By Dan Balow
Over 25 years ago, one of my favorite magazines was a “geek” publication called “American Demographics.” The magazine doesn’t exist any longer, but the various contributors to the magazine continue to comment in other publications.
Almost every day, I think about one of the articles I read in AD from those many years ago. It was a tongue-in-cheek piece on the danger of “WIWAK” research …where a person will make a decision based on When I Was A Kid. The article was a call to make informed decisions based on facts, regardless of your personal biases.
A lot of publishing decisions are made because, “my son would never read this”, or “I don’t like books on…”
Successful publishing is almost always a result not of thinking “outside of the box”, but thinking outside of ourselves. After all, in publishing companies, men work on books for women, women work on books for men, Christians work on books for unbelievers and authors write books for people unlike them. Successful publishing is about putting our preferences aside to communicate something to people who are not us.
However, publishing will always be an art form. Very few successful books have been published as a result of a research study. We all remember the juvenile fiction of the 1980s and 90’s that required titles be short and with large print so 8-12 year olds could say they read a 100 page book. Then along comes Harry Potter and that age group is reading 800 page books. Art wins.
So, I have committed myself to thinking outside of my personal preferences. Seeing the world through the eyes of someone else is rather enjoyable and even God- pleasing.
Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9: 19-23 (New Living Translation)
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So much of life isn’t about us…shouldn’t be about us. It’s about the gospel. Point well made, Dan. Thank you for this reminder.
You make an excellent point. We should not assume that the way we see life, everyone sees life. And to be open-minded enough to try to experience life from another person’s viewpoint is to open ourselves up to that person. Even if, in the end, we don’t truly love what they love or loathe what they loathe, to try to see the world the way they do–that is a sacrifice by itself.
Dan, thanks for letting me know about WIWAK. I need to make sure I guard against making WIWAK decisions.
You expressed succinctly what I have been trying to convey to our boys—the freedom we have in Christ allows more room for ministry—less room for judgment. God leads us all through different learning paths at different times.
Thanks for the reminder that another genre may be used by God to reach people—too many times I get stuck in one and do not consider others.
When we are in Christ, we are free, indeed. Thanks for the thoughts. Makes me think there’s still hope out there for my manuscript!