Right in front of me is a copy of Faith Without Illusions: Following Jesus as a Cynic-Saint. It is my first and only book. It was born out of much joyful travail. Many mornings were so early, many nights so late. But now here it is, right before me. It is a thing. Reified. No longer a pdf or a doc displayed on my computer screen. No longer some conglomeration of bytes or pixels traveling in cyberspace between my laptop and my editor’s desk. It has entered the realm of the material. The brilliant cover design is now a book jacket. It has texture my fingers can touch, not just pixellation my eyes can see. It has a slight smell, the smell of live biological matter with a detailed history that could be traced mysteriously from forest to heavy tractors to freight trucks to factories to who knows where else until the tree became serialized pages in a book called Faith Without illusions (recycled paper was used when available, I am told).
The book is literally in my hands. But that means it is now figuratively out of my hands. I cannot control how the sentences will be construed or the pace at which they are read or the degree to which they receive the readers’ concentration. In many ways, this is exciting. It is exciting because now the book is able to host countless dialogues between the reader and the primary subject matter, who–it should be noted–is Jesus.
Overall, this is a very satisfying experience for me. (It would be better had I not just noticed a couple of typos in the acknowledgments). So… if you end up like me with one of these book copies in your hand, then happy reading.