Monday, December 11, 2006

And One More On the Thomas Nelson Thing

Okay, back from the doc and some Christmas shopping and lunch out with my sister.

I found a comment on the "Nelson Standard" brouhaha on Jonquil's livejournal blog, and it had this to say:
I've seen house rules for some Christian romances ("no dancing or use of alcohol"), and believe me, the expressed standards for Thomas Nelson are quite moderate. It's a Christian house, and they're trying to publish what they see as Christian book. That's no more unreasonable than Rodale setting its own house rules and refusing to publish books on, say, hydroponic farming based on chemical mixes.

Or Cleis Press or Beloved Disciple Press publishing a book on the topic that abstinence and utter chastity is the only path for fellow gays, even though I've met a number of gay Christians who hold that opinion.

A publishing purpose is a publishing purpose. As I stated in a comment at Mr. Hyatt's blog, Thomas Nelson is a niche publisher, and the niche is a Nicene Creed Christianity. As long as there isn't a Big Thomassy Brother looking over the shoulders of writers, I have no problem with editorial guidelines and a mission statement that is narrow.

I doubt Ignatius Press--publishers of one of my fave fiction writers, Michael D O'Brien, and one of my fave Christian apologists, Peter Kreeft--would be publishing any novel that promotes the notion that the Virgin Mary was not, in fact, a virgin filled with child by a miracle; or that states the doctrine of the Trinity is a big fat theological lie. They're R.C. They have a right to limit themselves to Catholic-compatible content. Whether they limit themeslves to R.C. writers, well, that I dunno. I suspect that will be the sticking point for dissenters on the "Nelson Standard." Of course, these will be complainers who do not understand the mindset that surrounds the hybrid business-as-ministry phenomenon. Bottom line comes to mean more than money. It does mean doctrinal bottom lines.

Like it or not, it's not that much different from any publisher (even secular) who have a sense of activist vision that thinks thusly: We are here to do more than just print books. We're here to foster community and our worldview. We are a band of brothers and sisters in a good fight.

Such a "vision" is not limited to Christian publishers.

Me, as long as it's not some "sign the clause and we'll be checking with your pastor to make sure you're on the straight and narrow as long as we put out your books," then I'm fine with it. The icky factor for me had a lot to do with that sort of possibility.

Now...could someone win the Powerball and give me the money so I can start my own Christian print SF magazine? And yes, I won't be publishing any story that violates my own publisher's guidelines, meaning you can say the words "breast" and "crap" and "shit" and "damn," and I won't mind if a man actually has physiological reactions to a woman he finds attractive or a woman gets all hyperventilatey if she sees Gerard Butler in an alternate universe.

In fact, I'm very, VERY glad my husband had physiological reactions to me when we were dating and affianced or I might have assumed he was a eunuch or, well, played for the other team, ya know? And yes, I've worn audacious lingerie on occasion for whoopee purposes. I'm sure God doesn't mind, even if it's taboo in general in Christian publishing. The Maker did, after all, write more than just Philippians 4:8, including a really long and seriously sexy erotic poem and some seriously scary prophetic horror passages.

Sex and violence in its finer or needful and in its baser or most perverse sorts are no strangers to the Good Book. Nor modern life. Let's just put that under "whatsoever is TRUE."


1 comment:

Beth Goddard said...

Mir see my comment on the previous Thomas Nelson Post.