It’s launch day for In Search of the Common Good. You can read the book’s endorsements and purchase a copy direct from the publisher, InterVarsity Press, using the book’s page on their website. You can also buy it on Amazon.
To get the important thing done first: Every author knows that the name on the cover doesn’t reflect the actual number of people who did something to make that book possible. I’ve listed a good number of the people who helped me with this particular book in the acknowledgements, but I wanted to also thank several of them here as well.
First, I’m a public university grad with no family ties to the evangelical publishing world. The only way I got into this world at all is the kindness and generosity of various gatekeepers. Though I could name a number of people here, the most notable are Matthew Lee Anderson, who took the time to answer an inquisitive email from a confused college kid 10 years ago, Rod Dreher, who took notice of what I was doing back in my old Notes from a Small Place blog days and has been one of Mere O’s loudest supporters, and Tim Keller, who took the time to email me once and say he appreciated the work we are doing at Mere O. Generosity with one’s time and, wretched phrase, one’s platform is a great gift to people who do not otherwise have opportunity to do the work they love. So my debt to Matt, Rod, and Tim is enormous.
Second, two ordinary pastors took the time to befriend me, put up with me, answer my questions, invest in me, and ultimately trust me in significant ways. They are Mike Hsu and Bart Moseman. I’m not sure if I’d still be a Christian if it weren’t for their patient ministry at Grace Chapel in Lincoln NE and at the Nebraska chapter of Reformed University Fellowship.
Third, my Benne brothers have been my closest friends for 12 years. Eric, KJ, Gray, Tim, Micah, John, Craig, Jason, Matt, and Eric: Thank you.
Fourth, to my parents: There are no words. You carried me. You protected me. You were faithful. Thank you.
Fifth, to my children, Davy, Wendell, and Austin: Daddy’s book is done!
Finally, to Joie. Without whom, nothing. Thank you for sharing our anniversary with the launch date of the book. To life!
Now to the other fun part: We are doing a book launch contest. To enter, you just need to publish a review on Amazon and send a link or screen capture to me—firstname.lastname@example.org.
What will you win? In my head I’ve been referring to it as the Nebraska Hobbit Starter Set. The more Serious Name is probably “The In Search of the Common Good Companion Set.” (Sadly, I can’t ship internationally on this for reasons that will be clear in a moment. So this is a USA-only contest, unfortunately.)
The kit includes:
- One 12 oz jar of homemade KC style bbq sauce made by me (with assistance from my kids, most likely)
- One jar of Memphis-style rib rub again made by me—the primary use for it is homemade pulled pork and pork ribs, but it also is great as a general seasoning, though it is probably a bit too sweet to really shine when paired with beef. I did just recently learn that it is a really great addition to your dredge when making fried chicken. One note: This rub does not have salt in it so you’ll need to add salt separately as described in chapter eight of the book.
- One small box of blood orange herbal tea from the Mill, Lincoln’s oldest locally owned coffeeshop. It’s a blend you can’t find elsewhere and it makes an amazing iced tea, which is perfect for sipping as you sit by the smoker but is also enjoyable in other times and places as well.
- One copy of Robert Farrar Capon’s The Supper of the Lamb. If I’ve done my work well in my book, then when you’re done you’re going to want to think more seriously about how the small ordinary things of creation are delightful and allow us to better serve God, love neighbor, and enjoy God’s world, even in times of darkness and testing as we are facing today. If you’re wanting to do that, then there is no better guide than Capon.
The ideal use for the launch kit: Go to a butcher shop on Saturday and buy a good pork butt, preferably Duroc if you can find it. Then salt the pork Saturday night. On Sunday morning, get up early and apply the rub to the pork and put it in the smoker before heading to church. (You can also brew the tea Saturday night or Sunday morning and put it in the fridge to chill while you’re at church.) Then you get home, set up a lawn chair by your smoker, drink the tea, read the Capon book, enjoy the smell of the fire and the pork, and thank God for the Sabbath. When the meat is ready, you take it inside, pull it, make sandwiches, serve it with the sauce, and have a bunch of friends over for a Sabbath dinner.
Of course, I won’t judge if you find other uses for the kit.
Anyway: Post a review of the book on Amazon. Send me a screen cap or link and you’ll be entered in the drawing. We’ll then do the drawing two weeks from today, which will be July 9. I’m planning to have three winners. We’ll announce the winners on the 9th and then hopefully you’ll have your kit within a week to ten days depending on shipping and, we should be honest, when I am able to get to the post office.
Happy launch day y’all!