Dateline: 21 April 2006
I have published a new book. This book is the “agrarian project” I’ve alluded to here over the past months. I’m going to tell you about the book, but first I want to tell you about how the book came to be— I guess you could say this is the story behind the story.
As many of you already know, I have, in the past few years, written several books—eight of them to be exact. The last five were self-published. All of my books have been basic how-to books. For example, one tells how to build a “Whizbang” chicken plucking machine. Last year’s book (I am trying to publish a book a year) tells how to build a nifty chicken scalder out of a propane water heater.
Explaining, espousing, and teaching through my books is something I feel like I was “wired” to do. I see it as a God-given desire and, to some degree, a talent.
With that in mind, last year around this time, with another book behind me, I was feeling very strongly that I needed to write a different kind of book than what I had been writing. I wanted to write something that would bless others, bring glory to God, and help (even if in a small way) to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. I specifically prayed that the Lord would provide me with inspiration, opportunity, and direction regarding my next book project. I had absolutely no idea what such a book would be but I was willing and asked the Lord show me the way. A short while later I stopped praying about the subject and kind of forgot about it— once springtime really hit, I had other projects to occupy my mind.
A couple months later, I happened upon Scott Terry’s blog, Homesteader Life. I think I found my way there via Dry Creek Chronicles and House of Degenhart. I was inspired by Scott’s blog and it occurred to me that I could start a blog of my own. It was, after all, free, and Blogger.com made it easy to do.
So, before long, I had this blog you are now reading up and running. I named it The Deliberate Agrarian because that is what I am. The word “deliberate” was in my mind after listening to R.C. Sproul, Jr. and Rick Saenz and others on some early “Basement Tapes” from Highlands Study Center.
My objective was to write about my family and my Christian-agrarian beliefs. The stories flowed out of my mind onto the pages of my blog with a passion and conviction that surprised me. I could have written much more than I did. As it was, I ended up spending time writing when I probably should have been doing other things—but that’s what writers do.
As more and more people wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed what I had to say and, more than that, were convicted to live a more Christian-agrarian lifestyle, the thought occurred to me that perhaps I should compile my writings into a book—my next book. To the best of my knowledge there is no book in or out of print that specifically celebrates and promotes the Christian-agrarian worldview.
But would anyone buy such a book? That was the thought that first entered my mind. After all, I am not flush with money and it costs a few bucks to self-publish a book. Besides that, I’m a practical person. My intention had always been to publish how-to books because they are, generally speaking, books that sell steady and relatively well over a period of many years. Would it be foolish of me to put the hard-earned profits from previous book sales into a book of stories? I really did not think it made economic sense.
But the Lord brought to my mind the prayer I had prayed months earlier. I then looked back over those months and realized that He had been guiding me into the area of Christian agrarian writing. And He reminded me that everything I have is His, including the hard earned profits He blessed me with from previous book sales. When Kansas Milkmaid told me I should write a book, it seemed like confirmation. Still, I struggled with the money issue—”Lord, will this book at least pay for itself?”
Well, I finally came to the conclusion that it did not matter if the book made money, or even if it paid for itself. That was not to be my concern. The important thing was not profitability. The important thing was obedience. I have been through this sort of thing before.
In January of this year (four months ago) I selected some of my blog writings to put into the book. I reworked them as needed and God blessed me with an exceptional editor in Carmon Friedrich. I hired a professional graphic designer to put the cover together. Rick Saenz agreed to carry the book at Cumberland Books even before he saw it.
If you’ve ever written and published a book, you know it requires a lot of effort and “sticktoitiveness.” It is surprising, really, how much work must go into such a project. But it is something I thoroughly enjoy doing. This book came together remarkably well. I saw the hand of Providence in it. I have been truly blessed by the experience of producing this book—like never before in any book I’ve put together.
Well, anyway, like I said, my book is done, and that’s always a good feeling. The book is titled Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian. You can see the book and read all about it by going to the web site I had made. But before I give you the link, I want to publicly praise the Lord Most High for His guidance and provision in the creation of this book.
I know not what will happen as my book is released and I begin to market it. But I am praying that a spirit of favor will be with it, that many people will read it, that it will find its way into the hands of those among His people whose hearts are ripe for the message of Christian agrarian revival and, in the end, that lives will be changed. That is, I realize, a big prayer for a humble little book of stories. Whatever the case, it is in God’s hands, as it has always been, and that's something else I feel good about.
God bless you all,
P.S. I almost forgot to tell you how to get to my exciting new Christian-agrarian web site. Here it is: www.TheDeliberateAgrarian.com
P.P.S. I have mailed out complimentary review copies of Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian to the first 16 agrarian bloggers listed on the right side of this page. I wish I could afford to send it to everyone else.