Monday, September 22, 2008
Today I did six radio interviews to stations in places like Sacramento, San Francisco, Carson City, Nev., Albuquerque and - the most exotic - Auckland, New Zealand. I told the latter that I'd love to come speak down there. The Kiwis saw a nice spread I got in Sunday's Washington Times whereby much of the first chapter was excerpted on page A9 along with a nice review that ran in the book section.
I wish the headline of the former had not said Americans are leaving the church "in droves" as that's not what my book is saying although the "back door revival" is significant. But the leave-takers are tough to count. Many won't admit they've actually left. Several people wanted to know exactly how many have gone and to be honest, I couldn't say how many thousands or millions of people this entails. I could say that evangelical churches, like everyone else, tend to inflate their membership figures. Only in the past year or so have the Southern Baptists, said to number 16 million+, have admitted that weekly attendance is closer to 6 million. That is quite a drop.
Some people confused my talk of evangelicals leaving with ALL people leaving churches which again was not accurate. The mainline Protestants have been dropping for decades so that would not have been news. Anyway, today was my first real taste of peoples' reactions nationwide and some of the criticisms they have about my findings. Some people emailed the WTimes to suggest I was not a believer at all whereas some said bravo, such as the former Assemblies of God pastor who said he could have written my whole excerpt himself. So at least he agrees!
This past weekend I presented my findings at a panel sponsored by the Religion Newswriters Association. But the real hit was not my scintillating research but the presence of Miss Veeka who stole the show at a book launch Thursday night at the K Street Lounge. Veeka does very well at these cocktail soirees with all that yummy bread and cheese lying around.
The photo is several months old; taken at the Moby Dickens bookstore in Taos back in March when Veeka discovered the bookstore kitty conked out on a little divan. I never got to post it, so here it is now.
If any of you are looking to buy the book, Barnes & Noble and B. Dalton are carrying it, at least in northern Virginia. I was at the Barnes & Noble at Seven Corners in Falls Church and there was a lovely stack right near the front door on the "new non-fiction table.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A friend who works with AP (Associated Press) radio invited me to be interviewed last night, so Veeka and I repaired to his studio and talked about "Quitting Church" while Veeka dashed around the sound booth trying to push buttons and pull out plugs. Out of all that ruckus, Steve Coleman, the reporter, turned in a very nice podcast that you can listen to here. Just scroll down to "A Closer Look."
The photo is of Miss Veeka at the console.
She was a good sport, really, considering how late I kept her out. I hate to drag her to places *after* dinner but there is no getting around it. Tonight we had to go food shopping and the little pumpkin fell asleep on the way home. I am so busy at work, it's not like I can dash to Safeway on my lunch hour. My main task seems to be reporting on how the U.S. Catholic bishops are sending out statements every other minute chastising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Sen. Biden for their thoughts on how St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas might not have thought abortion was totally evil - or at least murder. Have they gotten slammed for wading into church doctrine. It's been a ton of fun following this war of politicians vs bishops.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
All sorts of nice things are starting to happen with my new book, "Quitting Church." Monday was the official release date and Tuesday morning I was sitting at work when someone I didn't know emailed me to congratulate me on the nice review the Wall Street Journal had given my book. I dashed about the office looking for a hard copy and finally found one. Then found the online version here. What a trip! What fabulous press for me! First Publisher's Weekly, now this.
I also noticed that on the Baker Books site, "Quitting Church" has been moved up to a prime spot. I think the publishing folks were not sure how it was going to do but now my book is sitting beside that of Leanne Payne. And she is far better known than I. So it was a good day all around.
No Veeka photos at this point; my camera has been packed away and only recently found. Then I forgot to take it with me on the lovely weekend we just had in Ocean City, Md., where I was part of a singles retreat that allowed kids. Veeka loved splashing about in the water and getting sand simply everywhere. She loves her new daycare and generally is happy as a little clam.