I have received helpful feedback from many of my readers and I have made some important changes to the structure and content of the book and it is almost ready to send to a publisher. I have an "inside man" at Zondervan (my current publisher of choice) who has said he is excited about my book and that he will read my proposal and sample chapters. I have a book on crafting good proposals and it notes the importance of the writer settling on a good title. It admits that most books will have their title changed by the publisher but it chalks this up to writers not taking the time to find the right title for their work.
Thus far I have been using the title Naked Worship: Rethinking Modern Worship Lyrics and Spirituality. Unfortunately there are several reasons I believe this title will not make it all the way through the publishers gauntlet. First off, for a Christian book (hopefully) published by a major publisher it is rather edgy. Secondly, it has not been well accepted by my readers thus far (it seems to be a love it or hate it type of title). Third, many Christian organizations would firewall a website entitled nakedworship.com. I still like the subtitle but I feel I am only being idealistic thinking that a title like Naked Worship could be accepted. Still, the title is captures the essence of the book better than anything else I have come up with.
For those of you who have not yet read or completed the manuscript I will summarize my approach. I have tried to reduce the concept of "Worship" down to its core elements to see if Modern worship has really captured the essence of biblical worship or missed the mark. Essentially, I argue, worship is loving God. This allows me to bypass the fruitless word studies about worship that have plagued every worship book written since 1980. (I say they are fruitless because the word studies and analysis of "critical passages" on worship always seem to say exactly what the author wants them to say. Two books with completely opposing opinions will use the same verses and sections to make their points. This is because passages that use the word worship are never about how to worship or what worship is but assume that the reader already knows what they are talking about when they use the word "worship". Writers have capitalized on the vagueness of these references to expound their own ideas that have little relation to the text at hand.) Since worship is loving God I write about love instead of "worship" because the Bible does have a lot to say about that. Chapter 1 and 2 look at the biblical view of loving God. Chapter 3 looks at faith (the foundation/motivation of biblical love). Chapters 4-6 deal with worship in the psalms (How has God been worshiped/loved in the past). Chapter 7 addresses the dilemma of manifest presence in modern worship.
With that understanding, what should my book be called?
I liked the word naked because I am trying to strip away all the preconceived ideas and traditions about what worship should be and look at worship at its core. I thought of the words "essential" (like essential oils) or "distilled" or "core" or "refined" (each modifying "worship") but none of them captures what I was really trying to do. I have also considered a less aggressive form of "naked" like, Worship Unadorned. I do like that. I also thought about Raw Worship but that doesn't carry quite the right connotation, and besides, someone already has the domain (though they are not using it). So here are a few titles. What do you think, do you have anything better?
Naked Worship: Rethinking Modern Worship Lyrics and Spirituality.
Worship Unadorned: Looking at the essentials of worship to rethink Modern Worship lyrics and spirituality.
Pure Worship: Looking at the essentials of worship to rethink Modern Worship lyrics and spirituality.
(Your title here).
Perhaps I need something longer than a two word title... Any comments, suggestions?
BTW the cover design is something I put together a while back. Obviously this would not be the final cover even if the title gets accepted. Still, I like the concept.