to focus on the material, the real, the lived rather than some “pie in the sky bye-and-bye” escapist philosophy. And when the media went crazy over Harold Camping’s prediction of the Rapture in 2011, and subsequently treated the Rapture as a main point in Christian faith, I’d had enough.
I finished that manuscript in 2012, have shopped it around a little bit, revised it thanks to Steven Pinker’s help, and shopped it around a little more. Eventually, I decided to make use of CreateSpace’s self-publishing tools and publish it myself. The book is entitled Religious, Not Spiritual: Toward a Christian Faith that Matters.
Courtesy of the good folks at wordle.net, here is a word cloud (in holiday colors) of the draft text of The Certainty of Uncertainty.
I like my book title, which is a good thing, since this excellent title was already taken:
Welcome to the website for my forthcoming book—The Certainty of Uncertainty.
The book is a reflection on science, language, and religion, exploring the embedded uncertainties in the world we live in, the language we use to describe our experience of that world, and the systems that we create to give meaning to that experience.
This site will contain excerpts and previews for the book and information on how to purchase the book once it’s available.
Thanks for coming by!