Help fund Just & Sinner’s summer publishing push, and help new Just & Sinner editor Trent Demarest get relocated to Iowa!
Just & Sinner Relaunch, Summer 2014
…first there was a blog;
…then, a podcast;
…now, a publishing house!
Pastor Jordan Cooper began his formal study of theology as an undergraduate at Geneva College. Coming as he did from a Reformed church background, Jordan was acutely aware of the many issues confronting Protestants — indeed all Christians — in this “post-modern” era of American Christianity. After a process of intense study and inquiry, he found sufficient and compelling answers for the greatest of these quandaries in the historic Lutheran Church.
In confessional Lutheran theology Jordan discovered the true evangelical and catholic heart of “the faith once passed down to the saints.” And he never looked back! Instead, he began busily applying himself to making the treasures of Lutheran theology available to those who, like him, had at one time or another been dissatisfied and frustrated by their experiences in other churches. But he wasn’t going it alone.
In 2008 Jordan met Lisa, whose charm so arrested his attention that he was willing — nay, forced! — to overlook her ignorance of certain of his favorite post-punk emo bands. Pious, witty, and pretty, she captured his heart. The two dated for two years and were married in December of 2010.
Shortly before he and Lisa were wed, Jordan had begun work on a Master’s degree at the Wittenberg Institute. While a student there, he began to post more theological reflections on his blog, Just & Sinner, including a number of scholarly journal articles. In September of 2012, Jordan added a theology podcast to his site and quickly acquired an eager following. In February of 2013 Jordan and Lisa moved to Brighton, IA, where Jordan was installed as the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church. In October of that year, Just & Sinner Publications was launched, publishing The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church by George Henry Gerberding, the first volume of the American Lutheran Classics Series.
Trent Demarest rediscovered the confessional tradition of Lutheranism while an undergraduate at Hillsdale College. He took an early interest in Jordan Cooper’s work when the latter was studying at the Wittenberg Institute. While Jordan was in school at the Institute, Trent was in school, too…in a manner of speaking: he was teaching history, theology, and Latin at a Lutheran classical academy. Although he had been a lifelong Lutheran, Trent was frustrated by certain presentations of contemporary Lutheran theology, and he appreciated Jordan’s more historic and catholic perspective. On occasion he would email Jordan questions or comments, sometimes roping the latter into ridiculously picayune theological debates with complete strangers. Because of this, or in spite of this, the two struck up a cordial relationship.
That’s all you need to know about Trent. That, and he has a green website — no, not like “emission-free” green. Just green. For some strange reason, Jordan befriended him. Over the course of a few years, the two went from emailing to talking on the phone — usually about theology, but sometimes about the merits of single-origin coffee and lustrous red facial hair.
In the spring of 2014, Jordan decided that the best way to get Trent to stop emailing him would be to keep him within shouting distance, at least for awhile. So he and Lisa invited Trent to come and work for Just & Sinner publications that summer. Then, they started a Kickstarter. That’s the story.
This summer Just & Sinner is taking things to the next level as a number of new and exciting developments get underway. The American Lutheran Theological Journal, published by Just & Sinner, will release its premier issue at the annual convention of the AALC (American Association of Lutheran Churches) this June; several new installments of the American Lutheran Classics series are waiting in the wings, as well as the Works of Revere Franklin Weidner (Pastor Cooper’s favorite American Lutheran theologian); last, but certainly not least, Pastor Cooper is writing a complete systematic theology text!
When asked, “Where do you see yourself fitting into all of this?” Trent scratched the underside of his chin, and said, “Me? I coulda been a contenda.” This wasn’t particularly helpful.
When asked, “Where do you see Trent fitting into all of this?” Pastor Cooper shrugged and said, “Well, he’s the only person besides Lisa I’d allow to make me coffee.”
Trent is relocating to Iowa this summer to work as full-time as possible for Just & Sinner Publications, doing anything and everything that needs to be done: editing, researching, writing, design, and, yes, making coffee. Your funding will help him with relocation costs and provide a small stipend so that he can devote as much time as possible to the publishing house without going broke and having to take up busking in Fairfield. He might like to go busking in Fairfield, but for fun, not for…you know…food.
The mission of Just & Sinner in general — and of Just & Sinner Publications in particular — is to promote the Gospel by making the treasures of classical Lutheran theology available at an affordable price. The podcasts are free; the books are inexpensive; both, however, require funding to produce. That’s where you come in.
This is an unabashed request for your generous support! $3000 would meet Just & Sinner’s needs for this summer publishing push; thus, it is the minimum that would need to be raised by this effort. But Just & Sinner would be grateful to receive any funding that exceeds this target amount! Any surplus that is raised will be used to fund the following items:
- Book sales – What if your church or Bible-class wanted to do a study of C.F.W Walther’s The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel or Henry I. Schmidt’s The Lutheran Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper? Book subsidies would allow Just & Sinner to offer sale and bulk pricing on these and other classic Lutheran works.
- More and better media content – Trent is going to be relaunching Pseudepodcast under the Just & Sinner banner, in which he will be joined by Matt Fenn and Levi Nunnink to talk amateur theology (and perhaps occasionally spoof/roast Pastor Cooper). Just & Sinner also has plans to do a professional-quality video series of Pr. Cooper’s sermons.
- Travel budget – Just & Sinner would love to be more mobile; a modest travel budget would allow us to market books at conferences in the greater Midwest, do on-site interviews, etc.; speaking of conferences…
- Conferences – We would like to do more in the future! And we would like to charge people as little as possible to attend. (We look forward to seeing many of you at the Pirate Christian Radio Conference this August!)
- Equipment – microphones, a printer (and ink cartridges), computer monitors, mixing and editing software. Any questions? Look in the FAQ section to see if your question is addressed; if it’s not, please let us know!
Risks and challenges
Kickstarter wisely suggests that we address the following question:
“When it comes to fulfillment, every project has potential obstacles, from production delays to permits to collaborator mishaps. What unique challenges might you face after your project is successfully funded? And if setbacks do arise (we hope they don’t, but it happens!), how will you tackle them?”
Honestly, the biggest hurdle is simply acquiring the needed funding, but we’re imaginative enough to be able to think of others that might pop up and smack us in the shins…
…we just can’t think of any right now. Is that bad?
But we can answer the last part: “If setbacks do arise, how will you tackle them?”
Well, we’ll make do, “with the sense God gave a goose, but never apart from His grace” (to borrow a phrase from Pr. Heath Curtis, a friend of Just & Sinner). We all believe in this work, and we will engage in it with as little or as much as God provides. Soli Deo Gloria!