Sunday, October 15, 2006



My week is filled with travel, our presbytery meeting and finishing up a grant to request money to complete repairs to the church.

At presbytery, we will consider an overture to censure our denominational publishing house.
The house published a book about the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

I haven't read the book.

I use the publisher for books on prayer, worship and some church school literature.
I haven't even kept up with their catalog.

I plan to speak against the overture.

While I may not agree with the books on the publisher's list, I give them the privilege to publish what they believe will be of help to us in the pew and pulpit.

If I don't like a book I don't buy it.

The overture lacks charity. It seeks to censure, humiliate and insult.

I am appalled at the heavy-handed thrust of the overture.

If you don't like the book. Don't buy it. Low sales speak just as well as wordy overtures.

St. Casserole

14 comments:

cheesehead said...

Amen.

Listing Straight said...

What Cheesehead said.

reverendmother said...

I can't wait to hear how the vote goes!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be there to speak against this overture with you. Prayers!

Sue said...

I agree entirely with your position on this. I hope the meeting goes well.

Quotidian Grace said...

Hope you don't mind me commenting with a different point of view.

I haven't read the overture that troubles you so I don't know if I would agree with you or not about its language and tone. But I am very troubled by the publication of this book because of the effect it has had on congregations.

In my local church the publication of this book has caused at least one family to leave the PCUSA and added to the distrust of the denomination. Most people think the denomination endorses the crackpot theories of this book because WJK published it. What was the WJK board thinking? I think they have some real explaining to do--and they've failed to do it so far.

St. Casserole said...

Grace, I'm glad to hear your point of view. I value it (and you).

Is this the first controversial book published by WJK? I doubt it although I cannot name another.

I don't keep up with WJK enough to know if they represent my thinking or not. I want a church publishing house to contribute to challenging thought.

I'm so sorry that a family left the congregation over the publishing of this one book. I wonder what other issues led to this step and if these are the real issues behind their departure. I hope they know that they are welcome to return to their congregation and that we are available to them.

ppolarbear said...

i used to have a T shirt that said, "what if they threw a war and nobody came?" It's how I feel about a lot of controversies. Lack of response works. No buyers=no profits=byebye that topic.

Reformed Catholic said...

I use the publisher for books on prayer, worship and some church school literature.

The issue is that if WJK had kept to publishing books on prayer, worship, church school, theology, etc; there wouldn't be an issue. However, it published a book with theories that the Bush Administration, concocted a huge conspiracy to bring down the WTC, and blow up a wing of the Pentagon on 9/11/01.

The book, if published by anyone else, would have just been another crackpot conspiracy theory book, relegated to the dusty back shelves of bookstores. However, as it was published by WJK, it gave the apparent imprematur of the PCUSA. For background visit the Presbyterian Outlook: http://www.pres-outlook.com/tabid/1017/Article/2624/Default.aspx

St. Casserole said...

Reformed Catholic, I read the article again and I believe I understand the writer's purpose.

Showing charity to those with different polititcal views seems the right course to me still.

Thank you for dropping by.

Songbird said...

I'm not a Presbyterian, but I suspect that if the Pilgrim Press published such a book, there would be upset UCC folk, too. How do resolutions (our "overtures") and departures help when we are in disagreement with a particular way of thinking? My small church lost a few members the minute we announced we were forming a task group to discuss taking up discussion of Open and Affirming. Yes, you read me right: "to discuss taking up discussion." I would have liked to hear the concerns of those church members, but by leaving, they prevented themselves from being part of a conversation. It makes me sad.

will smama said...

Christian Century had an interesting review of this book where the reviewer actually suggested that some of the proposals in the book (bombs planted in the WTC for one) were so extreme that pro-right supporters may have been behind publishing it just to make the left look ridiculous.

Admittedly, that seems a bit far-fetched to me.

So much for slow sales as well since this week's issue of CC reports that it is #2 on WJK's best seller list.

I agree with both QG and St. Casserole. QG, because when I received the news that they chose this book I wondered out loud why they were once again making my job a hell of a lot harder. It seemed like a bad choice in timing at the very least.

But I also think an overture against the publishing house is having the pendulum swing way too far in the other direction.

Long comment... sorry.

St. Casserole said...

The denomination doesn't have editorial control over the publishing house. The two are separate and have been for several years.

will smama (and the rest of ya) comment as long as you like.

Songbird said...

Of course that parenthetical statement was meant to say "your overtures."
How was the overture received?