An earthquake can rumble through a mountain, shaking the rock so hard that it crumbles, then topples down the slope. I know this in theory. In reality I live between two cornfields and my knowledge of mountains is spotty.

But I hear that rock + earthquake = big mess. Seems legit.

While earthquakes are interesting to scientists who like to study rocks and how they quiver, the rest of us really don’t care unless we’re the villagers living at the bottom of the slope or in the next town where all the refugees come to live after the mountain attacks them.

Most of us don’t care two toots about mountains or earthquakes until the human element comes into play and actual people are hurt or homeless.

True, yes?

Now I’d like to discuss Family Christian Stores filing for bankruptcy, and that isn’t the abrupt change of subject it might appear to be. I follow business law and finances never. When I need something I call my friends Dale and Donovan (an accountant and a lawyer) and say, “Please explain this to me simply because I am a dullard.” And they do, usually without comment on my brainpower.

Of course, they both know I blog and they probably live with a little bit of fear of this, so they’re polite to save their public image. Also, they’re very nice men.

Anyway, I tell you all this so you don’t expect me to have some profound thoughts on the mechanics behind the bankruptcy or the company itself. I’ve only followed the articles for the past few weeks because, as a writer, I have a vested interest in how this evolves. I’m the villager living at the bottom of the slope and I sense my mountain is about to have a very big problem, in other words.

Family Christian Stores bankruptcy

On a personal level, FCS is a customer of my publisher, and I hope to sell books there this spring. I was (am?) excited to have products in their store. I have friends and family who work at the local shop and in the corporate office and I know there’s a human element here that can’t be ignored. Good people are working very hard for FCS, good people who are hoping to honor God by offering biblically based books, music, and curriculum.

And yet the mountain is shaking and we can’t very well ignore that, can we? I don’t know what the judge will decide about FCS’s bankruptcy, but I do know they owe millions of dollars to different creditors, many publishers included.

It turns out I’m not the only villager living on this rock. If the publishing houses don’t get the money they’re owed, it has to come out of somewhere. It’s going to come out of salaries and benefits and reduced expenses, I’m guessing. As a writer who hopes to publish more books in the near future, that doesn’t bode well for me or the employees at these houses.

We’re all in this mess together. If the publishing houses are cutting back on staff and expenses, new contracts might not be offered. No new contracts, no new books. How will the world know of my comedic genius if I’m not offered new book contracts?

No, I don’t have a slight ego problem developing. But thanks for asking.

I do have a slight panic attack developing, though. As I think through the implications of this looming bankruptcy, I get nervous. A little sweaty. A little prone to Plan B thinking– as in– maybe this was all a mistake and I’ll never write another book again. Maybe I should give it all up and find a new hobby, like weaving macrame pot holders. I don’t have enough of those. 

I could go with Plan B. I could wring my hands in despair and cry a little and then go buy a lot of rope to start my macrame habit.

Or I could remember that I serve a God who saw this day coming a long time ago. He knew Family Christian Stores was going to run into financial trouble and writers would want to write and businesses would need to be paid. He saw all the villagers running for their lives from the crumbling mountain and, quite frankly, I don’t think He’s all that worried about it. I’m pretty sure He’s got it covered, and this new development doesn’t have a lot of impact on His final plan.

Maybe you don’t give two toots about earthquakes or bankruptcies or the publishing world, but you still might be facing a shakeup of your own. Maybe you’re coming up with your own Plan B in case God is asleep on the job. Let’s not. Let’s live in faith, not fear.

Will you join me?

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?…Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:30, 33-34, NLT)

Here are two excellent posts on the subject, by the way. These are the ones that got my little brain juices stewing:

9 Comments on When the Mighty Mountain Shakes, the Villagers Are the Ones With the Real Problem

  1. cheriswalwell
    March 9, 2015 at 6:01 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you, Jessie. I needed this…especially this, “Maybe you’re coming up with your own Plan B in case God is asleep on the job. Let’s not. Let’s live in faith, not fear.” I was just asking God about this last week – do I need a Plan B or is the Plan A I’ve been thinking You’re leading me to still a reality?

    Thank you – I wonder if this was God’s way of reassuring me He’s got this. I don’t need the Plan B after all. I don’t know but I sure hope this was God’s way of saying, “Don’t worry – I’ve got this!”

    Thanks, Jessie, for being who you are and writing the words God puts on your heart.

    in Him,

    Cheri 🙂

  2. Susie Finkbeiner
    March 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm (3 years ago)

    As a fiction writer, this whole deal has made me super nervous. Many houses were already cutting back their fiction departments. I fear that fiction will be the first thing to go, and that makes me sad. What makes me upset is how shady this thing feels.

    Thanks for the reminder to trust that God has a plan. He’s the one who gave me the opportunity to have a few of my stories published. It’s up to Him if more are to come. (But can I whine for a tiny second about how scary it is to let Him have the control???)

  3. Kristen E
    March 9, 2015 at 11:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Slightly off topic . . . My son is finishing his learning fair project; he wrote a book. He was inspired to find out that you make money by selling a book you wrote. I showed him my copy of your book and how a person could buy at the FCS website and Amazon. He is hoping someone will want to pay for his books someday.

    Completely random . . . I had to quickly pick up some mint m&ms today for a dessert I am making for Bible study tomorrow. Imagine my surprise to find out the m&ms “may contain wheat” in my otherwise gluten free dessert. Ugh! What is this world coming to. Is that a sign of the end times?

  4. Jessie Clemence
    March 10, 2015 at 9:22 am (3 years ago)

    I have studiously avoided looking at the M&M label for many years. If there’s wheat in there, I just don’t want to know. Let me die happy.

    I’m glad S. decided to write a book! I’ll be happy to come over and lecture him at any time on the intricacies of publishing.

  5. Jessie Clemence
    March 10, 2015 at 9:23 am (3 years ago)

    Yes. Let’s allow ourselves a moment to have a very loud pity/panic party. I need one reaalllyy badly.

    Then we’ll move on.

  6. Susie Finkbeiner
    March 10, 2015 at 10:11 am (3 years ago)

    If we pity/panic party together we’ll end up either binging on chocolate or laughing hysterically. Either way, it would be fun.

  7. Jessie Clemence
    March 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m not seeing a downside, either. 🙂

  8. Cheri Fields
    March 12, 2015 at 10:38 pm (3 years ago)

    I talked to a lady at church yesterday who works at FCS call center. She says they’re doing their best to just restructure. Lord willing, none of us or the employees should even notice.
    She also said the president of Tyndale (I think?) predicted this would happen a decade ago. What you reap you sow. I just hope it doesn’t hurt the Christian community because they didn’t use the wisest business practices years ago.
    Thanks for keeping me in the loop!