Kennedy's 'Postcards from
Jonal entry 1000 | Monday, July 3 2006
The book I have promised here in the past that I would share with the list more details about the book that interrupted our normal mode of operation numerous times over much of the past year. I now have word that I should have "hard copies" of it in the first week of September and the official publication date is "October." It is now listed in the Adams Media catalog (Adams is its publisher) and on Amazon dot com, where it is already a best seller, ranked 941,274 before it's even back from the printer. (No, I don't know how many "best sellers" rank below 941,274, but I'm guessing it can't be too many.) I'm giving a preview of the cover here, with the caveat that I was not consulted on the artwork nor on the "Book Description" on Amazon's page, which says:
To the best of my recollection, the word "carpenter" never appears in the book. I'm just now learning that there are 69,000 new Christians every 24 hours (and this even after Billy Graham's retirement). And my last editorial request about the project before letting it go was that the "M.A." be taken off my name on the title page (and by inference, the cover), but I have a sneaking suspicion that hasn't happened. Putting initials after one's name suggests vanity and pretension, and having a Master of Arts is nothing to be pretentious about.
Writing a book on the life, teachings, and world/historical influence of Jesus has surely been the most educational experience in my life, which may be ironic as I was ordained to preach the Gospel some 40 years ago. But as you know, I haven't been preaching most of that time; even when in the ministry full time I got to preach primarily by invitation to fill in for pastors off for a Sunday, and since resigning from the campus ministry in 1983, even less of that. But I've been writing about the Gospel most of my life and sitting under the preaching of others as well, so it was instructive how much I knew (how easy it was to pick the top 20 topics relating to Jesus, for chapter subjects) and yet how much I didn't (how much research would be needed to fill in the details). For example, I didn't know before starting to write the first chapter (about the Nativity or first Christmas, of course) that the Magi appear in Matthew's Gospel and not Luke's, but Luke's nativity account is the only one that has the Herald Angels and the shepherds.
history of Ancient Rome is something I thought I knew something about, but I learned
in this process that Caesar Augustus (who was in power when Jesus was born) was
the first Emperor of the Roman Empire (the Roman Republic, in which Julius Caesar
was a ruler, was something else, which preceded the Empire). And most emporers
ruled for shorter terms than most American presidents. There were thousands of
tidbits of learning involved in the project.
Now I'm talking with Adams about ideas for a book about St. Patrick, which I've been gathering material for for several years.
The thousandth and final Jonal You may have noticed that this is the one-thousandth essay, "Jonal entry," or "postcard" by me in this series, and it's also my last. I've decided to leave active membership on the Email Forum in the interest of better balancing the left-right imbalance there that some have complained about. I think that my departure will even up those who've come out as conservatives (who seemed to have an advantage of one) with those known to have more leftward leanings. Maybe my departure, as the most "dominant" of the "ultra conservative dominators" as one critic called us, will even slow political discussions in general, as it will no doubt curtail religious ones. Let there be peace in the valley.
And more seriously, as mentioned above, I'm already pursuing my second seriously commercial book project, and hope to continue such projects as long as my stamina permits. I hope to radically change my other daily website on which I've also been blogging for some years now, Xnmp, and make it more personal and, frequently, more in-depth, more like the Jonals have been. All of these changes should redound to my having more "free time," again, something I haven't had to worry about since beginning the Jonals in January 1991. All that, as well as after having come up with a thousand topics to discuss here, my well is at least, for now, running dry.
I plan to continue formatting and sending out Judy Rose's and Frank Charney's Postcards as they come in, and any others that may be added as regular Home Page features. Though I don't plan to continue following the threads on the forum, I welcome personal emails as always, to email@example.com. And I hope that any who have actually enjoyed these blogs will become a regular visitor and possibly a responder of Xnmp.
Again, peace, and best wishes for a bang-up Fourth of July holiday.