It’s been two days since I lost my job at Franciscan as the editorial director of Servant Books. While the news came as a shock, I understood that the reduction in force was not a criticism of my work or a slam against me personally. All across the industry, good people are faced with tough choices. Publishing models that worked ten years ago — or even five years ago — no longer do. And as I said, sometimes when God closes a door . . . you can get bumped on the nose. Then you start looking for open windows.
Times are tough in the Catholic publishing industry — not just at Franciscan Media but all over. I’ve watched as industry professionals I’ve admired for years forcibly retire, or move on to far more modest positions. I’ve seen organizations regroup, creating partnerships with other media organizations in order to enhance sales. As the industry changes, people are bound to get caught in transition. And yet . . . nothing catches God by surprise, and he always has a plan for those who throw themselves on his abundant mercy.
Perhaps at this time more than any other in recent history, people are grappling with questions of ultimate importance. They need the resources we can provide — but ultimately no author can rest on his (or her) proverbial laurels. Publishing is, first and foremost, about human relationships, and so it is not the publisher but the author who must carry that Gospel message into the marketplace — into parishes, conferences, social media platforms, and traditional media outlets. We must continue to strive to make new connections not just within the industry, but personally meaningful connections with those whose hearts are hungry for that faithful, loving witness.
At the end of the day, I have always regarded publishing as part of my personal mission from God. I’ve worked hard to help authors become the best they can be, both on the page and in the marketplace. It’s what any good editor does. And at the end of the day, I’m sure God will give me another opportunity where I can do that, and do it well. And if he doesn’t . . . well, I’ll just wait on him until he shows me what he DOES want me to do.
I often tell my kids that God sends every person into the world with a gift to share, a burden to carry, and a job to do. The gift is a source of blessing, the burden keeps us trusting on God rather than ourselves, and the job is something only we can do, and only God know when it is done. Personally, I don’t believe my job is done yet. So . . . please join me in thanking God for whatever he is going to do next. And praying for my friends who remain at Franciscan Media, who are doing their level best to do the job God has entrusted to them.