Just to let our wonderful community of readers know, we've officially submitted a book proposal. The powers that be are meeting this month to decide, so prayers are appreciated. We thought about keeping quiet. If it doesn't come to fruition, you'd never be any of the wiser, and we could feel the failure alone. We are excited and impressed that someone came knocking on our door because of what we post on this blog. We also believe that failure isn't permanent, and even being asked to submit a proposal is still impressive. To us, anyway.
A book proposal is something of a complete exercise in fantasy. You have to title a book that you haven't written, give chapter names for a book you haven't written, and offer sample chapters (all together now) for a book you haven't written. All pretty much with just your gut instinct to guide you, because the editor, while excited about the "possibility," is just another name at the end of the phone line at this point.
Add doing this all across the miles, as I'm in Lexington and Mary's in New Orleans. Email and phone lines are only so helpful. But we managed, and it's in. The book title took us the longest. We decided Dirty Sexy Ministry was probably a bit too much, since it seems to be too much for some of the authority powers that be in the church (which makes me all the more thankful for the Diocese and Parish where I serve, who seem rather non-plussed about it all). Plus, it's very similar to John McCain's daughter's book, Dirty Sexy Politics. We tossed around other ideas: Puppies and Kittens for Jesus (wouldn't offend as many people as Dirty Sexy Ministry); Steal this Book for JC da Man! (not so much); and Real Priests of the South (Bravo might not be happy) didn't make the cut. In a moment of sheer exhaustion, I filled in the blank one night after a too-long day and a glass of pinot noir.
When the Church Broke My Heart.
When I sent it to Mary the next day, she said, "Yep, that's it."
Everything fell into place after that. Or at least from our end. The publisher of such a title may not be to sure what to do with it. How do you market a book that speaks openly and honestly of the pain the Church and her members and leaders can cause? Is this topic taboo because no one really wants to admit the Church isn't perfect? Will the powers that be quash it, lest the proverbial cat get out of the bag that the Church wounds and heals? We, as they say, shall see.
One of the questions we had to answer asked, "Why are you qualified to write this book?" We answered, "Because the Church has broken our hearts."
On occasion, we can be brief.
As I've written in other posts, I'm still overwhelmed that I'm on the other side of that leg of the broken heart journey for a while. I happened upon people in the Church whose love and presence healed my heart, who didn't diminish the wounds others in the Church had inflicted, and who carefully and gently invited me into responsible awareness of my own soul's song. I realize every day that the gift of redemption is a priceless jewel.
Mary is in her own place, and she will write about that in her time.
I suspect we are not alone, that many out there have been wounded by the institutional Church and her clergy and laity. If the book deal gets signed, we'll be talking to you. Until then, know that if your heart has been broken by the Church, you have company in your pain.
And even more amazing, there are those in the Church that can sit with you in the grief until you are ready to heal.