One of the many, many things that I love about Palmer Theological Seminary is that I have been able to explore the intersection of animals and theology throughout my two and a half years. Pretty much every paper I’ve written (even in Church History) dealt in one way or another with human relationships to nonhuman animals. As a result, by the time I graduate in May, I’ll have most, if not all, of a book written on evangelical animal liberation theology. They’ve given me the tools and opportunity to start to work out some pretty big questions.
So, back in November, in a feat of bravery and optimism, I prepped and submitted a proposal to an editor contact at Baker Books (one of the biggest Christian publishers). I heard back from the editor today, who said he had taken it to the editorial team, and though the topic was important, they didn’t feel there was enough of a market for the work.
I’m discouraged and encouraged.
I’m encouraged because I got past step one. This is HUGE! I got someone not only to look at my proposal, but who thought it decent enough to bring to a broader group. I am thrilled that it wasn’t chucked out at first glance.
And yet, I still had to fight these demons after I read and processed the email. It was a rejection. There’s no getting around that. I’m not used to rejection, because I don’t frequently do stuff that risks failure (see: resolutions). For a few seconds, I thought to myself, “Who do you think you are? No one will want to read this…you’re arrogant for even trying.” Etcetera etcetera etcetera, ad nauseam.
Then I got bored with my own self-doubt. Fuck that. And yeah, I mean to use harsh language. That shit’s the devil dancing in my head and that particular club is closed.
How many other evangelical Christians are committed to animal liberation? How many others have my experiences, at ESA and at PETA in the U.S. and Europe? Not
many. And while the number of Christians who are rethinking the human/nonhuman animal relationship is growing like wheatgrass in Berkeley, there aren’t many (yet) who are willing and able to beat the drum loud and long. Jesus gave me these passions for a reason. I’m on this path with confidence that my purpose is ordained by God.
Maybe I’m too used to short-term victories. Quick payoffs. This is a long-haul kind of endeavor. So, after I replied to the kind man at Baker, I sucked up my self-pity and submitted queries to two literary agents today. And I’ll keep risking, writing, thinking, talking, and sometimes shouting as long as it freaking takes.
Bring it on, rejection. Bring. it. on.