The other day I mentioned at the very end of my last post about Oase that “our” book, A Community called Atonement, was soon coming out. Tony Jones gave me the “bid-neth” for using the old-fashioned, formal, if not pretentious word “our” and so he asked me, “Why do you use the plural ‘our’ when you talk about your books?” Here’s my response:
Well, Mr. Jones, we wrote that book all by ourselves. But was I alone?
First, I trust the Spirit was with me.
Second, at times I thought a muse was on my shoulder.
Third, I’m a community-shaped person so nothing I write is “mine alone.”
Fourth, I was educated in England and there is a bit of a British-ness to saying “our” — isn’t there.
Fifth, I’m an academic and we are a little hesitant about getting too subjective and “my” gets a little too personal. Using “our” shuffles the responsibility to all of us.
Sixth, some Emergent cohorts read the manuscript as well.
Seventh, I had at least two editors work with me on this book.
Eighth, some colleagues and scholars have read and blurbed the book.
Ninth, everything I write gets discussed with Kris.
And, drumroll …
Tenth, Tony, my man, you are the General Editor of the series. At Abunga.com the author line has “Scot McKnight and Tony Jones”!
It is “our” book!
I now wonder how anyone can say “my” book now that I’ve thought my way into this mess.
Come to think of it, this must be the other one meant in the “our”!
Or was it Kierkegaard looking over my shoulder? Or Luther? Or HC Andersen? Or Matthew?