This is like a Kickstarter campaign, except it is not going to cost you a dime.
A little history: I had two majors in college, and so I had to write two senior theses. One of those was a critical analysis of Sweden’s development aid relationship with Tanzania (which was rather difficult, because I have never been to Tanzania). The second was an ambitious attempt to find some common ground between the academic disciplines of philosophical hermeneutics and conflict transformation, which was just about as painful as it sounds. By the end of the paper I was reduced to blabbering about Jesus.
But sometimes when you shoot for the moon you land among the stars. My professor returned the paper back to me, with a number of passages circled, underlined, smiley-faced. I had been so lost in my own world that it had not occurred to me the significance of some of the things I had been saying. “You really should consider getting this published,” he said.
Neither of us knew what getting published looked like. There was no academic journal that would take such a bizarre piece, especially from an undergraduate student. I tried submitting it to a peace studies conference, but the paper was just too theoretical to stand side-by-side with students my age who had done their research not in the library but in war zones.
Then it hit me. For me to really test these ideas, I needed to put them in an arena. There was that bit in the paper when I blabbered about Jesus…what if I were to play these ideas out in a church context?
And so I wrote a 1,000 word blog post, “The Virtue of Open-Mindedness”, for publication in Christian channels. Last May, the Donald Miller-associated e-magazine Burnside Writer’s Collective picked it up.
I thought I had done justice to the paper. I got the ideas out there, that should be enough.
And then, over the past year, at a high school youth retreat of all places, I realized there was still more to say.
Now, I have 16,000 words sitting on my hard drive. Instead of a blog post, it is a full-fledged essay. Instead of publishing it via WordPress, I am probably going to put it in formats suitable for e-readers (think Kindle).
But before I do that, I want your help reviewing the rough draft of The Virtue of Open-Mindedness. I am looking for a couple of readers and editors of different kinds: those with an eye for typos and those with an eye for style; theologically-minded and philosophically-minded who can point out any heresies or logical fallacies I may be making; and finally just anyone interested in what I have to say but who can call me out for having my head in the clouds.
I cannot promise much in terms of compensation, other than you will get a copy of the essay for free (if I decide to charge for it) and if you are in the Chicago area I am willing to buy you a cup of coffee so that we can meet up and talk about it.
If interested, fill out the form below and send me a note. I don’t plan on turning away potential proof-readers and editors, but I am also not going to trust this work to complete strangers unless they can explain themselves. Also, only fill out this form if (over the next month) you can commit to reading 16,000 words in and giving me at least 160 words of feedback.
Thanks so much friends. Stay tuned for my next Kickstarter campaign where I try and raise the funds to travel out to Tanzania. (Just joking.) (Kind of.)