Saturday, December 09, 2006

Huh? Confused About the "Nelson Standard"?

Read THIS.

Now, read this.

And, finally, read this. Forget the comments. Usual one-dimensional Christian-bashing crap from folks who delude themselves they are tolerant. Same old, same old.

Okay, I gotta say that I'm hoping I'm misunderstanding something here. Is Thomas Nelson saying, "You gotta believe this" or are they saying "Your writing must not violate these principles, because our target audience is Nicene-compatible."

I have a problem with the former. I don't have a problem with the latter, except that--RANT ALERT--whenever some Evanglical (and I'm one, so I can bitch) pulls out that verse from Philippians, it's usually to support the idea of white-washed, unrealistic, blandish fiction that offends no one and steers away from the actual dark grittiness of life at all times. They're making me come to hate that verse for wielding it as the broadest sort of censor sword, one that would have chopped out a good portion of Scripture, including some of Paul's stuff.

I don't want publishing houses to get into the "sign the faith contract" business. I find that creepy.

So, I really, really hope this is just a sort of semantic puzzle, a misunderstanding. These happen all the time on the 'net.

Honestly, tell me. If meaning one were trut, wouldn't you find a publisher's demanding authors pledge some sort of creed is troubling? Go down the road a bit, extrapolationally speaking. If authors change their views about something in the Nicene Creed, say the Trinity, would T. Nelson stop printing their books that have no reference to some anti-trinitarianism and burn what's left in the warehouses? Are the contracts null and void, even with advances out there, even on works that never get anywhere near a Nicene-contradicting line of prose or dialogue? What? What happens precisely? Where's the enforcement?


Some very good, Christ-loving, Bible-honoring believers have issues with bits of the creed. Orthodox believers aren't into that whole proceeds from "the son" bit. Others have issues with the wording of "one baptism for the forgiveness of sins." Is it the actual water ritual effecting forgiveness? Is it the baptism of the Spirit? Hoo boy.

If it's just a way to say: "We think these are basic,foundational, nearly universal Christian truths that ought to be reflected in and never overtly contradicted by or breached in what's submitted to us," then I think that's a-okay. It still comes back to THE WRITING, THE WORK, and not the theological checklist of the authors themselves.

Miss Snark is right. All the editors need is to read the submissions--the work--to decide if it holds up to Nicene Creed or X, Y and Z Bible verses. And hey, even a raging apostate could write a story that fits creed and verse magnificently!

If the work doesn't violate the "editorial standards," then why would any author need to take a pledge? Nope. The Mir is not liking that possibility at all. So, I'll be fair and give Thomas Nelson Publishers the benefit of the doubt; I'll choose to believe this is a failure to communicate.

So, T. Nelson, please clarify what y'all mean--and fast. Cause in posts all over the internet, y'all are seeming like doofuses at the moment. I don't want to have wrong, ignoble, impure, unlovely, and possibly unjust thoughts of ill-repute about y'all, which would put me in terrible violation of Philippians 4:8!

Ow. This tongue thrashing about in cheek is painful.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you Mir. Sometimes even parody can be taken seriously, and be very moving for others. I like that "Morons" post the best. Being too close to a thing can make your writing myopic and kind of theologicaly onenistic too.

Josh said...

In general, I think they are referring to the latter, trying to make sure that all the material they might put under contract is lovey-dovey, not going to offend anyone therefore they will never have to hear a reader complaint again ever (of course, they won't hear anything because nothing they put out would get read by this standard). Either way, it's just one more example of someone going to extremes, and neither extreme is really looking all that smart.

Mike Duran said...

After you used the word "bitch," I stopped listening. You're lucky Thomas Nelson doesn't drop by and exercise its "editorial standards" regarding cusswords.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, "bitch" is a perfectly valid verb and noun. I think it's even in the Scrabble dictionary. women use it as a term of endearment. It all depends on context as to whether it's profane. Climb down off your high horse.

Anonymous said...

It would be troubling if a publisher was indeed trying to dictate acceptance of a specific creed to its authors. I know I would immediately be looking for another publisher, but that's easier said than done.

Blogger's not accepting my login, so I have to post this as anonymous, but here's my profile.

Mirtika said...

It's interesting about the word "bitch". I almost erased it, thinking, "Oh, someone will get testy over it." And then I didn't, as a statement. And because I like it. Crap. Bitch. Good words that say what I mean and have that monosyllabic bite. :)

I'm assuming Mikey was being sarcastic, Anony, in the spirit of my tongue in cheekiness.


Mike Duran said...

You got it, Mir! Bitch all you'd like. I've got your back. And I'll fire up the emoticons for poor Anony... if it'll help. ;)

Michael Hyatt said...

I am the CEO of Thomas Nelson. Contrary to the media reports, we are not requiring authors to sign a doctrinal statement. Nor have we included any doctrinal requirements in our contracts. You can read an unfiltered account of our editorial standards here.