A Book All Young Christian Evangelicals Should Read

C.J. Campbell is a first time author with cerebral palsy. I mention the cerebral palsy because it is one of the factors that made his first book, The Zen of Beard trimming, such a team effort. For seven years he has documented his journey, at first to finish pastoral school and find a flock of his own, then as that dream became increasingly complicated, just to find a place in the world where he could have some peace. Seven years of journeys landed him in some very improbable, often heartbreaking, but always fascinating scenarios. Because he cannot rely on his own hands to write his own story, many different hands were used to dictate his story over the years. The true definition of the word “manuscript.” The work of many hands.

He doesn’t want me to hype the fact that he is in a wheelchair, or has a disability, or has suffered some terrible luck, and downright neglect, from people who should have been there to have his back. He has been manipulated and exploited (in my opinion) by evangelical Christian groups on more than one occasion to provide a spectacle for their traveling shows. All of that is chronicled in his book. He never gets bitter about it. As a reader, you might. I did.

he really doesn’t want me to mention the way he was treated by these church groups in any of my promotional materials. He just wants to have his story heard. Perhaps he has given up on his original dream of being a pastor to his own congregation. Maybe he is not as idealistic about his faith as he was when he started his journey. His book will come out in February.

The Zen of Beard Trimming

The Zen of Beard Trimming

Jason Russell, of Invisible Children, wrote the forward. In my opinion the book is very similar to Voltaire’s Candide. Except in reverse. C.J. set out with his faith in tact, encountered every type of zany misfortune you can imagine, and returned home with his faith in tact, but wiser. I want you to support this book. I’m not a Christian publisher, and in many ways this is not just a Christian story. It’s the story of a kid in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy setting out in the world to find the place the god he believes in intended for him. He persists. Things get worse. he presses on.

It’s a look inside a world few of us will ever be part of, even Christians. The traveling evangelical show. He writes about one of the most successful and emulated troupes, based here in Rockford. I think young Christians about to set out into the world would get a lot out of this book. Because faith is not a magic cloak you put on and everything suddenly turns out ok. Sometimes things still go horribly wrong. As they did for C.J. That’s when your faith is tested. As a non-believer, I still have the utmost respect about how C.J. handled those setbacks. I want you to read his story. Please help us in our final week by buying an advance copy of The Zen of Beard Trimming, and spreading the word.

C.J. Campbell

C.J. Campbell

I’ll be honest and admit I’m not a Christian, and this is probably not the kind of book my Zombie Logic Press normally publishes. But I am from Rockford, Illinois, a city devastated by blight, unemployment, violence, and misery. We are consistently told by the national media how awful we are. But that doesn’t stop most of us from trying to make the city a better place. I believe in the written word, and I believe there are very talented writers living in Rockford. C.J. Campbell is one of them. Our paths might have never crossed, but he took a position as head storyteller at Conveyor,a place where people tell their stories in different mediums. My creative partner, Jenny, was mesmerized by his story, and told me I should put his story into print. I told her if she believed in the story this much she could be project editor. She agreed, I think not understanding what a project editor does. (Everything). However, I couldn’t resist, and I was the first person to read the manuscript. It was a mess. It had been written over seven years on notepads, in journals, and then dictated to over ten different people before it was committed to a computer file. Aside from that, I loved it. It’s a very brave and funny story. He never loses his ability to laugh at things most of us would find devastating. What I’m saying is I want you to ignore the fact that I am not a traditional Christian publisher, and give this story a chance.


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