Today is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his theses to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany, an act regarded as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
Today at Liberty Island Media we celebrate this date with the recent publication of Quin Hillyer’s Mad Jones, Heretic, the first book in The Accidental Prophet series. What drives the story of Quin’s novel is its protagonist Mad Jones, responding to devastating family tragedy by writing a set of religious theses and then nailing them to church doors around his Southern community. This act and the theses’ moving, yet provocative ideas about God, religion, and how to live, propel Mad into a new life, that of a celebrity preacher and self-help guru. This first novel reveals Mad’s rise to prominence; the second, Mad Jones Hero, will reveal what he discovers when he gets there; and the final, Mad Jones Agonistes, will follow the law that what comes up must also fall down.
I am the editor of Quin’s Mad Jones series and am deeply proud of my contribution in helping to bring this story out for the world to enjoy and appreciate. I chose to edit Quin’s series for many reasons, and I’ll begin to unpack them over the next few weeks and months in blog posts here at LibertyIslandMag.com. For today, though, I’ll emphasize one that’s appropriate for today’s anniversary.
There exists a particularly Western archetype running from the historical Luther to the character of Madison Jones, and that manifests within Quin himself too. What unites all three is a willingness to stand alone as an individual, Bible in hand as the authoritative moral map, and take a stand at times when it’s easier to just go with the crowd. Central to the meaning of Luther and his satirical reinvention Mad Jones is the all-important notion that no individual or institution possesses the authority to impose a single “correct” interpretation of scripture.
The roots of our first amendment religious liberties lie in the nails that affixed the theses to the cathedral door 500 years ago. Yet even today the radical notions of religious freedom and theological tolerance remain controversial and challenging to Americans, with some leaders and constituencies wanting to impose religious tests for political leaders. Throughout history it has been because of individuals standing up to the majority mob, even at personal danger to themselves, to create and then defend our right today to believe and preach as we will. Editing Quin’s Mad Jones books has helped inspire me to appreciate these values more deeply; I’m certain that those who read them will also come to feel and understand the importance of what religious liberty means today compared to what Luther encountered 500 years ago today…
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This post will act as a depository for links to articles, blog posts, and social media about Mad Jones, Heretic:

Writings by Quin on Mad Jones, Heretic at National Review, NRO’s The Corner, PJ Media’s faith section, the Washington Examiner, and his homepage.
Writings by others on Mad Jones, Heretic: Alabama Today,The Art and Craft of Living Well, and Lagniappe Weekly.
An audio interview from a radio appearance: the Jim Engster show  
Also, click here to read the novel’s opening excerpt. (Note: the ebook of Mad Jones, Heretic will be available shortly.)