On 31 January 2019 I signed my first contract with a major book publisher. I was 67 years old. Over the last two decades, digital advances in hi-speed online DIY publishing have all but wrecked the professional worlds of traditional publishers and agents. As a result, I wound up having to self-publish my books since 2005. A semi-professional creative writer for over forty years, my work was mostly fiction and poetry. Since 2011, nonfiction has increasingly taken up the bulk of my time. Much of my research has been focused on the nineteenth century. (In 2015 I wrote the first draft of a book about Bram Stoker but postponed it to finish a novel I’d been researching and working on since 1997. More about that another time.)
The book under contract is one I wrote in 2005: New Institutes: A Primer of Practical Theology for Twenty-First-Century America. Written in a simple discursive style that is a pleasure to read, New Institutes denies any conflict or incompatibility between science and moral consciousness and arrives at practical insights about America and religion, morality and science, history and ethics. New Institutes offers a refreshing interpretation of: atheism, Calvinism, corporations and capitalism, Jesus’ mission, Christian ethics, gods and goddesses, intelligent design, science and religion, ecology and economy.
Addressed to the general reader, New Institutes is also intended as a textbook for use by seminary, college, and university teachers in the humanities, arts and sciences, as well as in secondary school classrooms. The book’s envisioned political and cultural future not only complements but clarifies America’s acknowledged principles and long-term objectives. New Institutes is available immediately. Just click on the New Institutes tab at the top of the page.
In the weeks or months to come, I will post new questions and issues related to the book. Interspersed with these will be “Personal Journal” entries from my pathetic life. Did I mention that I’ve wasted my whole life writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction?
About “The Last Calvinist”: I chose that title for this blog because I sometimes call myself that (one of several monikers I’ve adopted). But there is an ambiguity in the title. ‘Last’ could mean literally ‘the end of the line: no more Calvinists.’ But ‘last’ may also connote ‘the latest,’ in which case there could be ‘more Calvinists to come.’
I’m no psychic. But as to the ambiguity: I’m keeping an open mind.
After all, I turned 68 on April 4.
“The Last Calvinist” will explore issues tantalizing, controversial, and topical, connected to the themes arising from New Institutes. I’ll look for your comments, feedback, likes or dislikes, and dialogue. Posts may include “Personal Journal” entries, poems, teaching, and stories.
Here’s an idea I’ll throw out to start with:
What if . . . making money is NOT the way, the preeminent way, of doing God’s will on earth–or even improving the quality of life for most human beings?