One year ago today my first book, Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis (2012), was released! It’s hard to believe that a year has passed by already. On the one hand, it seems like the book has been out much longer than that and one year doesn’t quite account for how much of my thought, time, and energy has gone into the book itself, discussing themes in the book with groups and retreatants, delivering lectures about it, signing copies of it, and so on. On the other hand, it also seems like the book was just released yesterday! Just around six months after the book came out, my publisher, Franciscan Media (formerly St. Anthony Messenger Press), informed me that the book was going into its second printing — a great sign that people seem to be enjoying the book and spreading the word.
It’s been quite a blessing to receive such positive responses to the book. It has served as the occasion for connecting with so many wonderful people in different settings, including the launch of this blog about a year before the book was released. Some people have mistakingly thought that the book arose from this blog, but in fact it was the other way around. After I received the contract for Dating God, my publisher insisted that I have some sort of ‘online presence,’ which is, in all honesty, the only choice an author has these days. It’s generally expected that there be something out there like this. So, reluctantly at first, I began what became DatingGod.org, this very blog. To my surprise, it took off and became (and is still becoming) more popular by the day. As with the feedback and reception of the book, I’m incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support, enthusiasm, and appreciation people express about this blog on a daily basis.
Since the release of Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis lots of other projects, some that were concurrently in the works and others that have arisen since then, have occupied my time and energy. Just seven months after my first book was released, my second book, Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith: Exploring Franciscan Spirituality and Theology in the Modern World (2012) came out! The response to this book, published by a great family-owned Catholic press in the Southwest, has also been extraordinarily positive and enthusiastic. The style of this book is quite different from Dating God even if the theme is generally the same (i.e., the Franciscan tradition). It is a collection of essays that includes both popular and scholarly pieces that address the Franciscan tradition in ways that help uncover Franciscan spirituality and theology’s relevance for today.
Additionally, at the turn of the New Year a third book of mine was released. This is, unlike Dating God, actually connected to the blog. Franciscan Spirituality for the 21st Century: Selected Reflections from the Dating God Blog and Other Essays (2013) is exactly what is suggests: several of the most popular (and, at times, controversial) selections from the blog as well as other pieces that have stirred up interest and attention. This is another way that material from the blog can be accessed by a wider audience. The second volume of this collection is underway and is scheduled to be out in 2014.
While my “firstborn” turns one today, there are other literary siblings slated to joint the book family in the next few years. Some of these texts are finished and others are at various stages underway. To give you a sense of what is on the horizon, here is a glimpse of my upcoming books, their publishers, and their anticipated release.
- Love and Suffering: A Retreat on the Seven Last Words of Christ (Franciscan Media, 2013)
- The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Influence of His Life, Thought, and Writing (Ave Maria Press, 2014)
- Postmodernity and Univocity: A Critical Assessment of Radical Orthodoxy’s Use of John Duns Scotus (Fortress Press, 2014)
- Refresh My Soul: A New Look at 25 Classic Catholic Prayers (Franciscan Media, 2015)
These are each exciting projects and different in many ways. As you might see from the list above, one of my forthcoming books is a scholarly text published by an excellent academic press — I don’t necessarily anticipate it getting the same widespread interest as Dating God, my firstborn, but it will be a significant contribution to what continues to be a very important conversation within contemporary theological circles. Perhaps you might want to check that out next year.
All of this updating and celebrating is to say “Thank You!” to everyone who continues to be so supportive and enthusiastic about my writing and other work and ministry. I’m very grateful and hope to be able to continue sharing my reflections, thoughts, research, and the like with you all for many years to come!