With the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) coming just after this announcement, it's been a big few weeks for gay marriage, which means it's been a big few weeks for Christians trying to figure out how to respond with both love and conviction.
The JK Rowling Book We Didn't Know We Had
On a lighter note…just this past weekend, reports surfaced that J.K. Rowling, the billionaire author of the Harry Potter series, published a mystery novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Cloaking her identity behind that of a former member of the Special Investigative Branch of the Royal Military Police, she published the novel in April to little fanfare. After critics praised the "stellar debut," the New York Times received a tip noting the connection of the new author to Rowling's publisher, agent, and editor. And then her secret was out.
Basically, Rowling's actual name is too successful and draws any work into inevitable comparisons with her now-classic series of novels about a boy wizard. What a problem to have! But as she said in a statement responding to the reveal, "It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name." It would be very nice not to have to worry about the actual sales of a book, but thanks to Harry, Rowling will never have to worry about money again. Her decision to publish under the Galbraith identity, however, touches on something most of us can relate to: the weight of expectations.
Sometimes too much success can be a difficult thing. Once people begin to expect things from us, the persistent pressure to avoid disappointing them can slowly chip away at our souls. Many of us don't have the luxury, however, of stepping outside our identities to do what we love and feel called to do. So how do we manage the pressure? Burnout is one of the most common ministry killers, and avoiding this fate requires active prioritization of soul care: time alone with God, time spent in the Word, time to rest and recharge and refocus on the reason we do anything we do. Summer is a great time to step away for a few hours or a few days to prepare yourself for the year ahead.
Laura Leonard is the associate editor of Building Church Leaders at Christianity Today. You can find her on Twitter @lmarieleonard.