As everyone knows, the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness has a virtual monopoly on all things Lent. It's gotten to the point where our legal team is exploring the possibility of copyrighting the color purple.
So what are Tim and Scott doing meddling in the Season of Advent? Good question. But Forward Movement has just published Tim's Advent/Christmas devotional book titled "Dog in the Manger: Finding God in Christmas Chaos." Illustrated by popular priest/cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, the book is a series of humorous and insightful essays on ways to keep spiritually centered amid the craziness of what Tim likes to call the "Christmas-Industrial Complex."
Here's the blurb from the back cover:
Christmas card trauma. Over-the-top decorations. Post-Christmas blues.
With laugh-out-loud humor anchored by spiritual truths, author Tim Schenck helps us maintain our spiritual sanity through the often frenetic chaos of Advent and Christmas. Illustrated by popular cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, Dog in the Manger also explores the major characters of the season in new ways, including John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and of course, Jesus. Thoughtful questions following each section make Dog in the Manger ideal for personal reflection, seasonal book groups, or a last-minute Christmas gift.
The book has reflection questions following each section so it's perfect for either individual or group reflection. (Note to parish clergy: that Advent series you've been meaning to put together but haven't got around to yet? Here's your salvation).
The powers-that-be have subjected Tim to the same questions posed to our authors during September's Back to Lent Month. He was less than cooperative.
Why this book?
Why not? Oh, you want an actual answer.
I get tired of seeing people so frazzled in the weeks leading up to Christmas that it seemingly sucks all the joy out of their lives. Surely the Nativity of our Lord transcends the practiced art of re-gifting and fake greenery. I'm also passionate about popping the perfection myth. As I write in the introduction:
Our faith is a gift, but it isn’t a perfectly wrapped present with exact folds and a precisely tied bow. Fortunately faith isn’t about being neat and tidy. You may burn the Christmas roast, Santa may not bring your child exactly what she wanted, you might even get sick and miss out on the best party of the year. But through it all, God remains.
Many of these essays bring readers into the chaos of my own family life -- you can shatter the notion of the perfect clergy family -- as we struggle to remain spiritually centered amid the frenzy of the holidays. Hopefully this book will make you smile, nod your head in recognition, and help you keep life around the holidays in perspective.
Since I created Lent Madness everything I do relates to Lent Madness. Even eating nachos. Next question?
Oh, fine. The same playfulness and holy irreverence that you'll find in Lent Madness pervades this book. It all gets back to the notion of taking our faith but not ourselves too seriously.
Plus Scott Gunn and the Forward Movement team published it. Or as he recently put it, he "let one slip through the cracks."
Why should the Lent Madness faithful buy your book?
So I can retire to a grotto in Southern Italy. Actually since many people know Jay's cartoons, I'm really hoping people will buy it thinking it's one of his famous calendars. Surprise!
Also, there's no accompanying mug so you get off easy.
To order your copy (and copies for everyone you've ever met), click here. If you don't trust Tim and Scott and you want to first read a sample before shelling out your hard earned money, click here. It's also available on Kindle and Nook and iTunes. (Tim likes to sign copies of e-readers with black Sharpies).