Today I did six radio interviews to stations in places like Sacramento, San Francisco, Carson City, Nev., Albuquerque and – the most exotic – Auckland, New Zealand. I told the latter that I’d love to come speak down there. The Kiwis saw a nice spread I got in Sunday’s Washington Times whereby much of the first chapter was excerpted on page A9 along with a nice review that ran in the book section.
I wish the headline of the former had not said Americans are leaving the church “in droves” as that’s not what my book is saying although the “back door revival” is significant. But the leave-takers are tough to count. Many won’t admit they’ve actually left. Several people wanted to know exactly how many have gone and to be honest, I couldn’t say how many thousands or millions of people this entails. I could say that evangelical churches, like everyone else, tend to inflate their membership figures. Only in the past year or so have the Southern Baptists, said to number 16 million+, have admitted that weekly attendance is closer to 6 million. That is quite a drop.
Some people confused my talk of evangelicals leaving with ALL people leaving churches which again was not accurate. The mainline Protestants have been dropping for decades so that would not have been news. Anyway, today was my first real taste of peoples’ reactions nationwide and some of the criticisms they have about my findings. Some people emailed the WTimes to suggest I was not a believer at all whereas some said bravo, such as the former Assemblies of God pastor who said he could have written my whole excerpt himself. So at least he agrees!
This past weekend I presented my findings at a panel sponsored by the Religion Newswriters Association. But the real hit was not my scintillating research but the presence of Miss Veeka who stole the show at a book launch Thursday night at the K Street Lounge. Veeka does very well at these cocktail soirees with all that yummy bread and cheese lying around.
The photo is several months old; taken at the Moby Dickens bookstore in Taos back in March when Veeka discovered the bookstore kitty conked out on a little divan. I never got to post it, so here it is now.
If any of you are looking to buy the book, Barnes & Noble and B. Dalton are carrying it, at least in northern Virginia. I was at the Barnes & Noble at Seven Corners in Falls Church and there was a lovely stack right near the front door on the “new non-fiction table.