I never set out to be an author. When I was a child struggling with dyslexia, the thought that both reading and writing would be something I would want to do never crossed my mind. But life takes unique twists and turns and as I began to collect stories and experience, a deep desire swelled up in me to share them in written form.
So here I am: a dyslexic author out and about promoting my now second book and feeling pretty optimist about life. If you’ve never written a book before or spent much time around authors you might not know that we will find a way to mention our book in the most random ways. “Oh look! You’ve got a cookbook in your kitchen like most Americans do? Have I mentioned I’ve written a book?” Or “You’ve got to use the restroom? Might want to take a copy of my book to read...or use for toilet paper!” And boy do we get a kick out of ourselves for it.
But I digress. So here I was name dropping my authorship in a discussion about homelessness, “You might want to read the book I wrote on the subject. It seems to me you’ve got some major misconceptions about poverty and homelessness.”
A few hours later I saw he had responded, “Your book is heresy!”
I was ecstatic! Someone other than my editor had read my book! So I responded logically, “you’ve read my book?!”
“I don’t have to read your stupid book to know it’s heresy.”
My soul was crushed. And not just because he hadn’t read my book but because he wouldn’t even take the time to. Yes, the ideas that I wrote down might challenge his perspective on a few things (trust me, my perspective was challenged quite a bit living the experiences I wrote about) but to simply write something off because it may challenge you is dangerous.
I offered to send him a copy. He never responded.
People being afraid of books isn’t new. For as long as we’ve been writing down our stories, people have been burning and banning and protesting literature. It’s why it’s so important that we have freedom of the press. It’s why we have to fight for writings that offend us and not just the ones that agree with us. We should want to be challenged. It’s even important to disagree!
I don’t mind being called a heretic or being told my writing is bad or that I’m stupid because, as The Dude says, “well, that’s just like, your opinion man.” I’m fine with that. What scares me is the refusal to even try to think beyond what you believe might could be right.
When I wrote Charity Means Love, I knew it would challenge some. It’s difficult to evaluate how we’ve operated as a norm towards and issue and then have to realize we might have been doing it wrong. I can assure you that wasn’t an easily realization for those within the world of charity that began making dramatic changes so they could help more people.
I even knew people would be offended by my use of the word charity.
I didn’t write the book because I thought I was absolutely right about everything or that I was better than anyone. I simply wrote it to start a conversation about how we could all maybe do a little bit better to help our neighbor. It’s as simple as that.
If that is heresy, I’ll gladly burn for it.
You can get a copy signed by my heretical hand right here. Even if you can't get a copy today, be sure and share this with your friends. We can make a difference if we learn to ask the right questions and always lead with love.