A little bit behind the scenes

I very rarely publish posts like this on the blog, but I’m going to this time for a couple reasons. First, as providence would have it the blog has gained some readers in the past couple of weeks, thanks to one post that set the all-time record for single day traffic. Second, it occurred to me that it’s been 2 years since I launched this site (though the previous 4-5 years worth of content were brought over from a different blog), and there’s probably a lot of people reading who have no idea who I am or what I do.

So, a little bit about me, and then a little bit about what goes on here.

I’m an acquisitions editor for an evangelical Christian book publisher. I have no particular “expertise” other than education in theology and several years working in editorial for evangelical institutions. My academic background is philosophy. I’m a “pastor’s kid” who grew up in the Southern Baptist convention. For the the vast majority of my life I’ve lived in Louisville, Kentucky, where I have just recently returned after three years in suburban Chicago. I was raised in a conservative evangelical household, but when I was 21 I  realized (through coming to grips with an addiction and its wrecking of my life) that I did not actually know the gospel and did not belong to Christ. During a moment of suicidal ideation, I heard God tell me clearly that he had died for me so I wouldn’t have to. At that point I believe I truly became a Christian.

God has abundantly restored what my own sin and selfishness destroyed. I have the greatest wife in the world, Emily, and we are blessed with two children, Charlie Lewis and Ruth Caroline. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, indeed.

Now, what’s this blog all about?

I’ve been writing regularly for most of my life, and blogging consistently for about 7 years now. For me, writing is a way to work out what I think. Only rarely do I write knowing exactly what I want to say; most of the time I think as I write, and the clarity I find through the process is very satisfying. I’ve been blessed to write for several outside publications, but I love the blog format for its ease, direct access to readers, and broad topics.

Most of my attention is given to the intersection of Christianity, cultural movements (not excluding politics but not emphasizing it either), and technology, especially social media. I’m a ‘generalist’ and I actually regret this most of the time. I don’t think the literary world needs more generalists, but alas, I don’t see this part of me changing any time soon.

What I most want to accomplish with this blog is to think through tough, knotty, emotionally fraught topics with clarity and humility. The title “Letter and liturgy” reflects an orientation toward the written word and the spiritual practice. For me the discipline of thinking well and saying beautifully is a spiritual activity.  I want to love God and love others through the written word. This isn’t a devotional or inspirational blog, but those are not the only kinds of writing that can love God and others. Sometimes the best way to fulfill the great commandment is to think well.

I hope nobody reading this blog thinks of me as a “teacher” in the ecclesiological sense. What you read here are the imperfect, incomplete musings of an observer. There is no substitute for the kind of authoritative biblical teaching that you get in thick membership with a local church. This may seem obvious, but in the digital age it must be said.

I try to write weekly, simply because that’s about all I can manage at this point!

Lastly: I’m very, very thankful for your reading. All of you. Seriously. It means a lot!

-SDJ

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Author: Samuel D. James

Believer, husband, father, acquisitions editor, writer.

4 thoughts on “A little bit behind the scenes”

  1. You have been a lockdown discovery – and so glad I found you! I love your posts! I am a Crossway author and am therefore totally partisan – Lane and Ebeth Dennis have been a glorious gift of God to the Evangelical world for which millions of Christians worldwide can be thankful. And your blogs are fun and edifying at the same time – though that could be because I invariably end up agreeing with you! Be encouraged brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PS: like Lane and Ebeth my life was transformed by knowing Francis Schaeffer. He had the concept of co-belligerency. I wonder if you could apply that to Evangelicals who believe in social justice in alliance with woke people who believe the same concept but come to it from a very different direction? The ideology behind Black Lives Matter is wholly secular but if we are Bible-following Evangelicals we believe in the correct sense that black lives do matter as black people are as much human in the image of God as anyone else? The Christian Right is as obsessed with intersectionality as the secular left, so that you have the crazy phenomenon of people accusing Mark Dever of being a Cultural Marxist, which is of course sheer nonsense!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing brother. Similarly, I don’t share much personal stuff, apart from my main content of devotionals. But it’s definitely good to have a bit of colour and background in the big picture of our blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi wife and kids! I’ve been reading for 🤔 2 years – well I guess it has to be more because I’m certain I was reading before you relaunched or changed the format. Look, I’ve got 4 kids, I can’t keep up. I enjoy reading and thinking through your musings. Thanks!

    Like

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