Remembering that pesky book edit

lettersI mentioned in a previous post the one major editorial change that was made in our book “Letters From The Lamb.” It was major to me, though it was slight enough that 21st Century Christian didn’t feel the need to point it out before the book was published. Fact is, we never saw the final copy until the book was in print.

I had written, in my poor grammatical style:

“Tolerance and political correctness warp our doctrine, nationalism and patriotism distract us from our true calling.”

I know, it’s a comma splice. But it’s interesting to me that of all the comma splices in the book (I do tend to use those as a stylistic device), this was the only one corrected. The printed copy of the book reads:

“Tolerance and political correctness warp our doctrine, nationalism and patriotism—and distract us from our true calling.”

Yeah, pretty much the opposite of what I would write.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist nor do I think that 21st Century set out to misrepresent my views. I think the copy editor saw a grammatical mistake and fixed it. The logical assumption was that no one could be saying that nationalism and patriotism are dangerous to Christianity, so THAT can’t be the meaning here.

Most people view patriotism as a Christian virtue, one that Paul accidentally forgot to mention as a fruit of the Spirit and the other New Testament writers overlooked as well. Since it’s not in the New Testament, any reference to submitting to authorities can be taken as hidden code: that actually means you should be a flag-waving, patriotic member of your community. Surely that’s how the early Christians read it.

Next time, I’ll remember the semicolon. If I’m going to speak about about something, I need to use proper grammar.

[Note to all future copy editors of what I write: I consistently use the Oxford comma. I would have put a comma after “nationalism” had I intended that as a list. Thank you for your attention.]

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