Thank you for your interest in putting my work to use.

In this era of screenshots, retweets, and share buttons, using and distributing someone’s work is as convenient as a single tap on your smartphone. But not everything others create is permissible to be shared in every avenue that modern tech gives us.

The following Q&A is offered to help you share my work from this website in ways that honor my copyright. (You might also read this blogpost by Tim Fall about how to appropriately share others’ writing online.)

Your blogposts are awesome! Can I share them on social media?”

First: thanks! Second: yes! This website has social media share buttons so you can share my work while simultaneously giving your friends & followers a link to the original writing. 

“For worship, can I read aloud something you’ve written on your blog — for example, as part of a pastoral prayer or in a sermon?”

Yes, you’re welcome to read it aloud in the context of worship. You should also cite aloud in worship the source and author (that is, this website + my name). If you quote my blogged writing in a sermon and then you post your sermon online, you should include a link back to my website in your online sermon text.

“Can I distribute a piece of yours via non-social-media avenues?”

It depends.

You may reprint a work of mine from this website in a worship bulletin for a single Sunday’s worship service(s) in a specific faith community, so long as that same bulletin also prints the source and author of the piece. If you adapt my work, the printed citation needs to acknowledge the adaptation.

You may share a work of mine from this website via email for not-for-profit, faith-related purposes, so long as a direct link to the original work is embedded in the email.

You may reprint a work of mine from this website in a church newsletter, so long as that newsletter includes the source and author of the piece ( + my name). If you adapt my work in any way, the printed citation needs to acknowledge the adaptation.

You may not reprint my work without permission for a circulated or for-purchase publication. For example, if a denomination produces a bulletin template for its churches, the denomination cannot use a work of mine in the template without my permission.

You may not create your own link to my work. Primarily this means that you may not repost my work on your website in a way that generates a unique link to a piece of my work — for example, reblogging. (Sometimes I cross-post my own work, in which case you should review the permissions that are outlined on both websites where my work is published.)

You may not create something new with my work without permission. For example, it’s not okay to publish my prayers in a book without my permission. If you have an idea for collaboration, feel welcome to contact me.

When in doubt, please ask!

It’s clunky to type a website into a bulletin or to say a web address aloud. Is it really necessary?”

Yes. The purpose of an attribution or a citation is not only to give credit where credit is due, but also to point people toward the source where the full work and/or additional material can be found.

“You love Jesus and I love Jesus, so everything you’ve written is free for use by other Christians, right?”

No. As siblings in Christ, we strive not to harm one another (and of course not to harm all people, regardless of religious affiliation). Using my work without my permission or in violation of my copyright can cause me harm, since writing is a source of income for me.

“Is there a cost with permission?”

Sometimes. Admittedly, rarely. It depends on what you’d like to do with my work. I consider such factors as the audience size for your use of my work, the avenue(s) through which you intend to distribute my work, the work’s benefit to you, etc.

Aren’t you putting your work online so that it can be shared?”

Yes and no. Putting my work on a blog is a form of creation that is protected by copyright laws. There are some ways of using and sharing my work that are fine, and there are other ways that require my permission. Just ask.

“What about other ways of sharing your work?”

It’s delightful when others’ creativity resonates with or is sparked by my work in such a way that something new is imagined. Some folks read my words and hear the potential for a piece of music. Others read my work and envision its use in a book. These ideas are fun to discuss, and those conversations necessarily include a discussion about permissions. Simply drop me an email so we can dream together.

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