Original Book on the Beatitudes
For the last three years, I have been studying the Beatitudes, the blessings that Jesus gave during the Sermon on the Mount. They can seem strange and even sappy to contemporary ears, or as small comforts to big problems. As I keep knocking and seeking and pressing in to understand them, I keep finding new and extraordinary dimensions of meaning and significance.
I have written about some of my reflections -- in fact, on each and every Beatitude, at the Huffington Post, where I am a frequent contributor. (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-simpson)
I have also talked about them one by one on my professionally produced podcast, "Seeking Peace". (http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/seekingpeace)
Looking at the Beatitudes as a kind of ladder, an ascent, I have discovered some amazing things about spirituality and its fundamental relationship to the world. So I want to go more in depth and write a full-length book. The problem is that I have three kids, a low paying job, and lots of bills. I don't have the time, unless...
You Help Fund My Project
I work right now as a freelance copy writer online, anonymously providing content for various websites. It does not pay much. I make about .015 cents per 425 word article, which comes to about $6 an article. I have to write a lot of those to take care of business at home. Most of the stuff I write is about criminal law, car insurance, chiropractic and holistic health, psychology and self-improvement, as well as a variety of other subjects.
My studies on the Beatitudes have already given me a lot of material, I just need time to write and put it together. The funding would replace the money I make writing online content. It would cover bills and help feed us this summer. I would rather be writing and getting paid for something interesting that may stimulate thought and action than writing about car insurance and human growth hormone for $6 a pop.
My Future Goals
I am also a non-traditional student, having recently returned to school after a 15 year hiatus to pursue a degree in Psychology. I will transfer to Southern Oregon University In Ashland in September of this year. My aspirations are to make a positive difference in the lives of others. That's why I am choosing Psychology. I care deeply about people, about culture and the world we live in, more than I do about ideology or religion for its own sake. I want to redeem myself in the next half of my life (assuming I live an average lifespan) and make a difference in the lives of other people, particularly the disadvantaged. I think this book, along with my educational pursuits would be a great starting point.
Why The Beatitudes?
I see the Beatitudes as being revolutionary. They are antithetical to conventional wisdom or common sense in our present culture. I also don't think they are mere rhetoric, but apply to almost every area of life. Whether we are talking about poverty and our attitudes towards money in a capitalist society, or how we care for those who have less, or our relationship to the earth, to matter itself and to ecology.
The Beatitudes are together like a manual that instructs us on how to "be peace", not just be at peace, but become peace so that peace can spread, and that peace comes from being rooted both in the life of God and in the physical world. My desire isn't to proselytize, but to present my understanding of the text as it relates to spirituality and the world we live in.
My plan for the book is a very personal, reflective style, more like a memoir or an informal essay than a book of theology. The style will differ somewhat from the pieces I have published at the Huffington Post. My articles online are somewhat truncated just to get the basic points across. My plan for this book is write extremely well, conversationally and to make reading it a pleasure, not something that feels like a duty or obligation. I want to tell stories, not give homilies.
What if I Don't Meet the Funding Goal?
Any money will be used to write the book in lieu of writing SEO content. If I don't meet the goal, or only make $10, that money will be used for me to work on the book the amount of time it would take me to write $10 worth of chiropractic articles or car repair articles, or whatever. The book may take longer to complete, but anyone who funds it will reeieve their perks whether the funding goal is reached or not. Just later rather than sooner.
If I am funded to write this book, I will initially submit it to a publisher who may be interested. If that does not pan out, I will publish it myself. Certain funding levels will recieve copies. Everyone who helps out will receive a special mention in the acknowledgements on the project website, where I hope to keep patrons updated on the book's progress, and even post sample segments as I write the book.
I know not everyone can contribute, but I am just asking fellow strugglers to send a small donation to get me started on this. I am very excited about the possibility of having the liberty to write about something that is very personal and important to me. And please do me a favor and spread the word! Share on your Facebook page, tweet on your Twitter!