Thursday, April 01, 2004

do you want many or few?

I am in the final stages of preparing my book manuscript for emergentYS. Provisional title – e~mergent postcards: a postmodern missiology. It is a followup to my PhD research on the emerging church. It is a to book, not a from book, an attempt to name some new mission contours, to link Scripture with emergent practices.

One of the things I dream of doing with the book is give some sense of writing in community. I want to ask a range of people to provide “comments” – short paragraphs alongside my thoughts – to disagree, to provide an example, to add a prayer or a ritual- and thus broaden perspectives. Just like a blog.

I am wanting to include voices like a new Christian, women church planters, wiser older heads, alongside the usual names that one needs to lift one’s book from obscurity to whatever.

The publisher and I are talking about having
a) 2 “commenters” that run through the entire book plus 4-6 other regular cycling commenters ie 6-8 commenters in total
b) 2 “commenters” that run through the entire book plus new and different voices in every chapter ie 20 commenters in total.

Would you rather have a few repeated voices for the sake of continuity, or more voices at the risk of not knowing who they are?

Posted by steve at 09:51 AM


  1. A few repeated voices :-)Community can be big or small, but it’s still community, and given these few “voices” being included your book can legitimately be said to have been written in community. Note, I am not defining “few” (wink)but am more generally commenting on the feel and accessibility.

    Comment by Paul — April 1, 2004 @ 10:02 am

  2. I think I would vote for option “a”, for the reasons Paul has outlined. The neat thing abouut this style is the reader will develop “relationships” with your commenters, as well as with you. I’ve felt that way in reading books with similar approaches.

    Comment by Mike — April 1, 2004 @ 12:14 pm

  3. are we allowed to comment on the title? having the ‘e-mergent’ in the title is just too corporate for me seeing as it’s being published by emergent. i liked your postcards from the edge title when you did the blah… in london?….
    am looking forward to the book as well!

    Comment by jonnybaker — April 1, 2004 @ 7:12 pm

  4. I like “a” too. 🙂

    Comment by timsamoff — April 2, 2004 @ 1:48 am

  5. I think I would opt for (a). A downer would be if they all shared the same DNA. It could lead to a mutant book! Be brave and find people who’ll add strength to your reflections through creative tension. It could open up multi-dimensional dialogue. Anyway good luck…!

    Comment by URBANarmy — April 2, 2004 @ 10:46 am

  6. as i said in the post, i am going to deliberately try to include a range of voices in terms of place and space.

    Comment by steve — April 2, 2004 @ 7:25 pm

  7. i’m going to swim against the flow here, steve, and go for option b. i’d want to hear as many voices as possible, to get inspired by as many different voices and stories as you can usefully include.

    the more the merrier…!

    […that said, whichever option you go for, it’s a really sound idea…]

    Comment by si smith — April 2, 2004 @ 9:11 pm

  8. oh yeah…sorry…!I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing more.

    Comment by Gordon — April 3, 2004 @ 3:22 am

  9. I would go for “more voices at the risk of not knowing who they are” since the reader will know who you are. You also should (?) provide continuity yourself and let the comments draw things out – i.e. choose the comments on their own individual merit.

    Comment by Zeth — April 11, 2004 @ 8:00 am

  10. I think people like to hear people’s stories and no longer take comments as if they come from out of the ether. Everyone’s view is seen as a product of who they are and where they’ve been. If person X says something about chapter 3, I’d want to know how that view affects the way they see chapter 5. So I would go with continuity.

    There is one other option, that you invite people to comment on each chapter who know something about that chapter… I’d still want to know who they were and where they came from etc…

    Comment by Simon Hall — June 3, 2004 @ 7:47 am

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