I’ve spent the last two weeks formatting The Willow Branch for print.
I’m not a perfectionist. As I’ve said before, I worked in the mental health field for 15 years and professionals tell me I have a high commitment to quality that does not quite tip over into perfectionism.
If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right because I want my readers to enjoy not just the story, but the process of reading the story.
That was a lot of work!
Today, I finally got to see the digital version of The Willow Branch in print.
I knew I had it in me to design a professional quality cover without resorting to a professional designer. Not everyone can do this, but I’ve been involved in desktop publishing in a professional capacity for a long time. I just didn’t expect it to be so hard to meet CreateSpace standards and it turned out, it wasn’t, but that their auto vetter was confused for reasons they aren’t explaining. So, after three uploads that threw errors and an email asking why I kept getting the same error message that didn’t make sense (no, really, my front cover image is really truly on the right and my back cover image is really truly on the left), I got to see the result today. It’s one thing to see it in a flat image on my computer and another to see it in 3-D view.
I’ve ordered my proof copies and hope the paperback will be available by Thanksgiving!
Our unmarried adult friends were having sex with one another and they wanted Brad and I to give them the Good Housekeeping stamp of approval. They wanted to know why they didn’t feel convicted by the Holy Spirit for their behavior but that they felt judged by others, except for some reason, Brad and I, who had been unaware of their affair prior to it coming up during the salad course at our dining room table. Since sex is not usually a spectator activity, we figured others were as uninformed as we were and that the “judgment” they felt was conviction by God, but that they didn’t want to admit it because then they would have to do something about it.
First, Brad and I are borderline anarchists who don’t think a marriage license makes a couple “married”. We don’t particularly care if you have a state-issued piece of paper in a file that says you’re “married”. We do care that a man has covenanted with God and a woman has covenanted with God to form a godly marriage and that they have contracted with one another before a congregation of like-minded believers to marry for life.
In our friends’ circumstance, neither of their former partners were Christians and both of them had been dumped by their former spouses, so they were free to marry according to New Testament standards. They were delaying the ceremony for “financial reasons,” living in separate homes and having sex.
God often speaks to us through the witness of the church. If there were really people judging Matt and Molly (not their real names), it might have been because God was speaking to them through the “judgers”. Matt and Molly had asked Brad and I for our opinion and we gave it freely.
Generally, when we do something that is outside of God’s will and we feel that people are judging us because they “just know” what we’ve been doing, that’s really our own consciences prodding us. That they brought it up to us — Christians with reputations for being ideosyncretic and brutally honest — suggested (to us) that they were looking for approval. We didn’t give it. Instead, we spoke for God and from His word.
Matt, Molly (we said), if you’re really in love, get married. Have a ceremony in the church. Get a license if you want. Marriage is a common rule of Christian community. Just because lots of people break the rules doesn’t mean they don’t still exist. Money issues are not an excuse for violating God’s will. In fact, chances are good that if you combined households (as part of marriage), you’d have more money to settle your debts. Money troubles are not a reason to delay Christian marriage.
Brad and I thought the problem ran more deeply than financial considerations.
More on that topic in my next post.that.