“I have not seen a book like this in our 30 years of book-selling!”
After a few months in seminary, it became clear to me that God was calling me to write about Christian faith, military service, and national identity. In the spring of 2011, I submitted a proposal to a number of publishers that would profile a bunch of soldier saints and patriot pacifists. I was excited about it, put some good energy into it, and then I got rejected. A LOT.
In conversations with friends old and new (like the acquisitions editors I was now in touch with), I found that instead of profiling a bunch of other soldiers, I should consider beginning with my own story. So I wrote up a brand new proposal, sent it out and had an “embarrassment of riches” in enthusiastic publishers who gave this new project the green light. I signed with Likewise Books, a former imprint of InterVarsity Press, in the early summer.
Reborn on the Fourth of July; The Challenge of Faith, Patriotism, & Conscience is the story of what God did in my life in the midst of combat deployments and the peacemaking call of Jesus. In keeping with the proposed title, I wondered aloud if a release date of July 4th, of the following year (2012) would be feasible. Before I knew it, the publishing timeframe had been worked out and we discovered that I would have to have my first draft complete and submitted to them by the end of September, giving me about three months to write my first book. Not the greatest idea, but it seems to have worked out ok (especially since I had the incredible support from a number of very good friends, all of whom I cite in the book’s Acknowledgements section). I must not have written to sloppily, as the book received a coveted Starred Review from Publishers Weekly (which I’m told goes to less than 10% of all books they review)
I won’t rehash what has already been written about the book. You can figure out the general direction of the book by heading to Amazon, or read reviews by friends on Goodreads. A number of incredible people have endorsed it by adding their two cents, which you can read on the InterVarsity Press page for the book. If you want the most up-to-date info on the book, where it is being sold or featured, and other tidbits, watch my personal Twitter account for updates (watch for hashtag #Reborn4thJuly).
Please consider reviewing the book on Amazon or Goodreads, it really is interesting to hear how folks interpret what I’ve written (which, of course, is not the whole story, just what I could fit into the time I had to write). Speaking of which, if you want to hear more about the book by hosting me at your church, college, or other local community, let me know; I LOVE sparking and maintaining meanginful conversations at the intersection of faith and service.