Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Three "Short Answers" Publications


The complaint often heard about my writing is that it is too long. Well, different strokes for different folks! I'm the very first person to advise anyone that if they don't care for my style, content, or length of material, or how I lay out my arguments, to seek the information somewhere else. There are plenty of good Catholic writers and apologists to choose from. I am what I am. But the more complete truth of the matter is that I write both "long answers" and "short answers" stuff: take your pick of the latter:


Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked (OSV, 2002): ten paragraphs. Oddly enough, I've made more royalties for this pamphlet than for any of my books. This was the most "rewarding" few hours of writing I ever did! It all evens out, since I have put in multiple thousands of hours of writing which is offered free of charge. Our Sunday Visitor is the largest Catholic publisher, and these pamphlets are sold in sets of 50; also to many Catholic parishes. If we go by individual pamphlet sales, this has literally sold over a million copies.

The New Catholic Answer Bible (OSV, 2005; apologetic insert notes, with co-author, Dr. Paul Thigpen; originally my notes only, in The Catholic Answer Bible, OSV, 2002): one page for each topic.

The One-Minute Apologist (Sophia Institute Press, 2007): two pages for each topic, in a standard format, vaguely reminiscent (on a more popular level) of the method of St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica (objection, Catholic reply; counter-objection, further Catholic reply). This is now available also as part of my 21 books for $40 e-book deal: in a snazzy, very useful hyper-linked version (Excel Spreadsheet; courtesy of my friend John O'Connor).

Additionally, I've written five "cartoon tracts" (my text) out of a much larger collection (all art by my good friend Dan Grajek) have been published by The Grotto Press: The Cloud of Witnesses, (c. 1995-1996), The Resurrection: Hoax or History (c. 1985), The Class Struggle (c. 1985), Mary: Do Catholics Have a Biblical View? (c. 1995-1996) [see my text only] , and Joe Hardhat: On Justification (c. 1995-1996) [see my text only]: each probably only 4-5 paragraphs total length.

Many many of my individual posts on my blog (perhaps more than half at this point) are short pieces as well. For several years now I even categorized each index page into "short papers" and "long papers" (though I am eliminating that now because it's a hassle for me). There are lots of very long posts and long dialogues, to be sure, but there are also lots of brief pieces.

My severe anti-Catholic Protestant critics say their nonsense no matter what I do. They have blasted me for years for writing too much (even though several of them -- most notably Steve "Whopper" Hays -- write far more than I do in an average post, as I have proved on several occasions when I had a little extra time for folly).

But when The One-Minute Apologist came out in 2007, some of these clowns mocked it as inherently ridiculous: to devote two pages to major topics of theology. I don't think so at all. As an apologist, my job is to meet people where they are at, according to St. Paul's approach of "I have become all things to all men, so that by any means I may win some." Some people are ready only for theological summaries. They are in "first grade" in the things of God. If that helps them along, praise God! I approach them according to their present ability, and gladly provide their needs. Others (most of my readers, I suspect) want a lot more depth, and I provide that, too.

I'm simply following St. Paul's pragmatic apologetics and evangelistic philosophy. I'm not writing (in the final analysis) for other apologists or academics or pointy-heads, or to impress folks with big words and elaborate arguments. I am writing to the masses and the population out in this world who are hungry (or should be hungry) to learn more about God, the Good News of salvation and of the fullness of the Christian faith to be found most completely in the Catholic Church.

The fact of the matter, in any event, is that I don't write only long, elaborate papers and books that are theologically dense and dry and long-winded and esoteric, since I have published three works devoted to "short answers (one or two paragraphs or one page or two pages per topic): all bestsellers in their field.

[revision of a post originally from January 2010]

5 comments:

Randy said...

Good news. Does this mean you will be taking the post down? It does sound a bit like the book talked about here:

http://www.devinrose.heroicvirtuecreations.com/blog/2010/01/06/i-am-writing-a-book/

Dave Armstrong said...

When it comes out we will have excerpts and links to purchase the book(let). I have to make some money doing all this stuff!

Some people seem to think I don't have bills to pay like everyone else. :-) I just write full-time and somehow my mortgage is paid. I don't have a money tree in my yard, and I do this full-time. So any new published work helps me bring home the bacon.

My income remains a combination of paperbook and e-book royalties (hopefully soon, audio books too), part-time income from CHNI (discussion forum moderator) and generous donations.

Frank said...

i'll buy your book dave! help put some steak on that table

Bob Waters said...

Not too short- and far too long to reply to in detail. Maybe on *my* blog- if I have time.

For now, though, I'll simply point out that in fact in the New Testament episkopoi and presbuteroi are terms used interchangably; the distinction between bishops and presbyters occured much later. Your suggestion that bishops have authority over presbyters in the NT is an anachronism. Moreover, like most Catholics, you misunderstand the concept sola Scriptura. It does not assert that only Scripture has authority, but only that no other authority is of equal status with that of Christ and His apostles.

Arguing from the authority of Christ and His apostles is certainly fair, since that's a source of authority we all agree on. When I have a few hours, I'll see what I can do. For now.... you might work on what Rome has been unable to do for a couple of thousand years, and 1) establish that Peter had authority the other apostles didn't (Christ says nothing to Peter in Matthew 18 which He doesn't say to the group elsewhere), and 2) that Peter historically had anything whatsoever to do with the papacy.

Bob Waters said...

The problem with your length isn't that I don't like your style. It's just that it takes a couple of hours to respond to. Which I suppose is one way to ward off challenges to your arguments! ;)