Energion.com https://energion.co Publishing for the creative Christian mind Mon, 30 Nov 2015 05:35:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cyber Monday Sale https://energion.co/blog/2015/11/cyber-monday-sale/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/11/cyber-monday-sale/#comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 05:35:52 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12811 Continue reading ]]> direct_book_shelfOn Monday, November 30, 2015, use the coupon code advent2015 on Energion Direct to receive our largest ever general discount: 40% off on all products for the day.

You will need to apply the coupon code when checking out to receive this discount.

Yes, it is good with free shipping on orders over $10 and other offers. Yes, it is good for all books!

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SBL/AAR After Action Report #SBLAAR15 https://energion.co/blog/2015/11/sblaar-after-action-report-sblaar15/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/11/sblaar-after-action-report-sblaar15/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 16:15:36 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12774 Continue reading ]]> One table. We had two tables and rearranged them several times.

One of our tables at conference start. We had two tables and rearranged them several times.

From November 21 to 24, 2015, I exhibited Energion Publications books in booth 2110 at the Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion (SBL from here on) annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a very interesting experience for a small publisher to display in this large venue.

For the benefit of other small publishers or organizations that are considering displaying at this sort of event in the future, and also to let our constituency know a bit about what goes on around here, I thought I’d make my thoughts on this event public.

What does a little company like Energion Publications want to accomplish at SBL? Well, as always, we want to sell books. There are somewhere around 10,000 people there, generally interested in biblical studies, so it seems like a good audience at first glance. But we need to break this down a bit further.

I went thinking of three categories of activity.

  1. Direct sales. Put books in the hands of buyers on the spot.
  2. Textbook, readings, and curriculum adoption. SBL is a particularly good place to find people looking for textbooks. By curriculum here I mean materials for church programs as opposed to college or seminary texts.
  3. Networking. Finding potential new authors and also contacting people that we might want to communicate with in the future. When you e-mail someone it’s helpful if they remember a personal conversation with you, always provided they didn’t find you a bore!

Considering that you start by paying around $2,000 for a booth and considerably more than that for the additional costs involved, a small company has to consider carefully what they believe they will accomplish in a venue like this. Our results were interesting, and not unpredictable.

But before I give results in each of these categories, let me note that SBL is not a Christian organization. There are plenty of Christians in it, but it is a society for all of those interested in biblical studies from any perspective. This should be obvious, I think, but for some it is not. It is also an organization for scholars. You’re not going to find your average church member looking for an introduction to reading his or her Bible.

The aisle on which we were located gives some perspective. On one side was Eisenbrauns with their excellent academic offerings. We’re not operating in the same space. They were extremely busy. Across from us was Hendrickson Publishers, displaying their academic line, and also quite well occupied. South African Theological Seminary, and evangelical seminary offering a PhD via distance learning was located on the other side. Down the aisle was Crossway with a few academic books and a few for the general public. Crossway connects primarily with evangelicals. At the other end of the aisle, on both sides, was Abingdon, with again both academic and general audience books. (Across from Eisenbrauns was Editorial Verbo Divino, offering academic books in Spanish, which put them in a completely different category.)

Where did Energion fit? Well, we do not publish anything that competes with Hendrickson or Eisenbrauns. We have a bit of crossover with Crossway (both we and they had a substantial volume on divine revelation, for example), and we also have a bit of crossover with Abingdon. What we don’t have is a substantial number of books that biblical scholars in academia want on their shelves.

There is publishing for scholars, i.e. material written or prepared by scholars for scholars on the one hand a simple, popular works on the other. Then there is Energion Publications, where the bulk of our books are written by scholars for people who are not scholars. The majority of our authors have doctoral level degrees, while other authors have made a serious study of their subject. But none of these people are writing exclusively or primarily for a scholarly audience. Yes, I would consider books like The Jesus Paradigm, From Inspiration to Understanding, Philosophy for Believers, Meditations on According to John, and our Areopagus series to be valuable to scholars as well, but they are addressed to the church.

Note two points: 1) We’re not primarily addressing scholars, and 2) Even when we address scholars, we’re generally addressing scholars in the church.

With that, point #1. Sales of books were dismal. Well, one needs to consider context. They weren’t really dismal against realistic projections. Fortunately, I’d planned the budget based on $0 in sales. Why? Because before I got there I really had no basis to judge. One representative of a larger company that had worked this event for his company told me that he would be surprised if I sold less than $10,000. I think he must have looked at the size of our catalog vs the size of his and done a quick mental division. We actually sold in the hundreds, not the thousands or tens of thousands.

9781938434419sOne book that did draw attention was Seeing the Psalter, which is a challenging read. I encountered a couple of people with backgrounds both in biblical languages and in information technology who were attracted to that book.

It really only takes a bit of using one’s head to explain this. If you look at my explanation of our books vs. their books, you’ll see. SBL is much more likely to be a good fishing ground to catch Energion’s sort of authors than Energion’s sort of readers.

Which leads to objective #3. Based on my explanation so far, if you’re expecting that #3 went better than #1, you have caught the logic. It went much better. I am past satisfied with these results and have attained excitement. Of course, those who know how these things work will realize that not all contacts turn into book contracts. OK, let’s make that not very many. But the results were still good even with that consideration. Some were just general interests, but some were very specific.

Stepping back to #2, the same logic applies. For the same reason that our books are rarely the ones SBL attendees want to read or put in their own library, there are a significant number that they might want to have students read. The most popular book in this category was Aprenda a leer el Griego del Nuevo Testamento, the Spanish translation of Dr. David Alan Black’s introductory Greek grammar. Others that featured were Meditations on According to John (and the still-in-manuscript Meditations on the Letters of Paul), Philosophy for Believers, Why Four Gospels, and Process Theology.

We did better in the text and reading area than in church curriculum, though there was substantial interest in Hunger: Satisfying the Longing of Your Soul, which is still in process (you should see it on Amazon in about a week).

Overall, I believe the trip was worth it for our company. I have not committed to next year, as I want to observe actual results. Do the books in which people showed particular interest start selling better over the next few months? Do I discover that any of them have been adopted as textbooks? Adoption of a book as a textbook, is, of course, the gift that keeps on giving for a publisher.

If the follow-up is proportional to what I saw, I would expect us to be in San Antonio in 2016. That, however, will have to wait for further action!

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Interview with Dr. Robert LaRochelle https://energion.co/blog/2015/11/interview-with-dr-robert-larochelle/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/11/interview-with-dr-robert-larochelle/#comments Wed, 04 Nov 2015 00:01:25 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12618 Continue reading ]]> Book coverBob is author of the book A Home United which is a study guide for couples who are from different faith traditions.

He was interviewed on That’s the Spirit, a program of the Office of Radio and Television of the Archdiocese of Hartford.

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Link: Review of Seven Marks of a New Testament Church https://energion.co/blog/2015/11/link-review-of-seven-marks-of-a-new-testament-church/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/11/link-review-of-seven-marks-of-a-new-testament-church/#comments Tue, 03 Nov 2015 23:51:40 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12616 9781631990465mFrom the blog Preposterous Preponderance. Thanks!

If you have reviewed one of our books on your blog, make sure we receive the link (e-mail us), and we’ll link to your review.

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Great Disappointment Posts – 1 https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/great-disappointment-posts-1/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/great-disappointment-posts-1/#comments Thu, 22 Oct 2015 21:11:01 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12518 Continue reading ]]> I have made two pages available in the Resources section of the Energion Discussion Network. These are pages, not regular posts in the discussion on EDN.

They are:

  • 1844 -1: Between the Disappointments by Edward W. H. Vick
    Dr. Vick discusses what happened between the spring of 1844, sometimes referenced as the lesser disappointment, and October 22, 1844, the Great Disappointment. He looks at the reaction of those in the Millerite movement to having their hopes dashed, and examines their interpretation of the Parable of the Ten Virgins. You might be surprised at how they read it!
  • Is It Time to Talk about Eschatology? by Alden Thompson
    Dr. Thompson talks about the controversy surrounding the way we interpret and some of the social factors. Then he points to some possible ways to understand this in the future.

I’m going to fill out this post with two YouTube videos. The first is our Tuesday Night Hangout from last Tuesday night, in which Dr. Alden Thompson was discussing the importance and relevance of the Old Testament. He does manage to make reference to eschatology. The second is the viewer for my Eschatology study tonight.

First, Alden Thompson:

And now my upcoming Hangout:

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Controversial Issues and Publishing Unbiblical Books https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/controversial-issues-and-publishing-unbiblical-books/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/controversial-issues-and-publishing-unbiblical-books/#comments Thu, 22 Oct 2015 20:58:54 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12516 Continue reading ]]> Henry Neufeld

SteveLambert-Library-Book-Cart-300pxI’m pretty sure I publish some books with unbiblical material in them. The hard question is which ones those are. Some people expect me to know because I read the Bible in Greek and Hebrew. Everyone who reads the Bible in Greek and Hebrew (with a little Aramaic thrown in) knows what is biblical and what is not and agrees with everyone else who reads Greek and Hebrew.

Well, not so much.

I write about this frequently, because the topic comes up frequently. I think this is because Energion Publications is individually owned, and so people expect it to reflect my beliefs.

It does.

Primarily my belief that humans (especially me) are fallible and likely to get things wrong much of the time. The way we can correct for that is by hearing and evaluating a variety of viewpoints, and then examining our own ideas in the light of what we may have learned. I consider this the intellectual form of repentance. I was doctrinally wrong. I listened to somebody (or many somebodies) who convinced me of my wrongness, so I changed my mind. Repentance. It’s good for you.

Of course you (or I) may conclude you were right all along, but I will still claim that there was value in the examination itself, that by constantly being on guard for the possibility that I am wrong I cultivate an attitude of teachability and help myself not get stuck in my errors. I’m pretty sure I’ll keep making some errors. I just want to catch them as quickly as I can.

This approach to publishing goes contrary to the accepted wisdom on how to do business. By publishing multiple perspectives on controversial issues I’m likely to annoy advocates of one particular perspective. Marketing specialists would urge me to recognize my audience and refine it and then publish things that audience wants to read. At a minimum I need to make sure to publish all the views in one book and attain balance.

I’m not interested in balance. I’m interested in the best, most passionate advocacy I can find. I’m interested in those genuinely on fire for their position, yet who are willing to engage in dialogue.

Contrary fellow that I am, I’m going to find things to publish that will annoy my audience. Oh, not all of it. I’ve found that there are quite a few people who share my interest. I don’t even get to have the pride of being the one and only person interested in such a broad range of viewpoints! But there are many others who get a bit annoyed as someone pushes the boundaries of their thinking.

Where are the boundaries? Let me point you to the Energion Publications doctrinal statement. While you’re there, please read both of the notes carefully.

That statement does not give our positions on a variety of issues, such as baptism, sacraments, ordination (women’s or anyone’s), ecclesiology, details of biblical inspiration, hermeneutics, social action, political policies, or a host of other issues. Included in that host are two that have raised questions: Homosexuality and Evolution. We don’t take a position on those either. I and my team will examine manuscripts from any perspective on those issues and evaluate whether they will advance the discussion. If they will, and the manuscript fulfils other requirements, we will publish them, schedule permitting.

Oh, and one more thing. Whatever the position of the book, whether I agree with the conclusions or not, I will, both as a matter of duty and personal mission, make every effort to sell the book and get that author’s message out. I owe it to both the author and the audience.

Yes, that goes even if the book is thoroughly unbiblical. According to somebody.


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The Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844 https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/the-great-disappointment-of-october-22/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/the-great-disappointment-of-october-22/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2015 22:04:08 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12505 Continue reading ]]> Most of you are probably not acquainted with this date, but those, like me, who grew up in one of the various Adventist groups that grew out of the Millerite movement (1830s and 1840s) remember it well. William Miller, and various other interpreters in that movement determined that Jesus would return in glory on October 22, 1844. They’d had some timing problems up until then, but at that point they were certain.

As we look back from 2015, we know they were wrong.

I’m fairly delighted to work with people who have been, are, and will be wrong. As long as they are willing to change their minds as they go, that is. Being wrong is not the worst possible thing. Being uncorrectable, on the other hand, may well be.

So tomorrow and during the following week, I will be posting some material from Seventh-day Adventist authors talking about prophecy, eschatology, and how we interpret scripture. These will be added to the resource pages we are developing on the Energion Discussion Network site. Just look for the Resources menu item at the top and you’ll find them.

Since the Resources section is under development, however, I will post links here.

Here’s my introductory post: Adventists, Other Christians, and The Great Disappointment.

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Happy Thanksgiving! https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/happy-thanksgiving-4/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/happy-thanksgiving-4/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2015 16:38:55 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12438 Continue reading ]]> thanksgiving - canada
© Olga Vasilkova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

… to our authors and readers in Canada! For today and tomorrow only, our books authors by Canadian authors will be 30% off, and books shipped to Canada will have an additional 10% off.

Yes, both will apply if you buy books by Canadian authors and have them shipped to Canada!

Our authors in Canada are:

Bob MacDonald, author of Seeing the Psalter.

Ben Baxter, author of “In the Original Text It Says …”

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Obstacles to Agreeing about the Bible https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/obstacles-to-agreeing-about-the-bible/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/obstacles-to-agreeing-about-the-bible/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2015 16:13:00 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12434 Continue reading ]]> Over the next three days, I look at the impasse in biblical interpretation and offer some of the reasons for it. It is painfully obvious that Christians continue to have strong disagreements that not only divide communities, but keep us from uniting before the world. Today’s post looks at the problem and the next two offer possible ways to diminish the negative effects of disagreement. https://energion.co/discuss

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Today is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/today-is-world-hospice-and-palliative-care-day/ https://energion.co/blog/2015/10/today-is-world-hospice-and-palliative-care-day/#comments Sat, 10 Oct 2015 07:00:58 +0000 https://energion.co/?p=12353 Continue reading ]]> Today is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. One of the most innovative and life-enhancing aspects of modern healthcare is the hospice movement. Jody Neufeld, a now-retired practitioner in providing hospice care as a Registered Nurse, looks over her career and shares some practical advice and wisdom for those of us (meaning most of us) who will be facing end-of-life choices for ourselves or our loved ones. It’s today’s post in the Energion Discussion Network found here: https://energion.co/discuss

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